Robert Redford Dessert

Raise your hand if your are not familiar with this layered pudding dessert? It is one popular delicacy, let me tell you, which I can attest to since we ate it all the time growing up. My mother was quite the layered-pudding-dessert-connoisseur. And she’ll love me for saying that (hi, mom!).

I had kind of forgotten about this beauty of a treat until Lindsay a reader and fellow blogger emailed me pictures of a version she had made (called Sadie’s Dessert) and let me know she had used the homemade pudding recipes with stellar success. Apparently homemade pudding has a lovely, thick, creamy consistency which makes slicing this dessert quite dreamy compared to the boxed pudding that can remain a bit runny.

So I decided it was time to resurrect the good ol’ Robert Redford dessert for my family to enjoy. It goes by many a name but Robert Redford Dessert is how I know it even though I have no idea the why’s and wherefore’s of the name. I made a few modifications of my own – keeping the pudding strictly chocolate (instead of mixing in or alternating layers of vanilla pudding) and using sweetened whipped cream instead of cool whip. I’d say, judging by the family’s exclamations of joy, it went over just as well as if Robert Redford would have walked into our kitchen himself. Ok, actually, the dessert went over even better since my kids have no idea who the dickens Robert Redford is and would be much more impressed with a visit from the Kratt brothers (Wild Kratts on PBS anyone?) or R2D2.

Making the pudding ahead of time, as well as the other components, makes this dessert a breeze, and I’m telling you, it’s just a classically great dessert to have in your recipe base. The chocolate curls, while not necessary, make an otherwise down-home pudding dessert seem a bit more gourmet. That is until one of your children, who shall remain nameless in my family, use one or four of them as missiles to shoot at their brothers. Definitely not gourmet. Welcome to my world.

Robert Redford Dessert

One Year Ago: Creamy 5-Cup Fruit Salad
Two Years Ago: Asian Chicken Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette
Three Years Ago: Peanut Butter Crunch Snack Balls

Robert Redford Dessert {My Way}

Yield: Serves 12

Robert Redford Dessert {My Way}

Note: you'll notice from my pictures that the crust on the layered dessert is thicker than normal. That's because I like a lot of crust - so I double the crust ingredients below (having said that, my husband much prefers the thinner crust - so follow your instincts and do what you like - if you've never made it before, I'd suggest just using the normal amounts below and not doubling to see how you like it that way) and bake the crust for about 12 minutes. Also, make note that if you are making pudding from scratch, that step can, and should, be done ahead of time - even up to 2 days ahead - so the pudding has time to cool completely. If homemade pudding isn't your thing, you can substitute 2 small packages of instant pudding mixed with 4 cups of milk.

Ingredients

    Crust:
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped or blended chopped pecans or walnuts
  • Cream Cheese Layer:
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream + 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Pudding Layer:
  • 4 cups homemade chocolate pudding
  • Extra:
  • Reserved whipped cream and chocolate curls for garnish

Directions

  1. For the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the flour in a medium bowl and cut in the butter with a pastry blender or fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chopped nuts. Press the crust into a 9X13-inch aluminum or glass pan and bake for 8-10 minutes until set. Remove the pan to a wire rack and let it cool completely before proceeding.
  2. For the cream cheese layer, in a medium bowl, combine the heavy whipping cream and 1/4 cup powdered sugar and whip at high speed until stiff peaks form. In another large bowl, whip together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth and creamy. Fold in about 3/4 of the sweetened whipped cream and mix until blended, taking care to mix gently so as not to deflate the whipped cream. Set aside both the cream cheese mixture and the remaining sweetened whipped cream.
  3. To assemble, spread the whipped cream cheese mixture over the cooled crust. Top the cream cheese layer with the chocolate pudding, spreading all the way to the edges of the pan. Top with the remaining sweetened whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut into slices and top with chocolate curls or shaved chocolate, if desired.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/robert-redford-dessert-my-way/
Recipe Source: inspired by the recipe my mom made all the while growing up combined with Sadie’s Dessert, sent to me by Lindsay (thanks!)

