The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford

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The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford

The first time that my husband spent Thanksgiving with my family we were all gathered around the dessert table after dinner and my Aunt pulled out a pan of a layered pudding dessert. My husband exclaimed, “The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford! This was my favorite growing up!” We all started laughing because we only knew it as the layered pudding dessert. Not to mention that it was especially funny coming from my husband. A quick search on Google, however, revealed that my husband wasn’t nuts. There is actually a dessert with this name.

So here it is. The recipe that my husband grew up on. This rich, creamy and chocolaty dessert definitely isn’t for the weak. A little bit of the buttery cookie crust topped with vanilla-chocolate pudding and whipped cream goes a long way. The dessert is a crowd-pleaser and it’s simple to make, so it’s great for parties. The original recipe calls for frozen whipped topping but I couldn’t resist using homemade whipped cream.

4.7 from 51 reviews
The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24-32
This rich, creamy and chocolaty dessert definitely isn't for the weak. A little bit of the buttery cookie crust topped with vanilla-chocolate pudding and whipped cream goes a long way.
Bottom Layer
  • 1 cup unsifted flour
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
Middle Layer
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4½ ounces homemade whipped cream
Top Layer
  • 1 large package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 large package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 3 cups cold milk
Garnish layer
  • Roughly 4½ ounces homemade whipped cream
  • Chocolate shavings
Bottom Layer
  1. Mix together the flour, butter and chopped nuts until the dough is crumble-like.
  2. Press the mixture into a greased 9x13-inch pan.
  3. Bake the cookie crust at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden.
  4. Let the cookie crust cool.
Middle Layer
  1. Beat the sugar into the cream cheese until it is smooth.
  2. Fold in the whipped cream.
  3. Spread the mixture over the cooled crust.
Top Layer
  1. Beat the milk into the pudding mixes until the mixture is smooth and thickened.
  2. Spread the pudding over the middle layer.
Garnish Layer
  1. Spread whipped cream over the top.
  2. Sprinkle the the dessert with grated chocolate candy bar, such as Baker's Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Shavings.
  3. Cover the layered dessert and refrigerate it until you are ready to serve it.

The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford

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156 Responses to “The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford”

  1. Dawn says:

    Help! I’m making this today and realized one of my pudding mixes is a cook and serve! Can I just use one, should I adjust the milk then….. Ugh, it’s Christmas and the store is closed!

  2. Joan says:

    I decrease the milk and add a little amaretto to the vanilla and kaluha to the chocolate puddings. Grate semi sweet chocolate over the top.

  3. Amber says:

    Can u make this a couple days on advance?

  4. Sylvia P. says:

    I was just wondering, when you say “homemade whipped cream,” what exactly do you mean by that?

  5. Peter says:

    Pretty good cake. May I suggest some refinements to make this really decadent:
    Bottom Layer: No need to bake it. Use a layer of ladyfingers instead. Not the chocolate covered ones, just plain. Dip them briefly in milk with a shot of Grand Marnier, Drambui or Rum in the milk.
    Middle Layer: same as recipe above Add one cup of finely ground walnuts or hazelnuts to the mixture. Preferably from a health food store, I haven’t had any nuts from a grocery store which weren’t slightly rancid yet. Big taste difference!
    Next layer: Another layer with ladyfingers, as the bottom layer.
    Top Layer: same as recipe above, but use REAL pudding, like Dr. Oetker pudding. This may be hard to find, but if you plan a bit ahead, it is well worth it.
    Garnish: same as recipe, you may want to add a dusting of icing sugar on top of the chocolate. Icing sugar is easily made by grinding up regular sugar.
    Don’t use canned whip cream, make it yourself.
    Enjoy, and don’t count the calories, you are not eating this every day!

  6. Miki says:

    I use pistachio pudding …we call it mr. Wonderful

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