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The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford

The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford

The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford

Kelsey Hilts with the recipe that made her husband shout the above out with joy.
Text And Photo By Kelsey Hilts

The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford

The first time that my husband spent Thanksgiving with my family we were all gathered around the table after dinner and my Aunt pulled out a pan of a layered pudding dessert. My husband exclaimed, “The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford! This was my favorite growing up!” We all started laughing because we only knew it as the layered pudding dessert. Not to mention that it was especially funny coming from my husband. A quick search on Google, however, revealed that my husband wasn’t nuts. There is actually a dessert with this name.

So here it is. The recipe that my husband grew up on. This rich, creamy and chocolaty dessert definitely isn’t for the weak. A little bit of the buttery cookie crust topped with vanilla-chocolate pudding and whipped cream goes a long way. The dessert is a crowd-pleaser and it’s simple to make, so it’s great for parties and potlucks. The original recipe calls for frozen whipped topping but I couldn’t resist using homemade whipped cream.

4.5 from 2 reviews
The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford
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This rich, creamy and chocolaty dessert definitely isn't for the weak. A little bit of the buttery cookie crust topped with vanilla-chocolate pudding and whipped cream goes a long way.
Recipe Type: Dessert
Serves: 24-32
Bottom Layer
  • 1 cup (99g) unsifted flour
  • ½ cup (115g) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (121g) finely chopped pecans or walnuts
Middle Layer
  • 1 8-ounce (227g) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (192g) sugar
  • 4½ ounces (120g) homemade whipped cream
Top Layer
  • 1 large package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 large package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 3 cups (710mL) cold milk
Garnish layer
  • Roughly 4½ ounces (120g) homemade whipped cream
  • Chocolate shavings
Bottom layer
  1. Mix together the flour, butter and chopped nuts until the dough is crumble-like.
  2. Press the mixture into a greased 9x13-inch pan.
  3. Bake the cookie crust at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden.
  4. Let the cookie crust cool.
Middle layer
  1. Beat the sugar into the cream cheese until it is smooth.
  2. Fold in the whipped cream.
  3. Spread the mixture over the cooled crust.
Top layer
  1. Beat the milk into the pudding mixes until the mixture is smooth and thickened.
  2. Spread the pudding over the middle layer.
  1. Spread whipped cream over the top and sprinkle the the dessert with grated chocolate candy bar, such as Baker's Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Shavings.
  2. Cover the layered dessert and refrigerate it until you are ready to serve it.
View Comments (9)
  • It’s wonderful you were able to give him back a memory. That’s often the best part of serving a dish … the excited reception of your guests.

  • This is a great dessert! I have been making it for family dinners and get-togethers for years. I have found that it is helpful to refrigerate it while you are making the next layer. Also, I have successfully prepared this dessert a bit “low-cal” by using skim milk, low-fat cream cheese, light Cool Whip and sugar-free Jello instant pudding. Doesn’t seem to impact the taste. I have found this dessert is best prepared the day it is to be consumed. Leftovers store well in the refrigerator, but the crust gets a little moist and the layers start to run together. Still tastes great! Can also substitute lemon pudding for the chocolate … if so, it is called “lemon lush”.

  • My Cousin Sharon always brought this to family gatherings, I make it every thanksgiving . It is Awesome… Might make 2 this year…

  • Delicious! So happy to find your version of this recipe. There are others online that use basically the same measurements EXCEPT they only call for ONE SMALL box of pudding, varying from chocolate or vanilla. It just seemed to be too much topping and creamed cheese. Love this version!

  • We always just called it “The Robert Redford” in our family, though we knew the whole name we just preferred the shorthand. But we made it with a box of chocolate and a box of butterscotch pudding, I’m pretty sure. I just looked this recipe up because I haven’t seen ours in years and I want to make it for the Fourth! I’m so glad you posted!

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