95 Responses to Robert Redford Dessert {My Way}

  1. Yum…definitely one of my all-time favorite recipes, too. And I have only had it with the boxed pudding and cool whip. I can only imagine how decadent it tastes with homemade. I am definitely a crust doubler, too! Especially since this shortbread crust is soooo good and it a key to this dessert!

  2. Kim in MD says:

    Umm…my hand is raised! Where has this dessert been all of my life? I love that you re-mixed this recipe with home-made components, Mel! I am curious to know why this dessert is named after Robert Redford! :-)

  3. Celia says:

    Oh my Gosh! This dessert has been a family favorite for years. When my dad was still alive he loved it and now my hubby and eldest son love it too. I am thrilled that your recipe is less out of a container and can not wait to make it!!! Seriously, I don’t think you can tell how excited I am. I too am curious about the name. We’ve always just called it Chocolate Torte.

  4. Amy says:

    The next best thing to Robert Redford is what we call it. I’m not a cake fan so this is what I would request for my birthday growing up. I loooove this desert!

  5. Becky says:

    I’ve always made this with either boxed pistachio pudding, which is amazing… or cooked and cooled lemon pudding. When I make it for parties or BBQ’s, it never fails — I take it out of the fridge to serve and there’s already portions carved out from sneaky guests who go at it with a spoon while it’s waiting to be put out. LOL I have yet to remove the foil with a flourish, to display an untouched dessert. ha ha

  6. Shauna VW says:

    I had totally forgotten about this dessert too! Thanks for the bring back! My son would fall over dead if one of the Kratt brothers walked in our door. We LIVE for 5 pm around here (which is when it airs in our area). It even taught him how to tell time, so he could watch the clock and not miss a minute of it!

  7. Laurie G says:

    I first had it in the ’70s and it was called “Better than Robert Redford Dessert”. Robert Redford was quite handsome back then (and still is) and I think the thought was that there were few things more appealing than him. I’ve also heard this called “Better than S@X Dessert” but we won’t go there!

  8. Krysta says:

    Yes, we grew up with this, too. We liked it because we could still make it when we were on “diets” with sugar free pudding, etc. Of course, your version is most definitely WAY BETTER than our diet versions :) I am no food historian, but I think it was originally called “Better than Robert Redford” when all the “Better Than” desserts were popular (70′s?), and he was the heartthrob of the day. I’ll be honest, I have seen pretty much all his movies (my sister and I had a Robert Redford movie marathon when I was like 20, with the goal to see all of his movies. Don’t ask why, we are weird.) And I will agree that he was pretty crush-worthy back in the day. And your dessert looks pretty crush-worthy, too!

  9. Carly says:

    Looks Yummy! My son loves Wild Kratts too, he also watches the clock and wants to know if its 3:30 yet so he can watch it. Heaven forbid if we are not home at 3:30 or it is the weekend and it is not on.

  10. Shannon says:

    So funny! This dish would always show up at family functions when I was growing up…and still does. We call it “Chocolate Delight”. You did a wonderful job cutting a square out. We start out cutting it, but then someone gets aggravated and then just takes a serving spoon to it.

  11. Julie says:

    We called it Robert Redford Come Again because it’s so good that if Robert Redford showed up at your door while you were eating it, you would tell him to come again so you could finish eating it :-) Love it!

  12. Alicia says:

    I grew up eating this, but we call it Mississippi Mud Pie. Always one of my favorites made by my grandmother! I think it’s time to make it!

  13. I’ve never had it, but it looks like it would be a favorite with my kids! I’ll have to make it and see what they think.

  14. Marcia says:

    This really reminds me of my Mom! She made pudding desserts all the time when I was growing up. I can’t wait to try it without the box mixes!

  15. Alana says:

    We’re doing a no sugar January – all eight of us! – and it’s killing me that I can’t make this!!

