Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Best Little Pumpkin Dessert

Creamy delicious layers of cream cheese, and pumpkin pudding, mingled with sprinkles of crushed gingerbread cookies, on top of a delicious shortbread crust and just in time for Thanksgiving.  This wonderful pumpkin dessert is another delicious variation on that well loved classic; "Better than Robert Redford Dessert", which actually goes by a variety of names from the very boring  "layered dessert",  to names that will make you blush.   But if you've ever tasted this dessert in any of of variations, and under any of its various names,  you will be sure of one thing it really is one of the best desserts. This week, as I was mulling over dessert ideas for Thanksgiving, this dessert favorite came to my mind and I thought "why not a pumpkin variation of the dessert"? So here it is; a delicious, rich, creamy, pumpkiny, better than Pumpkin Pie, and better Robert Redford, dessert.

I decided to make these in little jars, this time, for a fun presentation, and to delight my grandson, who is the official taste tester on hand this time around; but the recipe will work fine in a 9 X 13 cake pan, or two Pie Pans.  If you use the jars, use heat safe half pints or smaller, as anything bigger is more difficult to layer nicely, and since this is such a rich dessert, a little goes a long way.


  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I use Einkorn flour)
  • 3/4  cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
Cream Cheese layer
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup organic powdered sugar

  • ½ of an 8 ounce container whipped topping (I use Truwhip, which is a healthier version        of Cool  Whip,  and can be found in the freezer section of your local health food store).

  • 1/2  cup finely crushed Gingerbread or Gingersnap cookies
Pumpkin layer
  • 2½ cups milk
  • 3 small packages (3.4 ounces each) vanilla instant pudding mix I use an organic brand.        Jello brand, also now makes a "natural" version of their puddings and gelatin                  mixes, which contain no artificial ingredients, colors or preservatives.
  • 15 oz. pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed Gingerbread or Gingersnap cookies
  • remaining ½ container whipped topping
  • remaining crushed Gingerbread or Gingersnap cookies


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Combine flour, butter, and nuts; mix and stir until the mixture is well combined and crumbly.
  3. Measure 2 heaping tablespoons into 14 -16  1/2 pint canning jars, or  1 9x13 dish baking dish if you wish to make the dessert in one big pan.
  4.  Bake for 15 minutes.
  5.  Let cool completely.
  6. While the crust is baking and cooling, place  cream cheese and powdered sugar in a bowl and mix until well combined. Add ½ container of whipped topping and fold in until evenly distributed.
  7.  In a separate bowl,  mix milk and vanilla instant pudding,  until it begins to thicken. Add pumpkin puree and cinnamon and mix until well combined. 
  8. Once the crust has cooled completely, begin adding layers of filling. Start by spreading a layer of the cream cheese mixture. Top with a thin layer of Gingerbread crumbs, add the pumpkin layer, then another layer of Gingerbread crumbs. Finish with a layer of whipped topping.  Sprinkle with Gingerbread crumbs.
  9. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  10. Enjoy.

Tip: This freezes well, so it can be made ahead and pulled out to thaw 2- 10  hours before serving.  Thaw on the counter top for 2 -4 hours, or  in refrigerator for any longer period of time
Begin by mixing together the flour, butter and finely chopped nuts until well blended and crumbly.

Place approximately two tablespoons into the bottom of each jar.

 This recipe will fill 14 to 16 little jars.

Use a dowel or smooth broad based utensil to press the mixture into the bottom of the jar.
Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

While the shortbread crust is cooking and cooling, prepare the pudding layers. Begin by mixing together the cream cheese and powdered sugar.

When the cream cheese and powdered sugar are well mixed, gently fold in half of an 8 oz container of whipped topping. Stir until well combined.  Set to the side.

In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and pudding mixes. Whisk until pudding begins to thicken.

Add a 15 oz can of pumpkin and two teaspoons of Cinnamon.

Whisk until all is well mixed and creamy.

Now its time to layer the puddings and the gingerbread crumbs. Start with the cream cheese layer overt he cooled shortbread crust. Next add a thin layer of gingerbread crumbs, then comes the pumpkin pudding layer, and a second layer of gingerbread crumbs.  Last top with the remaining whipped topping mix and a light sprinkle of gingerbread crumbs.  You can top with a gingerbread cookie or gingersnap, for a cute presentation.

My daughter had just made up a batch of gingerbread cookies just before I made this.... and she was so kind to share them with me; she's such a sweetie. Some of the cutouts were fall leaves and little acorns, as well as gingerbread men, so cute for Fall, and perfect timing for me to add them to this dessert.




Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.


  1. Yummm!! AMAZING and healthy looking/sounding too!! I love those little curvy jars (I'm such a sucker, for unique looking jars). Of course, the red gingham... sets it all just so!! love it.


    1. Hi Bevy, the little jars are from a yogurt that I get at the health food store... one of my favorite yogurts.. and I know just what you mean, this little jars are one of the things I love about the yogurt.. ha ha. Thanks for stopping by.