Frozen Strawberry Pretzel SaladI know its officially fall on the calendar finally, and some of y'all in those areas of The South farther north from here are seeing cooler temperatures and thinking about soups and stews and pumpkin and apple and oatmeal recipes. Down in The Deep South, and most especially the coastal Deep South, summer is still roaring along. I'll sure be glad when I can give my A/C a little break, but for now it's blasting away, trying to keep things cool around here.
We even had our central air give out on us on one of the hottest days we've had here in September. It took me about one hot minute to realize something was wrong before I was on the phone with the repairman. We installed a new unit inside and out on this 20 year old house 10 years ago and don't you know, that 10 year warranty ran out, right about 2 months ago. Of course it did!
Because I don't sweat like normal folks do, I had The Cajun installing our hurricane supply window unit to hold us over. For some reason the hypothalamus in my brain doesn't communicate properly, so instead of sweating like most everybody else does, my body heat rises instead and I quickly overheat. As I've gotten older I find I have no tolerance for the heat, so air conditioning is more than a comfort thing. For me, it's a health risk and a necessity and I go into full out panic mode if I start feeling my internal temperature rise. It's a disability most folks don't quite understand, but my husband sure does, so within 10 minutes that window unit was up in the window and turned on!
It was a little bit nostalgic for me too, as it immediately brought back memories of summers in my youth, way before central air conditioning was common in households even here. I remember many a hot day, standing right in front of the vents of a window unit at our house trying to cool off. My sister and I shared a bedroom that was in the very back of our house and very little cold air really made it back there. There was many a time in the middle of the night, that I literally made a pallet on the floor, right under the air conditioner, pointing a vent down on me to cool off and be able to sleep. When Mama went to wake us for school, if I wasn't in my bed, she knew she'd find me under the air conditioner.
This frozen salad, or dessert, or however you want to classify it, is a great dish to have around on hot days like we're having, and it's common at gatherings and get-togethers of all kinds. Sort of a cross between the old Frozen Strawberry Dessert and Strawberry Pretzel Salad, both dishes that are oddly popular during the holidays and colder months. They're both typically made with frozen strawberries, so maybe it's just a longing we have to taste those early spring strawberries that caused them both to be popular in our Southern Winters.
You'll find plenty of recipes for both of those dishes splattered everywhere across Pinterest and the internet, all of them mostly identical in ingredients. I wanted to do something just a little bit different and add my own spin to it, so I took some elements from those two well-loved Southern favorites and combined them into this Frozen Strawberry Pretzel Salad.
You may certainly just completely omit the crust on this and have a perfectly good frozen strawberry salad, though I did like the added salty-sweetness it lent to the dessert, and I just happened to have a tail end bag of pretzels bites hanging around in the pantry I needed to use up.
Before serving, although many folks do serve this mostly frozen, I prefer to let it rest at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing into squares and plating. It will continue to soften as it sits of course, so factor that in mind when it's time to serve it up. Top each individual serving with a dollop of whipped cream and a strawberry garnish if desired.
This may also be made in a large loaf pan, or spooned into individual cupcake papers in a muffin tin as well. Here's how to make it.
Recipe: Frozen Strawberry Pretzel Salad©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Inactive time: 8 hours | Yield: About 12 servings
For the Crust:
For the Strawberry Salad:
- 1-1/2 cups of crushed pretzels
- 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, melted
- 1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- 1 (16 ounce) container of frozen sliced strawberries, thawed and undrained
- 1 (20 ounce) can of crushed pineapple, drained
- 1 (8 ounce) Cool Whip, thawed in the refrigerator
- Additional Cool Whip or whipped cream, for garnish, optional
- Strawberry fans or slices, for garnish, optional
For the crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together the pretzels, sugar and melted butter, pressing into the bottom portion of a 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool completely.
For the strawberry salad, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until creamy. Mash the bananas with the lemon juice and beat in. Add the strawberries, with their juices and the drained pineapple; mix until blended. Fold in the tub of Cool Whip, pour over the top of the pretzel crust, cover tightly and freeze for 8 hours or overnight.
Let rest at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing into squares and plating. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and strawberry garnish if desired. May serve partially frozen, or allow to sit on individual plates for longer to soften.
Cook's Notes: May also be made in a large loaf pan, or spooned into individual cupcake papers in a muffin tin.
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©Deep South Dish
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