  16. wow, I’ve never heard of this but the pictures look so good! Can’t wait to try it-I’m a big fan of “church desserts” as my family calls them which are largely based off of pudding :)

  17. Linda says:

    I found this recipe on a Cool Whip container around 1975. It was called Triple Tread and became one of my families’ favorite desserts. We loved it so much that we created several new versions. We kept the crunchy shortbread base and the cream cheese layer, but switched out the chocolate layer. One of our favorites is a mixture of Wild Strawberry Jello and fresh strawberries on top of the cream cheese layer. It’s better than strawberry shortcake!

  18. Susan says:

    It was Tom Selleck for us….Next Best Thing to Tom Selleck. Robert Redford is far superior I would imagine, although the same recipe!! Have you had Better Than Sex?

  19. Gail says:

    Love this dessert. We know it as Sex in a Pan!

  20. This looks really good! I don’t think I’ve ever had a layered pudding dessert, but I’m with you; the crust is where it’s at.

  21. Sandi says:

    This is Robert Redford dessert?? Never heard that name! My mom always called it Four Layer Dessert, and my sister’s in laws call it Better Than Sex, BUT I’ll have you know that I know of a dessert that’s a better Better Than Sex dessert.
    My point is, thanks for sharing this recipe!

  22. Tina B says:

    We called it Triple Layer Dessert (even though I always counted four layers.) Still a family favorite.

  23. Bec says:

    Love your blog!!! It is my favorite!
    Thanks for your work; you sharing your gifts makes a difference in my family. Food matters.
    And I loved the Kratt Brothers reference – they would be the guest of choice for my boys too!

  24. Monette says:

    This is my family’s fav. and we call it “Chocolate Heaven”!

  25. Renay says:

    I’ve been making this dessert for years and its definitely a family favorite. It was the first recipe I ever asked somebody for, I think I was 9. My best friend’s mom made it and I fell in love. I also found it some years later in my Lion House Recipes book with the catchy name of Chocolate Pudding Dessert. My recipe calls for less milk in the pudding so I have never have a problem with it being runny. For those who want to use the box, use 3 cups of milk not 4, and your pudding won’t run. Actually the proportions on the Lion House recipe are a little different from yours (with more crust ingredients!) BTW, the Lion House Rice Pudding recipe is divine!

  26. Rachael says:

    My mom calls it barbershop dessert . . . because of the four layers. :)

  27. Bartni says:

    YUMMY! I love Robert Redford he still is hot to this DAY! Cant wait to try this. I remember having it when I was younger! I have a BETTER than SEX cake that is to DIE for!

  28. Megan says:

    We call this Yum-Yum Pudding at my house and always have it for Breakfast on Thanksgiving Day! Mmm.

  29. Kelsey says:

    We make this with coconut cream pudding and toasted coconut on top! Yummy!

  30. Marilee says:

    In my circles it is Better than Sex. I’ve made it with lemon, but usually chocolate, and it’s always a hit. I’ve never cared for it, and now I know why. I make my own pudding and don’t like the instant. Thanks, I’ve never considered premaking my own pudding or yours.

  31. Nicole says:

    looks wonderful! Your homemade chocolate pudding has changed my life. I’ve been meaning to made a chocolate cream pie with it for awhile. I use dark or bittersweet chocolate and a bit of coconut extract in it, and sometimes make it with coconut milk if there are dairy allergies. So this dessert would be right up my alley. My 3 boys love Wild Kratts too. They’re favorite show, ages 4, 8 and 10. :) I’d be interested to know the origins of the name of the dessert, since my Mom would love it for that name alone :)

  32. Cammee says:

    I’m laughing at all the different names this dessert has. I’ve never even heard of Robert Redford dessert. Maybe because when I was little I thought he was gross and couldn’t see what the big deal was. I was much more enthralled with Kirk Cameron and Rob Lowe. Now when I watch old Redford movies I think I was high on Aqua Net back then! Anyway, we call it Mississippi Mud and it’s always a hit.

