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Lemon Cream Dessert

My friend Mary and I enjoy coming up with innovative menus to try out on our husbands at our weekly Saturday night dinners. We combined 60-plus years of culinary experience to concoct this easy yet yummy layered lemon dessert. Our spouses loved it. -Laurel Adams, Danville, Kentucky
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. + chilling Bake: 15 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    18-24 servings


  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 cups cold water
  • 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • CRUST:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 cups cold whole milk
  • 2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 carton (16 ounces) frozen whipped topping thawed


  • In a small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch; gradually stir in water until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of hot filling into egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat; stir in butter and lemon zest. Gently stir in lemon juice. Refrigerate until cool.
  • In a bowl, combine flour and nuts. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press onto the bottom of a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
  • In a bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth; carefully spread over crust. Spread with cooled lemon mixture. In another bowl, beat milk and pudding mixes on low for 2 minutes; beat in vanilla. Fold in half of the whipped topping. Spread over lemon layer. Spread with remaining whipped topping. Chill for at least 4 hours before cutting.

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  • Laurie
    May 2, 2020

    This is my FAVORITE lemon dessert! So worth the time! Only negative thing about it is I can't stop eating it - I could eat the whole thing be myself!

  • Anne Bernadette
    Feb 10, 2018

    This dessert was a home run! I prepared it for my prayer group, my favorite "guinea pigs," and they raved about it. I took a piece the next day to two friends, and they also thought it was delectable. I prepared it the day before serving it because the different layers do take some time. Allowing it to sit in the refrigerator overnight ensured that it was firm when served. The pieces cut nicely, although I used a firm metal spatula to remove carefully the crust layer from my glass pan. Thank you for a wonderful addition to my dessert recipe collection!

  • 2124arizona
    Jun 27, 2017

    This luscious lemon dessert is to die for!! It is one of my favorite desserts period. It's great for potlucks and topping an Easter meal. I can't say enough about it!!

  • xiaxia3
    Aug 23, 2014

    This is absolutely, amazingly delicious. I made it as the recipe states and then I thought, "If I am making lemon pudding from scratch, why not the vanilla pudding, too?" So I do. Instant pudding doesn't have the greatest taste. This takes a WHOLE lot longer than 30 min. prep. I fool around making this during the day. Crust must cool, puddings must cool.Must chill for four hours. If you have company, make it the day before. NOTE: this freezes well, but it is a bear to get out of the pan after it is frozen. It does not deter my husband from chiseling it out of the pan. I prefer using the Rich Whip where you have to whip the stuff yourself. Cool Whip doesn't have the greatest taste either. After making the two different puddings from scratch, I am half way to an angel food cake from scratch!!

  • mina2304
    Jun 30, 2012

    No comment left

  • Foreverdixie
    Jun 21, 2012

    Made this for Easter and loved it! A little on the sweet side but awesome just the same! Was gone in two days! Next time I will try to make it a bit healthier but as far as taste - this recipe is awesome! Very creamy and refreshing.

  • IvyRiggs
    Mar 28, 2012

    No comment left

  • cjbtea
    Feb 27, 2012

    No comment left

  • GrandmaJ25
    Feb 6, 2012

    I found this recipe in June/July 2002 issue I picked up at a garage sale. What a wonder find. Made this for Super Bowl Sunday and it was a big hit with the family. Even the picky eater loved it. Will make this again for sure! Passed the recipe on to my wonderful daughter-in-law, she so loved this dessert.

  • teach*music
    Jan 17, 2012

    Rave reviews at family gathering! Asked 3x's for the recipe. Husband says this is our new family standard for desserts. Took me a bit longer than expected, but more than worth it. Looks beautiful & tastes great. Thank you!