Friday, May 13, 2011

I Admit It: Eclair Dessert is My Favorite Dessert

I adore Eclair Dessert.  It started in my childhood at all the Mennonite potlucks, which may be why it's so rooted in my subconscious that I can't exactly explain why I love it (graham crackers, vanilla pudding, whipped cream, and chocolate icing - I guess that's understandable!). 

As an adult, I finally figured out what genre it is:  an icebox cake, which sounds so charmingly retro I love it even more.  An icebox (or refrigerator) cake is layers of cookies and cream or pudding, allowed to soak into something transcendent in the fridge.  I only know about two:  Eclair Dessert, the topic of this blog post, and Christian's chocolate cake.  Can you tell me about more?

Here you see my sister's birthday dinner and her requested desserts, Eclair Dessert and graham cracker pudding (I had Eclair Dessert on my birthday this year too).  Good times.  My camera was passed around so much that I think my whole family gets credit for the photos here.

I tried to find a recipe online to link to, but they are all different from what I make.  Rebecca told me that Cook's Country had a recent article on Eclair Dessert made with whole foods (not packaged or processed) and called it all the rage.  Well, it's been all the rage with me since I was a little girl.  Try it - you'll see why!

Chocolate Eclair Cake - - from Mennonite Country Style
You will need a whole box of graham crackers.

Grease the bottom of a 9x13 cake pan.
Line with whole graham crackers (and fill in around the edges with smaller pieces).

Beat together:
2 packages instant French vanilla pudding (3.5 oz. packages)
3 c. milk

Fold in:
1 tub whipped cream or 1 c. heavy cream, whipped

Spread half of pudding mixture over crackers.  Add another layer of crackers.  Spread the rest of the pudding.  Add a final layer of crackers.  Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.  Then make the frosting.

Beat together until smooth:
5 Tbs. cocoa
2 Tbs. oil
2 Tbs. corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbs. soft butter
1.5 c. powdered sugar
3 Tbs. milk or cream

Spread frosting on top of dessert. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours before serving.

Ben, just before he burst into tears over his dropped dessert.. . .


Stephanie said...

Yum! One of my favorites too.

Beth said...

Looks like something that would disappear instantly at a potluck!!!

Anonymous said...

That looks and sounds scrumptious. I can't wait to try it. Thanks

Elaine said...

That looks GOOD. My uncle makes one of these icebox cakes that he calls strawberry torte. I've never made it, but I think it's put together just like your eclair cake except that the graham crackers are crushed (I think the bottom layer is mixed with butter and pressed into a graham-cracker crust like for a cheesecake), sliced strawberries are added to the filling, and it's topped with more strawberries instead of chocolate. Transcendent is definitely how I would describe it!

Polly said...

I love it too. Here it is called Eclair Cake and I'd never heard of it or had it before meeting my husband, but his brothers adore it, so it shows up at lots of family gatherings. I love gooey desserts at picnics and potlucks. Maybe I should make one for our next church potluck. Maybe I should really up the ante and try to create a dairy-free, gluten-free version for Finn!

But really it's the dairy that is so luscious in this dessert. So maybe Finn will just have to do without. Oh yum!

You look so tall and stylish, Margo!

Unknown said...

I've always wanted to try an ice-box cake! This is going to be the one!!!

Tracy said...

Yum! I've never heard of this, but will have to give it a try soon!

Christian - Modobject@Home said...

Icebox cakes are perfect for summer, don't you think?! Simple and cool and delicious. I've often thought that a lemon-y one would be nice. Hmmm, I must get inventive!

Tracy said...

I made this over the weekend while my in-laws were here, and it was a huge success! My family told me I could make it whenever I please!

Lynn D. said...

I haven't tried it yet, but there's a key lime ritz cracker pie on Serious Eats that looks terrific. Lime juice and zest, sweetened condensed milk, whipping cream and ritz crackers.