This is my big finale for strawberry week. I had a lot of fun making this dish. It’s a play on Strawberry Pretzel Salad a dessert casserole made with pretzels, cream cheese, strawberries, and Jello. It’s a fairly common holiday, pot luck, and Summer picnic recipe. To be perfectly honest I only tried it for the first time about 2 years ago at a friend’s house. The combination is interesting: crunchy, sweet, creamy, and salty. Anyways, I had a wild thought the other day that these flavors would be great as a donut. Once I got started with the process though it slowly migrated it’s way into shortcake. I’m not giving up on the pretzel donut idea, but this was pretty darn fabulous.
STRAWBERRY PRETZEL SHORTCAKE
- 2 lbs strawberries, cleaned; hulled; sliced
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Soft Pretzel Rounds:
- 1 1/8 cups warm water
- 3 cups flour
- 3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons active-dry yeast
- 2 quarts water
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 2 Tablespoons of butter, melted
- Coarse Salt, for sprinkling
Cream Cheese Whipped Cream
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Pretzel Twists, crushed or chopped for serving
DIRECTIONS: Clean and slice strawberries; combine with sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl; cover and set aside to macerate while you prepare the pretzels and whipped cream – the longer the better, but at least one hour will do the trick.
*Tip: If you want that Jello flavor you can strain the strawberries and add 1 teaspoon- 1/2 Tablespoons of Jello mix to macerated strawberry juice. Whisk until dissolved and then fold strawberries back into juice.
For the pretzels:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine 2 quarts of water and 1/2 cup baking soda in a very large pot; bring to a boil. In a stand-mixer with paddle attachement combine: 1 1/8 cup warm water, 3 cups flour, 3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast. Let the stand-mixer mix/knead dough until it is smooth. Mix on low for about 4-7 minutes; scraping down sides in the middle. If it is too wet you can add a Tablespoon or so of flour. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and roll out to 1/4″ thick; using a biscuit or donut cutter make rounds.
Prepare greaased cookie sheets for transfer; also have additional paper towels ready for drying. Boil each round, you can cook 3 – 5 at a time depending on the size of your pot, for 10-15 seconds and transfer to paper towels for drying. Transfer par-boiled rounds to greased cookie sheets for baking.
Bake at 425 for 8 to 10 minutes; while warm brush with melted butter; and sprinkle with coarse salt. Allow to cool while you make the whipped cream.
For the Cream Cheese Whipped Cream:
In a stand-mixer or large mixing bowl cream room temperature cream cheese until soft and fluffy; add vanilla, whipping cream, salt, sugar; and add your splash guard! Start on low until mixture is combined, scrap down sides and then crank it up to medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes until mixture is smooth and increased in volume. Try not to eat it all, because it tastes delightful!
This would be fun as part of a shortcake bar! You could do chocolate, lemon, and standard shortcakes too. Different flavors of whipped creams and different toppings and then let people go wild with imagination. Imagination makes the kitchen a pretty awesome place to play! You could also take your macerated strawberries to the next level and instead of lemon juice use Amaretto. See…. I get carried away with fun ideas, like Strawberry Pretzel Shortcake.
I also used part of my dough to make bigger pretzel buns, partially to test out what thickness for my pretzel rounds:
I decided to mix some of the cream cheese whipped cream with strawberry juice and minced strawberries. I piped them full of it and well…. they tasted just like the mall food court pretzels with strawberry cream cheese. It was a total childhood flashback moment. It was good. I highly recommend eating this one way, or the other, or both!
Salty-sweet desserts are always such a treat!