Saturday, November 24, 2007

Chocolate Eclair

Holidays in my family revolve around traveling to my grandma's house about an hour and a half East of Nashville. It's a pot luck affair. My Aunt Loretta always brings the turkey, my Aunt Evelyn always brings the broccoli and cheese casserole (one of my favorites), we always have my grandma's delicious green beans and my mom always brings this dessert. It's a tradition. A tradition that has gone on for so long, that the dessert has become apart of the family and as such, it is affectionately called "Clair."

Clair is brought to both Thanksgiving and Christmas. And a few times in the past, we would load up the car and sometimes we would forget Clair, leaving her a lonely holiday sitting in the fridge (although, this was always a good thing for my immediate family... just means we got Clair all to ourselves when we got home from grandma's hungry and empty-handed). Which means, now, when people start filtering to the dessert, you'll always hear at least one person say... "is Clair here?" And out of the various brownies, cakes, and pies, Clair is the one dessert that is always completely empty at the end of dinner.

Now, I actually didn't eat Clair for a long time. You see, on my 4th birthday I got sick and threw up and for about 10 years after that, I wouldnt touch anything with frosting on it (for some reason, I equated the vomiting with the frosting), so all my birthday cakes from then on had to be plain, etc... so, since Clair has canned frosting poured all over her top, I wouldn't go near her.

Eventually, I realized what sugary goodness I was missing for so long and fell in love with frosting and as a result, fell in love with Clair.

I don't know where the name comes from, but it's actually more like a poor man's tiramisu. It's essentially a pudding dessert with graham cracker layers that soften and a chocolate frosting top. I made it for the first time this year, and while it wasn't quite as good as mom's, it was pretty good.

Easy and delicious and for my family, tradition.

Clair (Chocolate Eclair)

box of graham crackers
2 large boxes of vanilla instant pudding
5 cups of milk
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1 large tub of cool whip
1 tub chocolate frosting

Layer the bottom of a 13x9 inch pan with graham crackers. Set aside.

For filling: In a large bowl, beat with an electric mixer the pudding packages and milk until thick (when my mom first received this recipe she was told to beat for 15 minutes, which I did, but she said she usually only beats till it starts to get thick, about 5 minutes, either way is fine).

Then add softened cream cheese and cool whip one at a time, blend well.

Pour half of pudding mixture into pan and spread over crackers. Then add another layer of graham crackers and then put the rest of the pudding on top of that layer.

Heat the can of frosting up slightly, to make it pourable and pour it over the top and spread it out. Refrigerate overnight.

Note about the frosting: If you get it too hot, it will separate on top of the pudding and look gross. Also, we only use about 2/3 of the tub of frosting, but you can use as much or as little as you like, it's rich and sweet, which is why we don't use all of it.

I also baked a cherry pie and there was a slice to bring home! Yay!

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