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Layered Chocolate Lush with Pecan Crust

Looking for the next potluck crowd pleaser? Never worry about bringing home leftovers again with a chocolate lush with pecan crust that’s truly a pleasure to make and to eat. A lightly crispy crust topped with a blend of puddings and whipped cream. How can you go wrong? 

Make Ahead | Freezer Friendly

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Recipe updated 5/2021

Who needs to feed a lot of people an easy and delicious dessert? You do? Greaaaat.

Here it is.

Layered chocolate lush is one dessert everyone will eat and you can make several days or even a week in advance and freeze it. Serve it partially thawed for a frozen dessert feeling or thaw it all the way overnight in the fridge and enjoy the soft layers.

This recipe makes a 9×13 pan (filled to the top) so feel free to cut it in half and make an 8×8 if you want fewer servings.

How to make chocolate lush healthier

Let’s be honest–if you’re making chocolate lush you probably aren’t worried about it being healthy. But you know me and my hatred for processed food–ahem–that’s you Cool Whip. I know this recipe is delicious and I know we can do better than inflammatory vegetable oil masquerading as a dairy product.

Here are a few swaps you can make if you’d like your lush to be more on the wholesome side:

  • Make your whipped cream from scratch. Use 2 cups of heavy whipping cream and beat it with a bit of powdered sugar and some vanilla until stiff peaks form. If you use real whipped cream in your lush, serve this the same day you make it. Otherwise the cream will start to lose its air and will fall. You can also make stabilized whipped cream with some gelatin.
  • If you feel up to it, make your own puddings. You’d need a chocolate one like this and a vanilla one. You can adjust the sugar content in these or use alternative sweeteners if you’d like to.
  • The crust is made from a shortbread mixture of butter and flour. You could swap half the flour for whole wheat and no one would notice.
  • Whatever you do, avoid buying low fat cream cheese. The fat is replaced with stabilizers and extra junk. You won’t be eating this whole pan yourself, so just get ingredients like they were meant to be eaten.

How to make chocolate lush ahead and freeze it

This dessert is very much a party food for us. And on the day of the party I have no time for fussing with dessert. That’s why it’s great to make this ahead. Layer and wrap your lush in plastic wrap and foil so it’s tightly covered. Freeze for up to a month but I’d recommend no longer than a week or two for best flavor. Dairy products can absorb flavors from your freezer like a sponge. Gross.

To thaw, you can set it out on the counter for a couple of hours so that it’s still semi-frozen and serve it more like an ice cream dessert or thaw overnight in the fridge for the proper soft layers.

How to make chocolate lush step by step

Step 1: Assemble crust ingredients and bake until just golden on the edges. It will still seem soft in the center. Cool completely so your other layers don’t melt on it.

pecan shortbread crust pressed into a 9x13 pan to bake

Step 2: Spread on the cream cheese mixture. If yours is too thick and tries to pull up your crust, add a tablespoon or two of milk so it’s more spreadable.

cream cheese layer being spread over cooled pecan crust

Step 3: Layer on the puddings when they are soft, and not fully set.

9x13 pan of chocolate lush with chocolate pudding being spread on over the cream cheese layer

Step 4: Add the whipped cream to the top. Add a few pecans and some chocolate chips so people know your dish is chocolate! Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight if possible for everything to set.

9x13 pan of finished chocolate lush with pecans and chocolate chips on top

Need more layered desserts?

a square of chocolate lush on a plate

Layered Chocolate Lush with Pecan Crust

Chocolate lush is a layered, freezer-friendly dose of crowd pleasing goodness.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 496kcal
Author: Rachel Ballard

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter melted
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup pecans chopped
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 13 ounces cool whip topping thawed or make homemade whipped cream
  • 1, 3 3/4 ounce box vanilla instant pudding
  • 1, 3 3/4 ounce box chocolate instant pudding
  • 3 cups milk

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375. 
  • In a bowl, mix the butter, flour and nuts. Spread into the bottom of an engrossed 9×13 pan. Bake until lightly golden (about 15 minutes) and allow to cool completely.
  • In another large bowl mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1 1/2 cups of the Cool Whip. Spread evenly over the cooled crust. 
  • Next combined the puddings and milk and beat by hand or with a mixer for 2 minutes. Spread over the cream cheese layer. 
  • Top with remaining Cool Whip and spread evenly. Sprinkle with pecans and chocolate chips if you choose. 
  • Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight or you can freeze it and  thaw it in the fridge before serving. 

Notes

Remember to refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. 

Nutrition

Calories: 496kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 442mg | Potassium: 212mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 733IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 1mg

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