|Our family, 1983, at the "old house"|
Here’s a story appropriate for an election year that comes out of “grandma’s day.” You can pick the “grandma” -- me or my mother.
It was the early 1980s. My parents came to visit one Sunday and stayed for dinner. Mother brought “Republican dessert,” a layered concoction of shortbread, cream cheese filling, and chocolate pudding. Somehow it reminded me of a recipe I had on file.
For some reason, my folks were with us again the next Sunday, and this time I made dessert. Since we had enjoyed Mother’s pudding-based dessert, I thought it would be fun to make mine for comparison.
After taking the first bite, Mother slowly said, “This-is-the-same-dessert-I-made-last-week,” carefully measuring her words. Perhaps she was undecided if she should say anything at all.
And so, as we compared the two desserts, we realized I had the same recipe under a different name. Mine probably came from a magazine ad for Jello pudding.
I no longer have my recipe, but I found Mother’s in my box. Hers came from “The Gazette,” the Washington Water Power (WWP) bulletin that was enclosed with our monthly statement. The little flier went away in 1988, I believe, but back in the day I looked forward to it. In researching online, I discovered that Avista, as WWP is presently called, proposes to post some of those recipes on their Facebook page. I left a comment encouraging them to do so, and they responded that they would.
For the fun of it, I googled “Republican Dessert” and discovered several listings for this recipe and variations. Before I gave up, I also found it as “4-layer Cream Cheese Pudding Dessert” and “Chocolate Pudding Dessert.” So – it’s still out there, rich and delicious. Apparently it’s called “Republican Dessert” because it’s so rich.
½ c butter or margarine
1 c flour
2 T sugar
½ c chopped nuts
Combine and mix as for pastry. Press into 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350 until light brown – 15 to 20 minutes. Cool.
1 8-oz. package cream cheese
1 c sifted powdered sugar
1 8-oz. container non-dairy whipped topping
Mix powdered sugar and cream cheese; fold in half the topping. Spread on cooled crust.
2 pkgs. (4 serving size) instant chocolate pudding and pie filling
2 ½ c milk
Beat pudding mix with milk per package directions until thickened. Spread on top of cheese layer. Top with remainder of whipped topping.
Sprinkle with toasted coconut.
Note: Best if made the day before.
[The trouble with posts like this is that they're hard to illustrate, especially if one doesn't want to make the large rich dessert in her cluttered kitchen. The picture above was taken with a timer in the dining room at the old house on Valentine's Day.] KW