When I was 12, my mom and all three of my older sisters worked at a reception center, doing everything from prepping the little finger sandwiches to cleaning up spills during the reception to getting the knife and plate all ready for the bride and groom to cut the cake. And when the reception involved an inordinately large amount of guests or the staff happened to be short-handed, the manager of the establishment hired me on to help bus tables and prep the food. This was my first “real” job outside of babysitting and odd jobs done for family and friends, and I made a whopping $5.25/hour for it.
However, in the years since, those catering skills have been put to great use as my family can singlehandedly prep for and serve almost any large event (and we have, on a number of occasions, including my sister’s wedding and my stepgrandparents’ big anniversary celebration that involved half the town).
Besides the paycheck (and the valuable life skills we learned, of course), the best part of this gig was that we often got to bring home a TON of reception food—cheesecakes galore, Oreo truffle pie (my favorite), buckets full of the famous Canterbury punch, and eclairs.
Lots and lots of eclairs.
Coincidentally, it was exactly this plethora of eclairs and cheesecake that made me not want to touch either dessert for YEARS after this point, just because I got so sick of eating them. But, even in my most stubborn eclair-averse stage, I still never said no to this particular secret family recipe I’m about to share today:
Chocolate Eclair Pie.
Though this dessert is beyond simple to make and comes together in a manner of about 15 minutes, it still manages to be a hit at every single gathering it’s ever appeared at, including the girls’ night party I attended just the other weekend.
So, if you’ve been assigned to bring a dessert to feed the masses at an upcoming Christmas celebration, consider your choice made—
This dessert is DELICIOUS, and you won’t be slaving away all day in the kitchen, either.
Chocolate Eclair Pie
(Favorite recipe from my mother)
Serves: 24 (Makes a 9×13 pan)
1 small box graham crackers
(2) 3-oz packages instant French vanilla pudding
3-1/2 cups milk
8 oz. carton Cool Whip
6 Tbs. cocoa powder
3 Tbs. melted butter
1 Tbs. white corn syrup
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbs. milk
- Line bottom of 9 x 13 pan with whole graham crackers.
- In a medium-size bowl, mix pudding with milk and let sit 3 minutes. Stir in Cool Whip.
- Pour half of pudding mixture over crackers; add layer of crackers, then the rest of the pudding mixture. Top with a final layer of crackers and place in fridge while making the frosting.
- For the frosting, melt the butter in the microwave and mix in the cocoa until the two are evenly combined. Add the white corn syrup, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Mix together until smooth.
- Spread the finished frosting over the top graham cracker layer. Chill thoroughly (overnight is best).