Melba’s Delight

I’m turning into my grandfather as I get older.. he loved sweets. Growing up, I could take them or leave them; I was never a child that craved sugar and sugary desserts but now that I can see 40 on the near horizon, my tastes have changed. So it was no surprise when I recently got a night-time craving for something sweet.

My grandma Lilley (my parents divorced and remarried when I was young, so I grew up with several sets of grandparents) was famous for what I call the “church potluck” desserts. She would make homemade candies, bars, cookies and especially the creamy congealed desserts that kids love to eat, and that’s what my craving was for.. a sweet, creamy, rich congealed dessert from my childhood. So I dug into my collection of recipes and found where she jotted this down in her handwriting and headed to the grocery store to get the ingredients for “Melba’s Delight”. I’m sorry I don’t have a photo of this one.. my food styling doesn’t work well at night in a dark house, so you’ll have to use your imagination. This is sinfully fattening and delicious, the way a good dessert should be!

  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (she would use pecans, I used sliced almonds and 2 tsp of Amaretto for my adult version)
  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup frozen whipped topping, softened
  • 2 3oz packages instant butterscotch pudding
  • 3 cups half & half, or milk (I just prefer extra richness and calories!!)
Combine and mix well the flour, butter and nuts. Press into the bottom of a lightly greased 13″x9″ glass dish. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until the crust looks like a golden brown cookie. Let cool completely.
Combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and whipped topping, mixing well. Spread in a layer over the cooled cookie crust.
Mix the pudding with the milk (3 cups will be less milk than the box calls for. The box recipe is 2 cups milk per box. Ignore that!) and beat with a whisk until pudding starts to thicken. Put pudding in refrigerator for 5 minutes to set, then spread the pudding over the cream cheese layer in the casserole dish. Chill for 1 hour to set completely. Cut into squares for serving and garnish with additional whipped topping dollop.
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