This sweet and salty treat is a salad in the loosest sense of the word
Strawberry Pretzel Salad has been a Southern mainstay since the 1960s, when it first appeared in the “Joys of Jell-O” cookbook. The dessert is popular for holiday meals, barbecues, showers and potlucks.
An easy to prepare treat, this salad features Cool Whip and Strawberry Jell-O, with their sweetness offset by the saltiness of the pretzels used in the crust. A salad in the loosest sense of the word, it leans heavily on the dessert side of the ledger. This recipe is updated to replace Cool Whip with whipping cream and strawberry Jell-O with macerated fresh strawberries, while retaining the salty pretzel crust.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
1¾ sticks butter, softened
2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
3 cups mini snack pretzels, ground
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1½ cups heavy cream, very cold
1 pound fresh strawberries, sliced thin
Heat oven to 400 F and grease a 9-inch pie pan.
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, ½ cup powdered sugar, ground pretzel, flour, baking soda and salt on low speed until combined, then high speed until you get a soft, cohesive dough. Press into the bottom and sides of the pan.
Bake until puffed and golden, 12-15 minutes. Let cool.
In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese on high for 1 minute to soften. Add 1½ cups powdered sugar, beat on low speed until combined. Scrape down and continue beating on high until fluffy.
With the mixer on low, gradually add the cream and beat until smooth. Scrape down and beat on high until billowy and whipped. Transfer to the crust and spread into an even layer. Cover and refrigerate until chilled or overnight.
Mix sliced strawberries and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar with a splash of balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Just before serving, pile on top of the pie. Serve immediately.
Phil Newton is a Galveston baker/cook. He’s the owner/operator of Stiglich Corner with partner Cindy Roberts.