This dish will get you an invite to everyone’s summer cookout!
It might sound strange at first: Strawberry Pretzel Salad. But it is so good. My Grandma makes a version of this that doesn’t have a cream cheese layer like this version, from Rebecca Crump at Ezra Pound Cake. The cream cheese layer takes this dish over the top. Does the inclusion of strawberries and pineapple qualify this dish as a side of fruit, rather than a dessert? Hmmm…
Rebecca’s recipe uses all of the good stuff: butter, sugar, pretzels, cream cheese, cool whip, strawberry gelatin, frozen strawberries, crushed pineapple, and whipped cream. Holy goodness. (And speaking of Rebecca, her website has an amazing recipe index, including everything from crab dip and hot chocolate to sweet tea and couscous. She also has easy to follow recipes for several classic cocktails.) I modified Rebecca’s recipe to use generic Splenda, which measures 1:1 with sugar in baking recipes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish (I used real butter).
Make your crust. Start by mixing 2 cups crushed pretzels (I added a cup at a time into a zip lock freezer bag, and pounded it with a cooking mallet to get the pieces nice and small without turning them into fine crumbs), 3/4 cups melted butter, and 3 tablespoons (generic) splenda in a bowl to coat all of the pieces evenly. Then press the mixture into the bottom of the greased pan, and bake in preheated oven for 7 minutes.
Set your crust aside to cool.
While your crust is cooling, mix your cream cheese layer. Combine 8 ounces of whipped cream cheese, and 3/4 cup of splenda, and whip until smooth. Then fold in 8 ounces of Cool Whip (or, in my case, generic whipped topping).
Combine 2- 3 ounce packages of sugar free strawberry gelatin with 2 cups of boiling water. Stir to dissolve the gelatin, and let sit for 5 minutes to cool. Add 2- 10 ounce packages of frozen strawberries and 8 ounces of crushed pineapple, and gently combine. Then pour the fruit and gelatin mixture over your chilled cream cheese layer. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until serving time.
Look at this baby. Nice and frosty and delicious.
I took Rebecca’s advice and serve it with whipped cream on top.
It was a hit with my taste tester, so I made it again for a cook out, where it was gone in a matter of minutes. People loved this stuff.
It does take some advanced planning, since you have to chill it for a few hours, but it’s so easy that it’s worth planning ahead.
This would be a great recipe to keep on hand if you freeze fresh strawberries when you can’t eat them fast enough. It’s fatty, and rich, and sweet and salty. Perfect combination.
And there’s fruit. It’s got to count as a serving of fruit…
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
What’s your favorite dish to share at a cook out or summer party?