  33. Stephanie says:

    My grandma makes a version of this called lemon crunch– with lemon pudding and topped with chopped pecans. It can be found at every single family gathering. Without fail. You’ve inspired me to drop the boxed pudding and cool whip in favor of an experiment with lemon curd and real whipped cream. Yum…

  34. Susan says:

    Boy was I wrong before! Mine is also called pudding dessert (or close). Both Next Best Thing to Tom Selleck and Better Than Sex are cakes in my recipe box. Duh…

  35. Jen says:

    I made this for Christmas dessert using your chocolate and whip cream/creme freche layer from your bittersweet chocolate pudding pie. It was DELICIOUS! I’ll have to try it this way as well.
    I also made your andes mint cupcakes for a ward party. The reaction was ridiculous. They were flying off of my platter the second I walked in the room (it wasn’t even dessert time). It was the first dessert gone, and I heard people were fighting over them (in a good way :-). Thanks for making me a star baker.

  36. Michelle says:

    This is so great with homemade pudding and whipped cream rather than boxed pudding and Cool Whip (both of which I hate). I made it for a Sunday dinner with my in-laws, even though my husband was insistent that his dad didn’t like chocolate and wouldn’t be happy. I said, “Well, it’s not his birthday, so I really don’t care.”
    I tried really hard not to be smug to my husband when his dad practically licked his plate clean and went back for a second piece.
    Also, I sometimes top it with some of those Heath bar chips. You know…if I’m feeling fancy.

  37. Jenn says:

    Are you reading my mind? I was thinking about this dessert yesterday!

  38. Sarah says:

    Yum! My mom’s friend made something similar to this when we were kids and we all loved it and always called it the “Sharon Redfern dessert” (since that was her name). Redfern – Redford, strangely similar. Ha! I’ll have to try it – I remember it being sooo delicious, especially that crust!

  39. Deb says:

    Oh my goodness, your world is totally my world too – right down to the Kratt’s , the R2D2 and anything in reach being used as a missle against the brothers (3 boys – 4, 6 and about as close as you can get to 9 without actually being it ;))! This looks delicious, definitely going on the must make list!

  40. Baker4Boys says:

    Loved this dessert growing up – and still do. (My mom typically makes it when we all come home. =) ) I’ve never heard it called “Robert Redford Dessert,” but may have to start calling it that – as I am a Robert Redford fan – as much as I’m a fan of this pudding dessert. =)

    Also – we LOVE the Wild Kratts! It’s not uncommon to hear one of my boys say, “It’s time for another Wild Kratts Creature Quiz!” Then they “quiz” each other and discuss who’s going to wear which Creature Power Suit. =) Anyway…

  41. Sherri says:

    This dessert has been a family favorite of ours for as long as I can remember. It’s been through a few names — Karen’s Delight (the name of the gal who gave my mom the recipe) to Ginger’s Delight (my mom’s name) to Dingman’s Delight (my maiden name — this metamorphosis came when my sister and I all got married and were making the dessert ourselves). Anyway, probably a dumb question but … won’t using real whipping cream make it kind of runny the next day (if you happen to have leftovers)??

  42. Brooke says:

    Very funny comments…my mom always made this with pistachio pudding and I thought she was weird, but now I see how common it apparently is.

  43. Deborah says:

    Where has this dessert been all of my life?? I know I’d love this!

  44. linda says:

    This looks fabulous! Thank you for going the extra mile and making it all from scratch-I so appreciate that

  45. Mel says:

    Sherri – I love all the names this dessert has been through in your family! We have had leftovers of this but it doesn’t seem to get runny. The whipped cream/cream cheese layer is stabilized by the cream cheese and the very thin top layer of sweetened whipped cream seems to hold up well for a day or two. One of the keys is to make sure the cream is whipped to stiff peaks. Maybe we’ve just been lucky but the cream hasn’t seemed to get weepy upon sitting for a day in the refrigerator. Having said that, we usually don’t have leftovers of this, either. :)

  46. Stefani Layton says:

    Yay! We loved pudding desserts at our house and we love the wild kratts too. My kids are watching as we speak.

