One of Mr. Wonderful and My favorite things to do is to venture off to the lake with our boat.
Sometimes we go alone for an inexpensive and relaxing date-night. Sometimes we drag a long some friends.
We love to order from the East Wharf restaurants if we’re taking it easy. One of them even delivers down to the courtesy docks.
But what we love even more is to take a picnic basket and a cooler of drinks and park off the banks by the restaurants on a weekend night and listen to their live music.
When Food Network’s Let Pull Up a Chair theme turned into “Summer Soirée” this month, I was excited to write my usual weekly post for the event when I heard it was themed “Packable Desserts”.
I’d been wanting to try one packed in mason jars to take on the boat. I came up with a variation of the old classic Strawberry Pretzel Salad Dessert.
I didn’t want to go the old route and make it with frozen whipped topping, because honestly, I have no idea what that stuff is even MADE of.
So instead, I added fresh whipped cream and jazzed it up with a variety of berries which I believe make it the absolutely perfect dessert for the Fourth of July!
Imagine setting out a tray of these along with your red, white and blue decorations! Wouldn’t that just be perfect?
First off, boil two cups of water and mix it with either 2 (6 oz) packages of strawberry gelatin or 1 (12 oz.) package. Stir it until the jello dissolves, then transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to cool.
Next, let’s make the crust.
The crust is what makes this dessert salty, and the cream middle layer is sweet and the berries are a bit sour but cloaked in the strawberry gelatin, so you can see why this dessert is so delicious can’t you?
Start off by throwing roughly about 4 cups of salted pretzels in the food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can put them in a gallon size baggie and smash them with a rolling pin. I used the stick pretzels but you could probably use the twists as well.
You don’t want to grind them to a powder but leave small chunks like in the photo for some texture.
I did this by just pulsing the food processor until I got them to the right size.
Now microwave one stick of butter just until it’s all melted and pour it and 3 tablespoons of sugar into the pretzels (transfer them to a mixing bowl). Mix it all up well.
Take roughly about 2 heaping tablespoons of the crust mixture and put it in each of 10 (8 oz) mason jars. Then take either the back of your spoon, or another utensil that fits well and tamp down the crust a little but don’t smash it too much. You just want it to be slightly compacted.
At this point, you can pop these in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process, as they need to be completely cooled before you put on the next layer of creamy filling.
Now let’s make the creamy filling.
Measure 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream into your mixer bowl. Usually you can count on one cup of liquid to become 2 cups of whipped cream, so because we only need 8 ounces, or one cup, we are going to use ½ cup.
Beat it until soft peaks form and then to stabilize it, add one tablespoon of instant vanilla pudding. This is a trick I use to keep whipped cream from getting too runny over time. I learned it from a restaurant here in Oklahoma City who does this and it works brilliantly!
Whip it up for another 20 seconds or so to incorporate the pudding throughout all of the whipped cream. Remove the whipped cream to a separate bowl.
Back in your original mixing bowl, add two (8 oz.) packages of room temperature cream cheese with one cup of sugar. If your cream cheese isn’t room temperature it will be lumpy when you mix it.
Mix this up until it’s smooth and creamy. Then fold the whipped cream gently into this mixture. Put the whole thing in a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. If you don’t have a pastry bag, just pile it into a quart baggie and snip off the corner.
Pipe this evenly between the 10 mason jars right on top of the crust, being careful not to dribble it on the sides at the top.
Important!!! I learned through trial and error that if you don’t take a spoon and smooth out this layer, your gelatinwill seep through to the crust and it won’t be as pretty, so do it!
See that jar in the back? It ended up with red crust. Incidentally, this was pretty good to eat!
Now for the topping you are going to need two cups of fresh fruit. I used whole blueberries and raspberries and sliced up my strawberries. Decide what ratio you want of each and just make them equal two cups when you’re finished.
Pull out your (now cooled) strawberry gelatin and stir the fruit right into it.
Now using a ladle (I found that worked best), evenly ration out this mixture right over the cream cheese layer.
Pop them back into the refrigerator for at least an hour and voila! You’re done!
I think these will be perfect to take out on our boat or to make again for the Fourth of July!
These didn’t last long at our house this week.
I think this speaks volume about whether they were a winner or not!
See what other wonderful food bloggers made for Food Network’s Summer Soirée “Packable Desserts” this week!
The Lemon Bowl: 5 Ingredient No-Bake Fig Newton Bites
Dishing: Caramelized Pineapple with Mint
Weelicious: Raspberry Cheesecake Jars
Virtually Homemade: Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Salted Brownies
The Heritage Cook: Anzac Biscotti
Taste With The Eyes: Cherimoya Brulee
Devour: The 5 Best Picnic Sweets
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes with Chambord Raspberries
Red or Green: Healthy Ginger-Molasses Cookies
Cooking With Elise: Salted Caramel Brownies
Swing Eats: S’Mores Bars (Gluten-Free)
Domesticate Me: Summer Berry Parfaits with Vanilla Bean Ricotta and Toasted Almonds
Dishin & Dishes: Triple Berry Pretzel Salad Dessert in a Jar
Food For 7 Stages of Life: Oats and Peanut Laddoo (No Bake Energy Bites)
Bacon and Souffle: Mason Jar Overnight Oats
In Jennie’s Kitchen: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
FN Dish: Make-and-Take Picnic Desserts