Heavenly layers of pudding, whipped topping and cream cheese sit atop a rich pecan shortbread base. Heavenly Dessert goes by many names--it depends on where you live or who gave you the recipe--but it tastes just as good, no matter the name. It's actually a type of unbaked cheesecake so what's not to like about that.
I had tasted this dessert many years ago and fell in love with it at first bite but had no idea how it was made. (You know how you take a taste of several desserts at a party or shower and then can't find the dish your favourite one came in.) But, then some years later, I tasted it again and found out how it was made. It had a rather, er, um, shall we say, an x-rated name and I just called it "that layered dessert" when referring to it, especially around small children and old ladies. Then the school I taught at published a fundraiser cookbook and what should appear but this dessert under the name of "Heavenly Dessert". It had been submitted by a dear friend, Yvonne, who I'd known for years.
You can see it's "Yum, Yum!" approved.
Some people you meet are beautiful on the outside and some are beautiful on the inside. Yvonne is both--beautiful from the inside out. My earliest recollections of Yvonne are from a church summer camp I attended with my friends. I can still see her sitting outside the camp dining room playing with her little boy in the sand. She was the pretty wife of the young and handsome pastor, who was helping direct the camp. The teenage girls swooned over him and made outrageous whispered vows of love whenever he went by. I was a little young for swooning but the family with their two young children always reminded me of the (JFK) Kennedy's. I guess all the whispering and swooning gave the family some credibility as celebrities in my mind. That was so many years ago and now we're both retired with grandchildren.
This makes a nice large dessert for a family gathering or potluck. Peter likes it so much he requested it as one of the desserts at his and Vicki's wedding. I'm always hopeful there will be a few pieces leftover for next day as it tastes just as good for breakfast as it did for the dessert the night before. ☺ Try the butterscotch/chocolate version as well, as that's just as delicious as the original. (Actually, any flavour pudding can be used...hmmm. I guess the possibilities are endless or as endless as the variety of puddings you can find at the grocery store.)
The original recipe calls for 1 cup of chopped pecans and 1 cup of flour but I find ½ a cup of nuts works just as well (as nuts are expensive in my neck of the woods). I just increase the flour to 1½ cups.
1 cup medium fine chopped pecans (I use ½ cup)
1 cup flour (I use a scant 1½ cups)
½ cup butter, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the pecans, flour and butter together and lightly press in an ungreased 9x13-inch pan. Bake 10-15 minutes or until starting to turn golden brown at the edges. Cool.
1–8 ounce package cream cheese
1 cup icing sugar (I usually only use ½ cup.)
½ large Cool Whip or 2 cups whipped topping
In a medium bowl beat cream cheese and icing sugar together. Spread on top of cooled pecan shortbread crust. Spread the Cool Whip on top of cheese mixture.
1 package chocolate instant pudding*
1 package vanilla instant pudding*
3 cups cold milk
½ large Cool Whip or 2 cups whipped topping
Chocolate curls or flakes for garnish, optional
Chopped pecans for garnish, optional
Mix both puddings and milk together according to the package directions and carefully spread on top of Cool Whip layer. Place second amount of Cool Whip on top of pudding layer, spreading to the edges. Garnish with chocolate curls and chopped pecans if desired. Chill overnight or several hours. Cut in squares to serve.
Makes 15-20 servings.
*For Butterscotch or Caramel and Chocolate dessert I have used butterscotch or caramel pudding instead of vanilla pudding. Instead of mixing both puddings together, mix each pudding with 1½ cups milk and make 2 separate layers instead of one.
Mix the butter, flour and chopped nuts together until crumbly. Lightly press into a 9x13-inch pan. The bottom of a measuring cup works wonders for pressing in the crumbs.
Bake 10-15 minutes or until starting to turn golden brown. I had to bake mine a few minutes longer.
While the crust is cooling, beat the cream cheese and icing sugar together until fluffy. When crust is completely cool spread the whipped cream cheese mixture evenly over the base.
Spread 2 cups whipped topping over the cream cheese mixture.
Mix the vanilla and chocolate puddings with 3 cups of milk. Spread over the whipped topping layer.
Spread the pudding layer with the second amount of whipped topping. Garnish with chocolate curls or flakes and chopped pecans. Chill at least 3 hours or overnight.
Cut the dessert into 15-20 pieces. Any left-overs should be refrigerated for breakfast. ☺
Have a bite. You know you want to...
Heavenly Dessert goes down smooth and delicious!