Lemon Lush

Jul 1st

Lemon Lush is a favorite dessert in my family. Every 4th of July this is served, and devoured, without fail. If you read the ingredients you’ll see packaged lemon pudding mix – you can trust that if I’m sharing a recipe with a pre-packaged mix the results had better be fantastic.

It involves a shortbread crust and then a layer of cream cheese frosting, for lack of a better explanation. On top of that is creamy, cool lemon pudding and it’s all tucked under some ethereally light whipped cream. A 9×12 pan of this would easily serve 16 people, so it’s great for holidays and picnics in the spring and summertime.

When it’s completed the plain white whipped cream top is less than exciting – top with blueberries and strawberries in a flag pattern for a holiday picnic or scatter toasted pecans if you have them on hand. They add a nice crunch and pecans go fabulously with lemon, as you’ll see if you ever make this lemon meringue ice cream pie with a pecan crust (this is ridiculously delicious, if you like to spend time in your kitchen).

You may have seen this dessert around the internet but most of those recipes call for Cool Whip instead of whipped cream. I can get on board with the packaged pudding because making my own lemon pudding as a part of another dessert is just not worth the time (if you ask me), but whipped cream is another story. Its first two ingredients are partially hydrogenated oil and high fructose corn syrup. Seriously? The real deal is just too easy to make. Bring this to parties – you’ll make lots of friends.

Lemon Lush- Serves 16

12 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 1/2 c. flour

5 tbsp. sugar, divided

1/2 tsp. salt

8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened

1 c. powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 packages instand lemon pudding

3 c. low fat milk

1 1/4 c. heavy cream

1/2 c. toasted chopped pecans or blueberries for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, 2 tbsp. sugar, and pinch salt. Cut butter into mixture until small crumbs form.

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3. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9×12 pan. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool completely.

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4. Meanwhile, whisk cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smoothly combined.

5. Spread mixture over cooled crust.

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6. In a large bowl, whisk pudding packets with milk. Let set for five minutes.

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7. While pudding sets, make whipped cream. Pour heavy cream and remaining 3 tbsp. sugar into a medium bowl. Using either a stand mixer or hand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken (creating wake where the beaters move).

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8. Spread half of the whipped cream mixture onto the cream cheese layer.

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9. Top with the pudding.

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10. Finish with remaining whipped cream.

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11. Top with toasted nuts or blueberries. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Can be made up to 48 hours ahead.

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