You are either a Jell-O Salad fan or a hater. Which side are you on? Posting date is June 3rd.
Strawberry Jell-O Salad
recipe source “Baked: Explorations” by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, page 183
FOR THE JELL-O LAYER
1 (6-ounce) package strawberry Jell-O
2 cups fresh strawberries (about 14 ounces), sliced
FOR THE PRETZEL CRUST
8 ounces salty pretzels (about 4 cups)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
FOR THE CREAM CHEESE LAYER
1 (8 ounces) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
MAKE THE JELL-O LAYER
Prepare the Jell-O according to the package directions. Add the sliced strawberries and refrigerate until it is partially set (this takes about 25 minutes to 1 hour depending on the depth and type of vessel you use to chill the Jell-O). Make the other parts of the recipe while you wait for the Jell-O to nearly set.
MAKE THE PRETZEL CRUST
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, or spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
In a food processor, pulse the pretzels into coarse crumbs. Do not overprocess into a powder- if anything err on the side of having a few chunkier pretzel pieces (it’s simply my preference). Alternatively, crush the pretzels with the bottom of a metal baking cup.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in the brown sugar and remove from the heat. Stir in the pretzel pieces until combined and turn the mixture out into the prepared pan. Use your hands or the back of a large spoon to press the mixture into the bottom of the pan, but do not press it up the sides. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set it aside to cool completely.
MAKE THE CREAM CHEESE LAYER
Put the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until well combined.
In a clean bowl, whip the cream, either by hand or using the standing mixer with the whip attachment, until soft peaks form. Use a rubber spatula to fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
ASSEMBLE THE STRAWBERRY JELL-O SALAD
Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled crust. Chill for 5 minutes in the refrigerator. Pour the almost-set Jell-O over the cream cheese layer to cover. Refrigerate the dessert for 2 hours or more to set before serving.
The Jell-O salad can be stored, tightly covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.
Excerpted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Copyright © 2010 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Excerpted by permission of Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Abrams. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.