  47. Lindsay G says:

    Mel, I’m glad you tried it with your pudding recipe…isn’t it THE BEST!?!?! I think I need to make this again real soon, like today! :)

  48. Nancy says:

    My favorite version is with pistachio pudding and I love to make it in the spring. Usually for Easter.

  49. Lynda says:

    My recipe for this is just called ’4 layer dessert’. How unexciting is that. I’m glad to see you’ve made this a true homemade dessert-I’ve been going to tackle that job, but now I can just follow your recipe! Great job, Mel.

  50. jodi rose says:

    My mouth is watering looking at this! I haven’t had it for about 20 years. I will try it this weekend, even though I am on a diet :)

  51. Natalie says:

    Ooo, excited to try. And yes, we know the Kratt brothers, in fact two of my boys are watching it RIGHT NOW! Hah! Good to know other mothers are singing ” Wild, Wild Wild Kratts!” in their head all day too!

  52. Amy says:

    My sister in-law introduced me to this type of yumminess. It is known in her family as Girdle Buster. lol!

  53. Kara says:

    I LOVE this desert! We have it multiple times during the year. My FAVORITE though is made with butterscotch pudding! BEST EVER! Of course we just call it Chocolate Dessert lol

  54. Mrs. Jen B says:

    I had never heard of this before, but I feel like we need to become better acquainted for sure. And I agree, boxed pudding doesn’t hold a candle to the real thing!

  55. EBPitcher says:

    This is good stuff! But we call it Chocolate Yummy, because it is really yummy!

  56. Catherine says:

    Mel, my boys and your boys would be best friends if we lived close! This dessert looks amazing, growing up we had something similar called “Rocky Mountain Mudslide.” Looks like it goes by many different names!

  57. Devona says:

    We called it “Grandma’s Pudding Cake” when we begged her to make it! Yum! Brought back some great memories. I’m going to make it for my great nephew this weekend.

  58. Heather says:

    I was introduced to this with hazelnut crust it was ok but I had the thought that pecans would be yummiest, and look here you go. Anyway that really wasn’t the point, the point was you make too many delicious things on here my fear in life is I won’t have time to make them all. My mother-in-law and I are hooked thanks! I am about to head over and comment on the enchelada soup yummy

  59. Stephanie B says:

    I was introduced to this dessert by my husband’s family. They call it Love Pie. Also, I think both my boys and my husbands would be way more excited if R2D2 came in the door rather than Robert Redford. It’s been a while since I’ve made this, and I’ve been meaning to try your homemade pudding recipes too, so now I have an excuse to do both!

  60. kristen says:

    this is my family’s all time favorite dessert! my mom pretty much makes it for every holiday or family gathering. only to us it’s always been Bavarian Dessert… funny how many different names one delicious dish can have!

  61. Libby P. says:

    Yah, I’m so happy to find that other people call this dessert Robert Redford as well! I thought is was just my family. Thought my mom must have had a crush on him! I love this tuff!

  62. Chrystal Newton says:

    Mel,
    I usually use the boxed pudding, but I only add 1 and 1/2 cups of milk per box of pudding. This allows for a thicker pudding and still taste fine. I personally like to add a little less powdered sugarto the cream cheese mixture. I think it gives it a slightly more cheesecake-like taste. My families favorite version of this uses pecans in the crust and uses butterscotch pudding. It tastes like butter pecan and is so delicious. BTW- I have heard it called either Amish Dessert or Pecan Delight. I know some of you may be skeptical, but you really should try this made with pistachio pudding. If you don’t have pistachio nuts for the crust use finely chopped almonds. Thanks and GOD Bless All!!

  63. Chrystal Newton says:

    BTW- This is also very good using blueberry pie filling in place of the pudding layer. I have actually made it with cherry pie filling and also with fresh sliced strawberries and strawberry glaze.

  64. juliann says:

    One of my all time favorite desserts is a pre-bought pie crust, with cooked chocolate pudding and redi-whip on top. Brings me back to being 10 and learning how to make the pie so I could just eat it myself…..such sophisticated tastes!
    Well, this is the grown up version and it looks awesome, I am going to add this to my make in 2012 list.

