When I turned around to clean a spatula at the sink, Jeff came quietly around the corner and stuck his finger into this (almost) assembled Creamy Chocolate Dessert - I guess he thought he needed to do his "quality-control" duties (sigh... that just means he gets the piece with a hole in it!). I caught him as I turned around, tapped him with my now clean spatula and noticed he was too busy enjoying the piece he scooped out to care! Humph... at least I didn't have to wait to find out if it was going to turn out well or not.
Instead of a graham cracker base, the bottom of this creamy dessert is a mixture of flour, powdery confectioners' sugar, butter and nutty toasted pecans. Once pulsed together in a food processor, this crumbly mixture is pressed down into a baking pan to form the crust. The pan is then slid into the oven long enough for it to melt together and form a solid crust.
Once the crust had cooled completely, we started preparing the fillings that will be slathered on top. The first layer is cream cheese that we whipped with confectioners' sugar to add some sweetness. Because it is still a little dense, the cream cheese is lightened with an overstuffed cup of stabilized whipped cream. Stabilized whipped cream ensures that it doesn't weep when it sits around and allows the texture to be a little more firm. You can use a product like Dream Whip to do this, try out a method using gelatin or if you think you won't keep it sitting around long, a mixture of confectioners' sugar and a little extra cornstarch usually works well. If you are looking for an easier method, I won't tell if you use something like Cool Whip instead - you'll need one eight ounce container (which is what the original recipe called for). I don't have anything against it, but we just prefer to taste of real whipped cream.
While that layer was chilling out in the refrigerator, I did take some help from the market with the next addition by using a couple packages of instant chocolate pudding mix! The pudding does need to set up a bit before spreading it on, but this is fine as you already have downtime waiting on the first layer to firm up. The remaining cream we whipped is the final addition, making this four-layer dessert sing! Just before I served this, I dusted the top with cocoa powder for a pop of color against the final white layer (and who would say no to another dose of chocolate?). Luscious, creamy and soft, without being runny, I didn't find it as easy to get clean slices as we usually try to do. However, scooped into a bowl or a tidy piece on a plate, I don't care how it is served as I'm already thinking it will make a fine breakfast, lunch and dinner! The cream cheese added such a pleasing, clean silky body while the pudding cut through the richness of the whipped cream. And I can't forget about that buttery nut-laced crust on the bottom that added just the right textural contrast to the above layers.
Creamy Chocolate Dessert