Strawberry Pretzel Dessert

Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-21Springtime means strawberries are in season. Strawberries are one of my favorite berries – juicy, sweet and of course, full of delicious berry flavor. What better way of using strawberries than in a cold, refreshing and sweet treat? You can start the summer off with this Strawberry Pretzel Dessert and make it all summer long for different picnics, barbecues and parties.

Raspberry Pretzel Jello has been a huge sensation in the past few years, and for good reason. This is very similar, but bursting with even more berrryness, since the strawberry layer is made with crushed berries and unflavored gelatin instead of flavored gelatin with some berries. Paired with a crunchy, salty, sweet and buttery crust and a luscious cream cheese layer, this is an absolute incredible berry dessert. Recipe adapted from Cook’s Country

Ingredients:

Crust:

6 1/2 oz. pretzel sticks (about 4 1/2 – 5 cups)

1/4 cup sugar

12 Tablespoons butter, melted

Cheesecake Layer:

1 (8 0z) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream, chilled

Strawberry Layer:

3 lbs strawberries, fresh or frozen (if you’re using frozen berries, defrost them first)

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 Tablespoons unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup cold water

Instructions: Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-2Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 13×9 inch baking pan with some of the melted butter. Pulse the pretzels and sugar in a food processor, about 15 pulses, until coarsely chopped. Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-3Pour in the melted butter and process for another 10 pulses, until the mixture is combined. There should still be small pieces of pretzel; don’t obliterate the pretzels into sandy crumbs. Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-4Press the pretzel mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking sheet. Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-5Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes. Cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, using a whisk attachment on a standing mixer, or using a hand mixer, mix the softened cream cheese with the sugar. Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-6Gradually pour in the chilled heavy cream, increase the speed to high and whisk until there are soft peaks. (If you’re nervous about this step and don’t think that the heavy cream will thicken, mix the cream cheese and sugar and then whisk the heavy cream separately until soft peaks form and then fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. I’ve NEVER had any issues having the heavy cream whip up into a thick and voluminous texture if it’s added to whipped cream cheese, so I always use this method.) Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-7

Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-8Pour the cream cheese mixture into the cooled crust, and spread it out into an even layer. Place in the refrigerator to set for about 30 minutes. Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-13

Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-14While the cream cheese layer is chilling, puree 2 lbs of the strawberries in a food processor. Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-9Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a large bowl and set aside for about 5 minutes, so that the gelatin softens. 

Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-15Slice the remaining pound of strawberries and set aside.  Press the pureed berries through a fine mesh sieve.Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-10

Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-11Pour the strained berries into a small saucepan, add the sugar and salt. Bring the berries to just about a boiling point, when bubbles start to break at the surface, about 5 minutes. Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-12 Pour the hot strawberry mixture over the softened gelatin and whisk until all the gelatin is dissolved and evenly dispersed in the strawberry puree. Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-16

Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-17Add the sliced berries to the pureed berries. Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-18Cool for about 30 minutes. Gently pour the strawberry mixture over the cheesecake layer and even it out into a smooth layer. Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-19

Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-20Place in the refrigerator to set, about 4 hours. This is a wonderful recipe to make ahead of time, so take advantage of it and prepare it the night before you plan to serve it.Strawberry Pretzel Salad-1-21

Strawberry Pretzel Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sweets
Serves: 10
Ingredients
Crust:
  • 6½ oz. pretzel sticks (about 4½ - 5 cups)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 12 Tablespoons butter, melted
Cheesecake Layer:
  • 1 (8 0z) package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
Strawberry Layer:
  • 3 lbs strawberries, fresh or frozen (if you're using frozen berries, defrost them first)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ Tablespoons unflavored gelatin
  • ½ cup cold water
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 13x9 inch baking pan with some of the melted butter.
  2. Pulse the pretzels and sugar in a food processor, about 15 pulses, until coarsely chopped. Pour in the melted butter and process for another 10 pulses, until the mixture is combined. There should still be small pieces of pretzel; don't obliterate the pretzels into crumbs.
  3. Press the pretzel mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes. Cool for about 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, using a whisk attachment on a standing mixer, or using a hand mixer, mix the softened cream cheese with the sugar.
  5. Gradually pour in the chilled heavy cream, increase the speed to high and whisk until there are soft peaks. (If you're nervous about this step and don't think that the heavy cream will thicken, mix the cream cheese and sugar and then whisk the heavy cream separately until soft peaks form and then fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. I've NEVER had any issues having the heavy cream whip up into a thick and voluminous texture if it's added to whipped cream cheese, so I always use this method.)
  6. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the cooled crust, and spread it out into an even layer. Place in the refrigerator to set for about 30 minutes.
  7. While the cream cheese layer is chilling, puree 2 lbs of the strawberries in a food processor. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a large bowl and set aside for about 5 minutes, so that the gelatin softens.
  8. Slice the remaining pound of strawberries and set aside.
  9. Press the pureed berries through a fine mesh sieve. Pour the strained berries into a small saucepan, add the sugar and salt. Bring the berries to just about a boiling point, when bubbles start to break at the surface, about 5 minutes.
  10. Pour the hot strawberry mixture over the softened gelatin and whisk until all the gelatin is dissolved and evenly dispersed in the strawberry puree.
  11. Add the sliced berries to the pureed berries. Cool for about 30 minutes.
  12. Gently pour the strawberry mixture over the cheesecake layer and even it out into a smooth layer.
  13. Place in the refrigerator to set, about 4 hours. This is a wonderful recipe to make ahead of time, so take advantage of it and prepare it the night before you plan to serve it.

 
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Comments

  1. blueberry says

    Hey Olga! Since I had all of the ingredients, I gave it a try right after you post it ;) It turned out so delicious! I’m sure there will be no leftovers for tomorrow;) thanks for such great recipe!

    • says

      Wow, you’re fast, blueberry! That’s awesome that you enjoyed it. I am a huge fan of this dessert. I’ll probably be making this all summer long.

      • blueberry says

        Yes, I was fast in making it and even faster eating eat ;)
        I didn’t know what to do with strawberries this time and we had them for couple of days already. Guess what? You posted this recipe just on the right time!
        Do you think blueberries will work for this dessert?

  2. NINA says

    Hi, Olga,
    Wow, I tried this desert at potluck last Christmas and REALLY like it.
    AND HERE WE NOW!!!
    THANKS MUCH.
    Perfect for our Sunday dinner

  3. Gloria says

    This sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try it — I can’t help but wonder though — since I LOVE chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate covered pretzels, how about topping this with a drizzle of chocolate? Has anyone tried that?

    • says

      I think it would work as long as the strawberry layer is completely set before you drizzle the chocolate on it. Be careful that the melted chocolate isn’t too hot and you don’t pour it on in a big stream or it will melt the strawberry gelatin layer.

  4. Tanya says

    Hi Olga, I made this last night and unfortunately my top strawberry layer never set. I followed the recipe exactly and just went back and reread all of the steps and it doesn’t look like I missed anything so I’m not sure what went wrong. Maybe the strawberry mixture was too hot when I poured it over the gelatin? Would love to give this recipe another try just don’t want to waste another 3lbs of strawberries.

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