  65. Sara Hansen says:

    Yummy. I love making your homemade puddings and trying different things with them. Lindsay is also my best friend so we are constantly making things from your blog and talking about what we make. One of my favorite new things to try from your blog was to take your old fashioned coconut cream pie recipe and make mini pies in dessert cups with a little graham cracker crust pressed into the bottom of each. There is just something about individual desserts that always makes people go wow. Thanks for all your fun ideas!

  66. Diana says:

    I grew up knowing this as “4-layer Delight”..we have made it many ways, one of my very fave is with lemon Pudding in the Summer..SO refreshing. I also love it with Pistachio..And the Chocolate of course. The possibilities are endless with this one!

  67. Liz says:

    My hubby would LOVE this amazing dessert! He does not like instant pudding, but homemade is another story! I’m copying to try!!!!

    PS…thanks for your sweet comment.

  68. grace says:

    i never really swooned over robert redford (i guess i just don’t go for blondes, even if they’re rugged and manly), and i’ve also never seen this dessert before. it’s true. i’m glad you’ve introduced me to it, as i see great potential for different variations!

  69. Talk about taking me back about a hundred years (OK, maybe only 25!) but this dessert was a standard back when my kids where young…and yes, with boxed pudding. What a fabulous revision; maybe I haven’t made it for so long since it’s been years since I’ve been interested in anything from a box or whipped cream that really isn’t. :)

    I’ve never heard it called or attributed to Robert Redford but I’m OK with that. I fell madly in love with him in the Butch Cassidy days and I’ve been a forever fan. Great job!

  70. Lee-Anne says:

    Oh my gosh! I haven’t had this since I was a kid! I totally forgot about it! My Mom used to make it when family/company came over and the ladies would always *whisper* the name…

    SEX IN A PAN.

    I HAVE to make this for my Mom’s birthday next weekend now :)

  71. Jenn says:

    4 layer pie! that’s what my family calls this yummalicious recipe!

    I must make this soon, very very soon.

    Maybe even on Tuesday!

  72. Anissa says:

    I read through all the comments and didn’t find the name we had for this dessert growing up.

    Nutty Torte

    It”s quite interesting to read all the different names and stories behind this. Who’d have thought you’d get so much response from one little innocent looking recipe! :) I have a version with the premade ingredients, but I am now excited to try it with all the homemade stuff.

  73. Alyssa B says:

    I made the boxed version once with a layer of melted chocolate on top of the crust and coconut pudding. It was awesome.

  74. Elaine says:

    We knew it as chocolate dream dessert. My favorite version is using homemade lemon pudding instead of chocolate – we call it “Lemon Lush”

  75. Jordan says:

    I made this over the weekend and it was a huge hit. I did slack a little and make boxed pudding, but I did double the crust! Great idea! Thanks for the great recipe!

  76. Em says:

    My grandma used to make this and I LOVED it! I’ve never tried it with homemade pudding. I will definitely be trying this version soon!

  77. SallyV says:

    I first had this recipe made with lemon pudding and it’s been a favorite of mine for at least 25 years. I’ve done the chocolate, which is very good, but for a summer dessert, the lemon is exceptionaly refreshing. I saw someone mentioned coconut pudding…I’ll have to give that a try next time and make it with toasted coconut. Thanks for sharing!

  78. Nikie says:

    Mel,

    You’re giving me a total “growing up in Utah” food flashback this week with this dessert and Orange Julius! If you’ll just post something with jello and pistachio pudding and a great funeral potato recipe, my life will be complete! I loved this dessert and had forgotten about it. It will be on the menu for Sunday.

  79. Alisha says:

    All of the names people have for this dessert is quite entertaining! I think my mom calls is Sunday Pie. She loves this & I will make this for her (your way) on my next trip home. Thanks!

  80. Laura says:

    At my house it was always called “Icebox Pie” and was either lemon, chocolate or butterscotch (my Gran’s favorite). I love seeing all the different names this yummy little dessert has!

