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Recipes & Food Styling

Berry Basil Pretzel Salad

Feb 9, 2021 | Basil, Berries, Food Styling, JELL-O®, Pretzels, Raspberries, Recipes, Strawberries

Mid-Century Valentine’s Day Treat

My mom’s gorgeous Jell-O® molds were like artwork for our holiday dinner table. At Christmas, Valentine’s Day and birthdays we devoured Sue Davis’ Jell-O® salad. She made it with a layer of plain cream cheese. Lately, I’ve been adding basil to the cream cheese mixture. A sweet layer of crushed buttery pretzels created the base.

Sue and her husband Roger dedicated their lives to helping others while they were young and still raising four kids of their own. While holding down jobs, they found time to lead and mentor teens through youth groups. They hosted fondue parties, crimson hats lunches and more in their home for others. They were foster parents. Before there was a mall in Wausau – The Wausau Center –  they took us to Minneapolis every August so we could buy school clothes at the malls there. When I was 16, Sue sewed me a cape to go with the green velvet t-length dress that I borrowed from her daughters to wear to the winter prom. She had sewn the dress for them. It’s hard to say how much this extraordinary woman will always mean to me. 

Berry Basil Pretzel Salad

12 ounces strawberry or raspberry gelatin

2 cups boiling water

2 cups cold water

1 10-ounce package frozen strawberries or raspberries

Boil water; dissolve gelatin and then add in cold water. Add frozen berries. Pour into heart-shaped mold, allowing at least ½ inch open space on top for basil cream cheese spread and pretzels. Set in refrigerator for at least 4 hours

Pretzel Mixture

1 ½ cups pretzels, chopped in food processor

¾ cups margarine, melted

3 tablespoons sugar

Mix ingredients together. Spread on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes

Basil Cream Cheese Spread

12 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

8 ounces whipped cream

1 handful fresh basil

Pulse all ingredients in food processor until blended thoroughly. When gelatin is set, spread a thin layer of this mixture on top, followed by a layer of the pretzel mixture.

In a large bowl of hot water, dip the mold in for just a few seconds. Pull the mold from the hot water before the gelatin has time to melt. 

Place the serving dish on top of of the mold, and carefully flip it over; gently remove the mold.