What’s not to love? A sweet and salty pretzel base, fresh strawberries barely held together with their own juices, and a whipped coconut cream topping. This is something I remember eating during the peak of hot Nebraska summers. I always tried to scrape more than my fair share of the salty pretzels on the bottom.
This was a very popular dish in the 1990s in Nebraska—a really popular potluck and summer holiday menu item. It was always called a “salad” though, which I thought was a little odd, so I made it into a pie. But, if we’re calling this a salad, I’d like to see more salads just like this!
Nonstick spray for pan
6 cups (400 g) pretzels, dairy- or gluten-free if necessary
3 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons (75 ml) melted coconut oil
4 cups (476 g) fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 cup (240 ml) water
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch or tapioca starch
Red gel food coloring as desired
1 recipe Whipped Coconut Cream (recipe follow)
Make the crust: Grease a 9-inch pie pan with nonstick spray. Crush the pretzels with the bottom of a pot or with a rolling pin until they are a mixture of pretzel powder and pretzel pieces. Transfer the pretzels to a bowl, add the sugar and coconut oil, and mix together to combine. Press into the bottom of the prepared pie pan and transfer to your refrigerator. Let the crust chill and set while you make the filling.
Make the filling: Crush 1 cup (120 g) of the strawberries and cook in a small saucepan with the water for about 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and let the juice cool for about 20 minutes. Combine the sugar and starch in a small bowl and whisk into the strained berry juice. Transfer back to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Add a couple of drops of red food coloring as desired.
Place 1 1/2 cups (178 g) of the remaining strawberries in the bottom of your chilled piecrust, then pour half of the sauce over the berries. Repeat those layers with the last 1 1/2 cups (178 g) of strawberries and the remaining sauce. Chill for at least 5 hours before serving.
Top with Whipped Coconut Cream and serve.
Whipped Coconut Cream
This recipe marked a big change in how I perceived eating dairy-free. It gave me hope that I would find the same joy in nondairy treats that I had found in my past life of butter- and cream-filled treats. This whipped coconut cream is everything I wanted whipped heavy cream to be: it is super rich and luscious, sweet on its own without adding any sugar, and the perfect accompaniment to so many of my favorite desserts in this book.
Yield: 2 cups whipped coconut cream
Two 15-ounce (425 g) cans full-fat coconut milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Refrigerate the cans of coconut milk for at least 24 hours. Freezing doesn’t work, so just be patient, plan ahead a little, and use the refrigerator.
After they have been refrigerated, open the cans and carefully scoop out the top layer of cold, solidified coconut milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Reserve the remaining milk for another use. Add the vanilla extract and mix on medium-high speed until most of the lumps of coconut fat have broken up and soft-peaks have formed, about 5 minutes. Refrigerate or use immediately.
The most reliable brand of coconut milk that I have used for this recipe is the Whole Foods 365 brand full fat coconut cream. Try to choose a brand that doesn't add any gums or sweeteners to the milk, as the final product will be impacted by these additional ingredients.
Excerpted from Perfectly Golden: Adaptable Recipes for Sweet and Simple Treats. Copyright 2020 by Angela Garbacz, photos by Daniel Muller. Reproduced by permission of The Countryman Press. All rights reserved.
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