  81. ChristyB says:

    This dessert has been in my family for almost 20 years. We call it “Sex in a Pan”. Southern Living magazine printed it years ago and called it “Chocolate Quad”. Wonder who really came up with it?? How fun! I’ve made it with pumpkin pudding (a seasonal item) and sprinkled cinnamon on top. It’s SO easy to experiment with the flavors by changing the nuts and pudding used; walnuts and banana pudding, macadamia and butterscotch, etc.

  82. Krystal says:

    I’d often see this dessert at our after church pot-luck lunches. We called it “Mennonite Delight!”

  83. The first time I ever had this, it was made with lemon pudding and called “Lemon Lush.” A fellow twin mom had brought it to our monthly twins club meeting. We were elbowing each other out of the way to get at it. I, of course, got the recipe–and, chocoholic that I am, substituted chocolate pudding for the lemon. It was wonderful with lemon and absolutely fabulous with chocolate–you can never go wrong with chocolate! Haven’t made it yet this summer…putting it on the list!

  84. rcdebary says:

    Can this be made gluten free?

  85. Mel says:

    redebary – I’m not familiar with gluten-free substitutions but if you can find a sub for the flour in the crust, then, sure, it could be gluten-free.

  86. JJ says:

    HAHA. My mom made this all the time when we were younger. She always called it “sex in a pan” but it was only around kids they called it “Robert Redford”. That analogy still haunts me :) Thanks for posting this and bringing back memories!!

  87. Nicole says:

    Hi there! I just have to comment here. I made this last night from one of my boards on Pinterest, and I have to say I was a little disappointed (especially since I’ve heard this dessert is also called “Better than S@x Dessert”!) Now, I used boxed pudding, which was the whole reason I chose this recipe, cuz I needed to use up the box of pudding. But the pudding tasted fine. It was the crust and the cream mixture I had a problem with. Usually when you make whipped cream, there’s vanilla in it. This recipe called for no vanilla, and I thought it needed more powdered sugar. I even added vanilla and it still just tasted like lightly sweetened cream. I thought the crust needed a little white sugar also. The whole dessert tasted really bland. I cook quite alot, and I’m not saying I know EVERYTHING, but when my kids are scraping off homemade whipped cream to get to the pudding….there’s a problem! I’m really not trying to be mean here. Just…if you plan on making this, add about a teaspoon of vanilla to the cream, and about 40%-50% more powdered sugar, and maybe a tablespoon of white sugar to the crust. Just a suggestion. =) Thanks for letting me vent…I have never commented on a recipe before! LOL!

  88. MeriLee says:

    @Nicole – You say in your comment that even after you added vanilla that it tasted like lightly sweetened whipped cream – but that’s exactly what it is supposed to taste like. It drives me crazy when people leave comments that they didn’t like a recipe when they changed a major component of it. In your case, you used boxed pudding mixes which would absolutely ruin the overall play of flavors in this dessert. I have made this and let me tell you that because of the homemade pudding’s complexity in flavor and sweetness, it pairs wonderfully with the crust (although I prefer a single crust and not the doubled ingredients like in the recipe) and lightly sweetened whipped cream. The fact that you’ve never commented on a recipe before and you come out to comment on this one negatively when you changed such a huge part of it – well, it’s maddening. The problem with mainstream America is that they prefer processed, overly sweet boxed products (like your pudding mixes) – as evidenced by your children digging for the fake pudding. Because of that, you made a disaster of a delicious, perfect pudding dessert. I’d encourage you to try this recipe as written before commenting that it didn’t work for you. Thanks for letting ME vent.

  89. Monica says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I made this with Pumpkin Spice pudding mix and sprinkled cinnamon and nutmeg on top. The kids loved it!

