Feeling a little uninspired this 4th of July for a baking idea, I had a little trawl through Pinterest to see what I could see. When that failed, the cookbooks came out, and the first one with a contender was from Baked Explorations, an awesome book of American recipes with modern classics (think Mud Pie, Grasshopper Bars and Whoopie Pies), and I suspect would scare off most – Strawberry Jello Salad. And best of all, given it was mega-super-unbelievably hot, the only component that would require baking was the base. The book itself I love, but they do seem to rather complicate recipes, so I sort of ignore most of the steps. They most definitely did not recommend dying pretzels blue to make it look more patriotic.
Broken down, this dessert has a pretzel base, a cream cheese middle and a fruity jelly (jello) top layer. It sounds weird, yes. And it was mostly weird.
Bottom: Grind up pretzels. I used this whole bag, which was too many. Instead you should use the recommended mixture (4 cups of salty pretzels, 3/4 cup of butter, 2 tbsp dark brown sugar). You press it down, you do not add blue food colouring, and you bake it for 10 minutes at 150c, Do not do what I did and replace the butter with Flora Light Proactive. This is the result:
Cream Cheese Layer: This layer was good! 1 package cream cheese (200g), is used super light and that seemed fine, 1 cup sugar (I used half a cup of Truvia) and 3/4 cup of double cream. Mix it it a free-standing mixer and that’s about it. Wait until the pretzels have cooled before plonking it on top.
Jello/Jelly layer: 1 pack of Jello or this double pack (photo somewhere above) of Hartley’s sugar free jelly (I used raspberry because that’s all they had in the shop) and added a punnet of strawberries (sliced). The book claims I should set in the fridge for about 45 minutes until it is almost set. Stupidly after an hour and a half I decided I couldn’t wait any longer and dumped it on.
Initially it looked beautiful, even if it didn’t fit in the random bowl I decided to put it in:
After being in the fridge though, the jelly managed to sink down into the dessert, leaving the jellied fruit on top, totally by-passing the cream layer and soaking the pretzel layer (which was too thick anyway because of the pretzel measuring malfunction). Yum! I added stars meant for cupcakes to make it even more American.
Verdict: Wait until your jelly really has almost set no matter how long that takes. 45 minutes is total bollocks. You should also probably measure stuff and not dye things blue making them resemble mouldy cake.
Weasel’s verdict: She refused it at first, but later asked for the blue pretzels. One bite later and she was asking us to replace it with Cadbury Mini Eggs. The Ninja liked the leftover jelly that didn’t fit, sort of, just before she threw it all on the floor.