Pudding and pie: it's the best of both worlds. Mother Daughter Dishes takes a salty crust made of crushed pecans, spreading a layer of sweet cream cheese, vanilla pudding, and finally, whipped cream, atop it. The entire thing is chilled until set, to form thick squares of cool, sweet richness.
Why this recipe works:
- Though the components of the pudding pie are very different, they're united by the flavor of vanilla. It's mixed into the whipped cream, and the pudding. The pecans and cream cheese fit right in.
- The only reason to turn on the oven is to bake the pecan crust; after that, the oven can be switched off, and the refrigerator can do the rest of the work—ideal for summertime desserts.
Excerpted from Mother Daughter Dishes by Cheryl Najafi (CherylStyle Publishing). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Erika Shafer.
- Yield:Serves 12
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:2 hours
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- Cream Cheese Layer
- 8 oz package cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Pudding Layer
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 7 egg yolks
- 3 cups whole milk (do NOT use anything less than whole milk)
- 3/4 cup evaporated milk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Whipped Cream
- 2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place rack in the center of the oven then preheat to 350 degrees. Spray a 9" x 13" cake pan with cooking spray then set aside.
To make the crust, pulse pecans in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Add flour, 2 tbsp sugar and salt then pulse a few more times until the ingredients are just combined. Pour in 1 stick of melted butter and pulse until a coarse paste has formed. Press crust evenly into the bottom of cake pan then place it in oven for 10−12 minutes until crust is golden brown. Remove pan from oven and cool completely.
Meanwhile, beat cream cheese until smooth then add 1 cup powdered sugar and mix until combined. Allow mixture to sit at room temperature while you prepare the pudding and whipped cream.
For the pudding, whisk 3/4 cup granulated sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small saucepan, away from heat, until no lumps remain. Whisk in egg yolks followed immediately by whole milk and evaporated milk. Transfer saucepan to stove and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until liquid comes to a bubble. Once you see the first bubble burst on the surface of the pudding, cook 1 minute longer, stirring constantly.
Remove pudding from heat then immediately whisk in 3 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Pour liquid into a bowl then place a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface—this will prevent a film from forming on the surface. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
To make the whipped cream, add heavy whipping cream, 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla to a mixing bowl then whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble your puddin’ ‘n’ pie.
Once pudding and crust are cool, spread cream cheese over crust, followed by the pudding, then the whipped cream—all in even layers. Allow the pie to chill in the fridge 2−3 hours, then cut and serve!