If you make it, they will love.
There’s no way for me to properly portray to you how rich this monster is, but I will say that chocolate yummy is one of those things you can’t stop eating even if you’re completely full from tasting all the different goodies at the potluck, cause it’s so darn cool and smooth. Plus, this version packs a wallop of dark chocolate that tempers the typical over-sweetness of desserts with pudding, cream cheese, and whipped cream. Yeah, that’s what it’s made of. So what?
I was reintroduced to chocolate yummy at the first few potlucks I attended in Louisiana, but I swear I used to eat it as a child in Oklahoma…but we called it something else I can’t remember. Anyway, it was good then and it’s good now, but much, much better if made with a less processed-food touch. Think homemade, ultra-rich dark chocolate pudding with a dash of cinnamon and cayenne instead of Jello pudding from a box. Think lightly sweetened, real whipped cream instead of a synthetic whip of corn syrup and fat. See how much better that is already?
I based the pudding and whipped cream parts of my version on Donald Link’s in Real Cajun, which is full of outstanding recipes that you know you want to try. However, I couldn’t resist lightening some of the ingredients (half and half instead of cream in the pudding, and neufchatel instead of full-fat cream cheese), and the results were still knock-you-out rich. I mean RICH. Good grief! And if you’ve got some Trefoils or Walker’s shortbread cookies sitting around, this is a great way to use ’em up.
Prepare to dirty up some dishes! Prepare to lick some dee-licious beaters! Prepare for love.
- 2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs (pulverized in a food processor), or graham cracker crumbs
- 1 stick butter, melted and cooled
- chocolate pudding
- 1 cup half-and-half
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 ounce milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch cayenne pepper
- pinch of salt
- to complete
- 16 ounces neufchatel cheese, softened
- ½ cup confectioner's sugar, plus 2 Tablespoons
- 2 cups heavy cream
- chocolate shavings, for garnish
- Make the crust: combine cookie crumbs and melted butter in a 9"-square baking dish; press uniformly in bottom of dish, cover with plastic, and chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the layers.
- Make the pudding: Stir the egg yolks and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl. Place the chopped chocolates, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside. Heat the half-and-half in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until hot but not boiling. One tablespoon at a time, pour the hot half-and-half into the bowl with the egg yolks and sugar, stirring quickly and continuously (this is to temper the egg yolks so they won't scramble when added to the hot half-and-half). Continue adding half-and-half until about half of it is added and stirred into the egg yolks. Return the pot to the burner and slowly stir the egg yolk mixture into the pot of half-and-half. Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes, or until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Pour the hot half-and-half mixture into the bowl with the chocolate and other ingredients, stirring to melt the chocolate and butter. Spread into a shallow dish and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside at room temperature to cool.
- With an electric mixer, beat the neufchatel and ½ cup confectioner's sugar together until smooth. Set aside.
- With an electric mixer or by hand, beat the heavy cream to soft peaks, then add the 2 Tablespoons confectioner's sugar and beat to stiff peaks (be careful not to overbeat).
- Spread the cream cheese mixture over the chilled crust. Top that with the pudding, then top it all with the whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. Garnish with chocolate shavings.