Home Recipe Inspiration Strawberry Pretzel Pie
Strawberry Pretzel Pie

Strawberry Pretzel Pie

by Ünal Güler

A childhood favorite—grown up.

We all have dishes from our childhood that we look back on fondly—sometimes to the bafflement of those around us. For me, that dish is a Jell-O salad. For the uninitiated, Jell-O salads are an American classic. Flavored gelatin is mixed with everything from canned fruit to frozen peas, whipped cream to cottage cheese, and toasted nuts to salty pretzels. The final mix is poured into elaborate molds or layered into bars and served at family gatherings, holiday parties, and summer picnics as a main, side, or of course, dessert. 

One Jell-O salad in particular lingers in my memory: strawberry pretzel salad. Layers of salty pretzels, tangy cream cheese, and sweet strawberry Jell-O are combined into sliceable bars, this is the dessert I sought out on all the potluck tables. 

For this pie, I wanted to maintain the spirit of the strawberry pretzel salad but swap out the artificial strawberry flavor with juicy spring strawberries. The final result is a buttery and salty pretzel crumb crust, filled with both cooked and fresh strawberries and topped with an airy whipped cream cheese topping.

With a short growing window of late spring and early summer, I plan most of my spring baking around celebrating this favorite fruit.

Because fresh spring strawberries are incredibly flavorful and juicy on their own, I like to have as many fresh berries in my pie as possible. For the filling, a small amount of the berries get mashed and quickly cooked with a bit of cornstarch until just thickened into a jam that can hold everything together, before folding in heaps of sliced fresh berries.

I like to let the flavor of the fresh strawberries shine, so keep the seasonings simple: sugar, lemon, and a bit of orange zest. That being said, every batch of berries is a little different, so I recommend tasting and adjusting your jam as it cooks to balance out the sweetness of your specific berries.  

Your Guide to Strawberries, Spring’s Juicy Little Jems
READ MORE:

Whipped Cream Cheese Makes This Topping Special

Instead of layering sweetened cream cheese into my pie (as is done in the original salad inspiration), I prefer to add a light and tangy whipped cream cheese topping.

Keep your heavy cream in the fridge until you’re ready to whip. Go slow: Once you’ve added the heavy cream, make sure you turn your mixer speed to slow and keep an eye on what’s going on. It’s easy to over whip when using an electric mixer. 

Know your peaks: We use the word “peaks” to describe how thick a mixture is when it’s being whipped. For this topping I like to whip to a stiff peak—meaning it completely holds its shape when I lift my whisk out of the bowl.

Storing Strawberry Pretzel Pie

This pie is best served immediately after assembling, though it will hold covered in the fridge for up to 1 day—after that the crust will get a bit soggy.

If making ahead, I recommend storing the whipped topping in a separate airtight container and adding it to the pie right before you serve. 

Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

More Strawberry Desserts to Make this Spring

  • Fresh Strawberry Pie
  • Strawberry Shortcake
  • Old Fashioned Strawberry Cake
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
  • Strawberry Mascarpone Tart
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Ingredients

For the pretzel crust

  • 1 cup (115g) pretzel crumbs (from about 2 cups of mini pretzels)

  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the strawberry filling

  • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and quartered, divided 

  • 4 tablespoons (50g) granulated sugar, plus more to taste 

  • 3 tablespoons (30g) cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

For the whipped cream cheese topping

  • 4 ounces (113g) full fat cream cheese, room temperature

  • 1/3 cup (40g) powdered sugar

  • 1 cup cold heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Pinch of salt

For garnishing

  • Crushed mini pretzels

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  2. Make the pretzel crust:

    In a medium mixing bowl, combine the pretzel crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.

Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

Press the crust into pie dish:

Pour the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie dish and spread it into an even layer. Use a small measuring cup or flat-bottomed drinking glass to press the crumbs tightly into the bottom of the pan and up along the sides.

Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

Bake and cool the crust:

Bake the crust for 18 to 20 minutes, until it has darkened slightly, and smells toasted. Transfer the pie dish to a cooling rack and let the crust cool completely.

Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

Make the strawberry filling:

In a medium saucepan, add 2 cups of the quartered strawberries and 4 tablespoons of sugar. Using a potato masher, mash the strawberries against the bottom of the pan to release their juices. Add the cornstarch, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, plus the water, salt, and orange zest.

Taste and season with more sugar or lemon juice, if needed (careful, it will be hot). Continue to cook, stirring regularly, for 3 to 4 minutes until the liquid has thickened slightly. 

Remove from the heat and let the strawberry filling cool for 5 minutes, then carefully fold in the remaining sliced strawberries.

Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

Assemble the pie: 

Pour the strawberry filling into the cooled pie crust and use a spatula to spread it in an even layer. 

Let the filling cool completely, then cover with plastic and chill in the fridge until set, about 2 hours.

Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

Make the whipped cream cheese topping: 

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Whip on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Whip until the mixture thickens and forms stiff peaks (it stands on its own when you remove the whisk).

Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

Top the pie:

When ready to serve, spoon the whipped topping into the center of the pie. Use a spoon or small spatula to spread and swirl the topping evenly over the pie, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge (so you can see some of the strawberry filling). 

Sprinkle crushed pretzels over the whipped cream cheese topping.

Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

Serve:

Slice and serve immediately. 

This pie is best served immediately after assembling, though it will hold covered in the fridge for up to 1 day—after that the crust will get a bit soggy.

Did you love this recipe? Give us some stars below!

Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

Nutrition Facts (per serving) 356 Calories 20g Fat 42g Carbs 4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
× Nutrition Facts Servings: 8 to 10 Amount per serving Calories 356 % Daily Value* Total Fat 20g 26% Saturated Fat 12g 61% Cholesterol 57mg 19% Sodium 448mg 19% Total Carbohydrate 42g 15% Dietary Fiber 2g 9% Total Sugars 20g Protein 4g Vitamin C 54mg 271% Calcium 48mg 4% Iron 1mg 6% Potassium 214mg 5% *The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.

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