  90. Jennifer G. says:

    My mom made this version growing up from a recipe in a magazine ad. It was originally called “Striped Delight” but in our house it was always called the Missionary Dessert. My mom always made it when we had the missionaries over for dinner because the 9 x 13 pan served a lot of people and most everyone likes it. Always chocolate because the other flavors were just not as awesome. I’ve toyed with making the ingredients homemade over the years (especially using real whipped cream and have even made it in a round springform pan so I could cut it into wedges and be “fancier” for when one child wanted it for his birthday. Made it for same child the night before he left on his mission and the first thing he said in his Christmas phone call was his request for it the day he gets home from his mission. I will try your version for him when he gets home. Truly the “missionary dessert” in my family.

  91. Letitia Brisson says:

    Looks devine. My kids LOVE Kratts!!

  92. Nicole H. says:

    It doesn’t look like you need any more comments on this one, ha ha, but I like to report back when I’ve made something. So, first of all, loved the pudding recipe. I like to throw in a small handful of chocolate chips at the end of cooking it, so they start to melt just a little and then I come across them at random when I’m eating the pudding. Fun little surprise in the middle of a creamy delicious treat. So, then we went ahead and made the robert redford recipe. We doubled the crust, but made it half wheat. I’m thinking I would go all white flour next time. Also, hubby wanted to add some salt to the crust. Wouldn’t do that again either, although he still liked the crust. I usually enjoy crust, so next time I’ll stick to the recipe :) Thanks, it is still very delicious and was fun to make.

  93. jenna says:

    Howdy – got here via a search for pudding from scratch.
    Re: the name “Better-Than-Robert-Redford-Dessert”

    I heard about the origin, but I know the middle part of this story from my own experience.
    A few decades ago, Mr. Redford revealed that his favorite dessert was “A Lemon Dream” (a.k.a., “Lemon Layers”), which is very similar to your recipe. It was 4 layers: 1. nut crust – same; 2. cream cheese mousse – c.c. + Cool Whip; 3. pudding – 2 pkgs of lemon flavored instant pudding (prepared); 4 whipped topping – Cool Whip.

    Being associated with a very popular celebrity and comprised of mostly convenience foods, the recipe became something of a sensation, especially among the kitchen-impaired like college students and some homemakers. The name apparently evolved as follows:
    “Lemon Dream: You Know, It’s Robert Redford’s Favorite Dessert” > “Lemon Dream: That Robert Redford Dessert” > “The Robert Redford Dessert”.

    Lemon is a wonderful thing, but the chocoholics, as chocoholics do, thought, this would be better with chocolate. So, they swapped the 2 boxes of lemon pudding with a box of vanilla flavor and a box of chocolate flavor. And the result was, “Better Than Robert-Redford-Dessert Dessert” which, of course, became shortened to “Better-Than-Robert-Redford”. (Aside: I’ve never seen it executed, but I always thought,”If you’re so into chocolate, why not 1 pkg milk chocolate pudding and 1 pkg chocolate fudge pudding?”)

    Then, the “more-is-more” crowd got in on it and thought, a nut crust is nice but how about more nuts on top? Then nuts on top is nice, but how about candied nuts? Also, nuts are nice, but how about more chocolate? and added chocolate curls. Then, chocolate curls and candied nuts are nice, but how about chopped candy bars?

    When I was in college, I saw versions with Snickers, ROLOS, PNB Cups, Heath Bars; even Mounds and Junior Mints.

    Anyway, I’ve only once made any version of this because I truly dislike instant pudding’s synthetic taste and (to me) unpleasant texture. (Pudding in a can was on a crazy low sale price but I hesitated, thinking “Will I really eat pudding from a can?” Then I remembered BTRR, and it was actually pretty excellent with ready made pudding. Super silky, thought hard to slice prettily.)

    Anyway, hope you enjoy the story of the name.

    Thanks for the post; it brought back fun memories of bygone days, friends and food choices. And I really do need a good “from scratch” pudding recipe.

  94. Sandi B says:

    You do not have to cool the pudding (if you make homemade) just cool after poured onto crust and then put whipped cream on top. It lays much better and doesn’t separate. I’m 75 and my mother used to make this for me when I was a little girl.

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