Awesome. Spectacular. Meh.

We hosted a student lunch yesterday and I made a couple of desserts for it. This one came from a cookbook my mom gave me for Christmas: The Taste of Home Baking Book and I have to tell you, that I don’t really think it deserves to be on the shelf next to Dorie’s Baking book. I know, many people are huge fans of Taste of Home, but I find most of the recipes are old Pillsbury Bake-Off repeats, nothing new, and what I generally refer to as ‘fake foods’. Not that they are somehow plastic and inedible; this dessert certainly is edible and sweet, but the main ingredients are pudding mix and Cool Whip. And it’s not that I’m so snobby that I would never eat those things, because I’ve clearly posted food with pudding mix and Cool Whip before. And I do think there is a place for a super quick crowd pleaser, but I have to tell you that I really prefer ‘real food’. That’s why, in the future, I’m more likely to make my cream puffs like this again than as a ‘Midwest dessert casserole’.

But this was extremely popular and wins for ‘ooey, gooey, super sweet’ dessert. It was also easy to make it in stages. I made the cream puff crust Friday night and then mixed the pudding on Saturday and topped with the Cool Whip and then refrigerated it until Sunday afternoon when I added the caramel and chocolate toppings and hazelnuts. None of the steps took more than a few minutes and it was called alternately ‘Awesome’ and ‘Spectacular’ by the guests. I actually thought about using pistachio pudding and pistachios on top for a green dessert. 😛 So, for Mat, here’s the recipe. I hope you still fit in the tux! 😉

Cream Puff Dessert (from The Taste of Home Baking Book)

Base:
1 c. water
1/2 c. butter
1 c. flour
4 eggs

Filling:
1 pkg (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
3 1/2 c. cold milk
2 pkgs (3.9 oz each) instant chocolate pudding

Topping:
1 carton (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/4 c. chocolate ice cream topping
1/4 c. caramel ice cream topping
1/3 c. chopped nuts (recipe calls for almonds, I used hazelnuts)

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a large saucepan, bring the water and butter to a boil over medium heat. Add flour all at once; stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny.

Spread into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Bake at 400 F for 30-35 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

For filling, beat the cream cheese, milk and pudding mix in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Spread over puff; refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Spread with whipped topping; refrigerate until serving. Drizzle with the chocolate and caramel toppings; sprinkle with nuts. Refrigerate leftovers.

As for me, I preferred Dorie’s Chewy, Chunky Blondies (p. 109), full of coconut, chocolate, butterscotch chips, Heath toffee bits, pecans, and lots of butter and sugar!

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9 Responses

  1. It looks really impressive, even if it is made from Cool Whip and pudding!

  2. it was definitely a hit on sunday! 😉 it was like a chocolate eclair that had exploded, but in a good way. 🙂

    perhaps i shouldn’t have told mat about your website until AFTER he got married. ;P

  3. I so need to start going to the student feasts.

  4. These both sound good but we lack instant pudding packages and things like cool whip here, so i will probably stick with “real food” also! Love the pizza/pie idea though.

  5. It’s like a giant eclair on a plate! I would have taken some off of your hands 🙂

  6. Mmm looks absolutely yummy.

  7. I’d take Dorie’s blondies anyday!

  8. That looks very good. I love the layered desserts. YUM

    Thanks Sharona May

  9. Wow nice pictures! Both look really yummy.

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