When I first heard about this dish from a Southern friend, I had visions of spinach topped with sliced strawberries and maybe a little feta cheese and tossed with pretzel crumbles. But this dish is more akin to a Jell-O No Bake Cheesecake than a Caesar. The combination of a salty crushed pretzel crust, rich whipped cream, and strawberry gelatin intrigued me.
'strawberrries' on Serious Eats
It's easy to see why strawberry rhubarb pie is one of the most coveted flavors by pie-lovers and bakers. Beside the fact that sweet, sun-kissed strawberries pair perfectly with tart, crisp rhubarb sweetened with just enough sugar, there is something magnificent about a pie for which nature makes us wait so patiently each year. The sight of rhubarb in the spring markets signals the promise of great things to come. By the time strawberries hit, rhubarb is on the decline, allowing us a window of just weeks (at least for those on the East Coast) to enjoy the two together.
The idea for this jam came about for three reasons. One, last Saturday was the first time this spring that strawberries appeared at my local farmers' market. Two, I recently invested in a really nice bottle of aged balsamic vinegar. And three, I had some fresh thyme in my fridge that was about to go bad.
The secret ingredient? Freeze-dried strawberries, which have sharp, concentrated flavor that leaves red gelatin in the dust. A portion of the berries goes into the cake and the remainder are folded into the meringue.