Layered raspberry & cream dessert (recipe)
Most of the time I try to feature recipes that focus on whole foods and fresh ingredients. This is not one of those times.
But what this recipe lacks in nutritional value, it makes up for with its good looks and quirky personality: a salty pretzel crust + fluffy cream cheese + sweet jiggly Jello. Yes, yes, and yes. That has holiday party written all over it.
I first ate this 12 years ago at a Thanksgiving dinner hosted by my sister-in-law, where it was actually served as a side dish. On a holiday where sweet potatoes are topped with mini marshmallows and leftover pumpkin pie is eaten for breakfast the next morning, this is totally acceptable. I have served it at brunches and lunches, for dessert or a midnight snack. No one has complained yet.
The original recipe was called “Raspberry Surprise,” so you know it was in its prime, circa 1970’s. Because I am instantly suspicious of any dish with the word “surprise” in the title, swapping that out was the first order of business. (I will be perfectly content if I live my entire life without ever being surprised by tuna. It just seems like that could go really wrong.)
I also changed a few other key ingredients. Instead of Cool Whip, I used whipping cream. And for the sugar, I cut it back to just 1/3 of what was originally written. (Read more about why my family is cutting back on sugar.) Jello is plenty sweet on its own, so I preferred the middle layer to taste more like cheesecake. You can also use any flavor of Jello or berry your heart desires. In fact, if you want to omit the Jell-o, you could just pile fresh fruit on top. That would be really delicious, especially in the summertime.
So add some fun life and color to your holiday table this year. You’ll have a unique dish that gets rave reviews from the kids table all the way up through the adults.
Layered Raspberry & Cream Dessert
2 c. crushed pretzels
3/4 c. butter, melted
3 T. sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. sugar
8 oz. whipping cream or 8 oz. tub of Cool Whip
1 pkg. (6 oz.) raspberry Jell-o
2 c. boiling water
1 1/2 c. cold water
20 oz. frozen raspberries (or other berry)
- Mix the crushed pretzels, melted butter, and 3 T. sugar. Spread on the bottom of a 9×13″ baking dish and pack down with a rubber spatula. Bake at 400-degrees for 10 minutes. Let crust cool completely.
- Empty the Jell-o package into a medium bowl. Pour the boiling water over it and stir until dissolved. Stir in cold water. Add frozen raspberries. Let set for 10 minutes.
- Using a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whip the whipping cream and 1/3 c. sugar until it creates soft peaks (or use Cool Whip). Scrape the whipped cream into a second bowl. Place the softened cream cheese into the mixing bowl and beat until fluffy and smooth. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream or Cool Whip into the softened cream cheese. Spread over the pretzel crust, pushing it all the way to the edges of the dish.
- Pour the Jell-o mixture over the cream cheese. Chill several hours-overnight before serving.
I keep things pretty simple in the holiday decorating department, but this set of Rachael Ray Dessert Plate Gift Set (Amazon) is calling my name. They are called Little Hoot and the Snowman! A set or two of these would make a really fun holiday gift or look seriously cute set out on a dessert table. The bonus is you could easily use them through February!
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