Strawberry Pretzel Pie – Fresh April Flours

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Video Strawberry pretzel pie ice cream
An easy icebox pie made with fresh strawberry compote, tart and smooth cream cheese flavored with creamy vanilla paste, all atop a sweet and salty pretzel crust. via @frshaprilfloursAn easy icebox pie made with fresh strawberry compote, tart and smooth cream cheese flavored with creamy vanilla paste, all atop a sweet and salty pretzel crust. via @frshaprilfloursAn easy icebox pie made with fresh strawberry compote, tart and smooth cream cheese flavored with creamy vanilla paste, all atop a sweet and salty pretzel crust. via @frshaprilflours

An easy icebox pie made with fresh strawberry compote, tart and smooth cream cheese flavored with creamy vanilla paste, all atop a sweet and salty pretzel crust.

If I said the phrase “strawberry pretzel salad,” do you know what I’m talking about? Have you ever stopped to think about how odd that combination of words is, and maybe if you were hearing it for the first time, you’d picture a bowl of pretzels, strawberries, and perhaps some sort of leafy green?

Actually, now that I type that out, it doesn’t sound totally awful (sweet? salty? texture city?), but in reality, what the world has deemed strawberry pretzel salad is actually a layered dessert of strawberry gelatin, some sort of creamy cream cheese/whipped topping filling, and a pretzel crust.

It’s an iconic summer potluck dish, and it is one of those dishes that just has “summer” written all over it.

Now that I’ve got you thinking about that tasty dessert, I’m going to flip it all around and ask you to kind of forget about it, because this easy strawberry pretzel pie is similar to it, but we’re turning the flavor combo into a triangularly sliced treat that is filling June’s Pie of The Month slot and I think you’re going to love it.

Strawberry dessert year round for the win!

I have a whole post dedicated to this fresh strawberry compote, otherwise known as strawberry sauce, which you can use for ice cream, yogurt, blintzes, cheesecake, spoons… Whatever you want!

And all you need for it is strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Oh, and water. But that’s hardly an ingredient.

Or rather… Easy as pie. Definitely.

The filling is flavored by strawberries mostly, but we’re amping up the creaminess and vanilla complement by adding in one of my very favorite ingredients: vanilla paste.

It resembles more of a liquid than what I would categorize as a “paste,” but it is a bit more viscous than vanilla extract.

My favorite brand of vanilla paste (and a lot of other baking ingredients) is Rodelle, as they embody exactly what it means to be “fair trade,” working directly with vanilla famers in Madagascar to source their vanilla beans for their baking products. I have been working with them since 2016 and they are my go-to for Dutch processed cocoa, almond extract, and anything vanilla.

Moreover, I like to use vanilla paste in desserts where the flavor can directly complement the flavor of the dessert. Take my vanilla bean sugar cookies for instance. They are straight up in your face vanilla flavor. And they have the little vanilla flecks to boot!

I chose vanilla paste for this no bake strawberry pretzel pie because vanilla paste has a bit of a creamy flavor (as opposed to vanilla extract which has a much more subtle flavor can sometimes hang out in the background of whatever it’s in).

While we are using cream cheese and heavy cream in the filling for this pie, I really wanted to emphasize the creamy strawberry component that stems from that iconic strawberry pretzel salad I built this pie to resemble.

Don’t have vanilla paste? No problem! You can use a 1 for 1 sub with vanilla extract. Just know the flavor will be a little less creamy of a vanilla flavor and you’ll miss out on the vanilla bean flecks. But still delish, I promise!

But the good news? The most time consuming part is preparing the strawberries, which you’ll need an entire pound of, but once that’s done, it’s just full speed ahead until the end!

strawberries sliced on a cutting board
ingredients to make strawberry compote in a saucepan

You’ll add the strawberries, water, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch to a small saucepan, heat it to boiling, and then simmer it until the sauce is thick and the strawberries are starting to fall apart.

Allow this to cool while you prepare the rest of the pie. You don’t want it to be hot when it goes into the filling, but it’s totally fine if it’s a little bit warm.

As I mentioned, making this part ahead of time will save you some time on pie day, and doubling it will give you some extra for other goodies.

You’ll need all of the strawberry sauce you make in this recipe for the pie, which means, yes, there is an entire pound of strawberries in this whole pie. If that doesn’t send you running to make it right now, I don’t know what else will!

Pulse any kind of pretzel you prefer in a food processor until it is in very small pieces. You’ll sweeten it some brown sugar and bind it all together with some melted butter.

crushed pretzels in a food processor to make a pretzel crust
pretzel crust in a springform pan

This pretzel strawberry pie as a whole is no bake, but you will need to bake the pretzel crust for 15 minutes. Baking it allows the sugar crystals to bind the pretzel pieces together, and the butter helps coat the pretzels to keep them from getting soggy with the strawberry filling on top.

Set aside your whipped cream and whip up the cream cheese, which you’ll sweeten with powdered sugar (again, keeping things light) and flavor with two teaspoons of vanilla paste (or vanilla extract, if that’s what you’re using).

strawberry pretzel pie filling in a glass bowl with a spatula
aerial photo of strawberry pretzel pie in a springform pan ready to chill

You’ll fold in the prepared whipped cream which will give you this amazingly light and fluffy cream cheesy filling that you’re going to totally take over the top with all of those deliciously sweetened and softened strawberry chunks.

Fold the strawberries in, too, then pour it all into the pretzel crust.

If you chill this pretzel strawberry dessert in the fridge, know that it will still be fairly soft when you slice it. This can make for messier slices, but if you are putting it right into a bowl or don’t mind eating it with a spoon, go for it!

sliced strawberry pretzel pie
aerial photo of sliced strawberry pretzel pie

If you’d prefer more of a sturdy, definitively sliceable pie, go the freezer route.

Just know that if you’re taking it from freezer to serving, you’ll want it to sit out for at least 15-20 minutes to insure you can get a knife and then a fork (or spoon!) through it to enjoy it.

The pie doesn’t get as hard as ice cream, but it still freezes up pretty firmly, so you be the judge of where to chill it.

The good news is, if it’s too hard to slice or enjoy, you can just let it sit for a little bit longer. Of course, this delays your enjoyment of it, but I promise that the wait will be worth it!

You could also top it with more strawberry sauce (if you doubled the recipe), simply sliced strawberries, or just leave it as is.

Each bite of this pie is sweet and creamy with big chunks of fresh strawberry. Pair that with the sweet and salty pretzel crust and you’ll be loving this pie as much as you love strawberry pretzel salad with a bit of a different presentation and delivery.

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