Pistachio Lush Dessert

March 3, 2022
What's not to love about creamy pistachio deliciousness in a pan? With sweetened cream cheese and Cool Whip layers sandwiching a layer of pistachio pudding, Pistachio Lush Dessert is one delicious creamy comfort food dessert. Its pretty pastel green color makes it a perfect dessert for St. Patrick's Day, Easter, or any springtime occasion.

Slice of Pistachio Lush Dessert Image

I've heard this classic creamy layered dessert referred to as slush cake, Fat Man's Delight, layered lush, and lush dessert. Growing up, our family always called it slush cake, but seems now we've come to adopt the seemingly more common name of lush. But regardless of what you call it, Pistachio Lush Dessert is just plain tasty.

Based on the ever-classic Chocolate Lush dessert recipe, Pistachio Lush subs in pistachio pudding instead to create this perfect-for-spring pastel green version of everyone's favorite. 

The flavor is reminiscent of another classic favorite, green pistachio fluff -- that creamy mix of Cool Whip, crushed pineapple, pistachio pudding, and marshmallows everyone knows and adores. But it's served up in a layered dessert form instead, minus the pineapple and marshmallows, of course.

With sweetened cream cheese and Cool Whip layers sandwiching a layer of pistachio pudding, Pistachio Lush Dessert is one delicious creamy comfort food dessert.

We enjoy eating Pistachio Lush any time of year, but think its color lends itself especially well to being a St. Patrick's Day or springtime dessert. But if you serve it up to us on the 4th of July, we're certainly not going to turn it down! And with its creamy pistachio deliciousness, we highly doubt anyone else would, either. 

What's to Love About This Recipe?
  • Creamy comfort - Sweetened cream cheese and Cool Whip layers sandwich a layer of pistachio pudding in this delicious creamy comfort food dessert.
  • Easy to make - Although it's not no-bake, Pistachio Lush is still really easy to make. Just a little mixing, baking of the crust, and spreading layers in a pan is all it takes.
  • Tasty pistachio flavor - The pistachio pudding middle delivers up nice and tasty pistachio flavor. 
  • Pretty pastel green - Its pretty pastel green pudding layer makes it a perfect dessert for St. Patrick's Day, Easter, or any springtime occasion. Deepen the green by mixing food coloring in with the pudding, if you'd like.

Pistachio Lush Cut in Pan Showing Its Layers Image

Pistachio Lush Ingredients:

A pan of Pistachio Lush is made up of distinct layers that build on one another. Here's what you'll need for each layer.      

For the bottom crust layer:
  • All-purpose flour - Serves as the base of the lush's crust. 
  • Finely chopped nuts - Combines with the flour to create a nicely-textured crust. Either pecans or walnuts work great. You could also choose pistachios, but they do cost more than pecans and walnuts. -- Which is why we reserve pistachios for just a small sprinkling on the top of this dessert. Whichever nut you choose, be sure to chop them finely so there aren't large chunks in the lush's crust.
  • Butter - Binds the crust together as the crust bakes. We recommend sticking with real butter, rather than substituting margarine, for the best flavor result.

For the creamy middle layer:
  • Cream cheese - Serves as the base of the creamy middle layer. We recommend using regular cream cheese rather than less-fat Neufchatel because it creates a sturdier, creamier layer.
  • Powdered sugar - Sweetens the cream cheese and tames its tang. Powdered sugar dissolves into the layer's cream cheese and Cool Whip more readily than granulated sugar does.
  • Cool Whip - An 8-ounce container of Cool Whip is used for this layer, adding fluffiness to the cream cheese mixture. Substitute homemade whipped cream, if you'd prefer.

For the top layers:
  • Pistachio instant pudding - Either regular or sugar-free instant pudding work with this recipe. Cook-and-serve pistachio pudding will also work. -- Just be sure to cool the cooked pudding to almost room temperature before spreading it on the cream cheese layer, and then let it cool completely before topping the pudding with the final Cool Whip layer.
  • Milk - Whole or 2% milk both work just fine. Note that you'll use less milk than is called for on the pistachio pudding package.
  • Cool Whip - An 8-ounce container of Cool Whip tops the dessert. Substitute homemade whipped cream, if you'd prefer.
  • Pistachio nuts - A sprinkling of chopped pistachios adds a nice look and textural crunch to the lush dessert. Substitute chopped pecans or walnuts, if you'd like.

Pistachio Lush Ingredients Image

How to Make Pistachio Lush:

While Pistachio Lush Dessert isn't no-bake due to the bottom crust needing to be baked, it's still really easy to make.

To get a pan started, first blend together some flour, finely chopped nuts, and butter until it's crumbly and about the texture of coarse sand. Press this mixture into the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish and bake it for about 15 minutes to create the dessert's crust.

Next, mix together some softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, and a container of Cool Whip to create the creamy middle layer. Spread this evenly over the cooled crust, working gently so as to not pull pieces of the crust up into the creamy mixture. I find an offset spatula helps a lot with this.

Pan of Pistachio Lush Dessert Image

To make the green pistachio layer, whisk together instant pistachio pudding powder with milk until it's well combined and beginning to thicken. Spread this evenly over the cream cheese layer in the pan.

Top the pistachio pudding with a layer of Cool Whip. Then sprinkle on a few coarsely chopped pistachio nuts to finish off the dessert.

Refrigerate the Pistachio Lush for a couple of hours or overnight to let it set and allow the flavors to meld.

Piece of Pistachio Lush Image

Then you're ready to serve up slices and dig into the pistachio deliciousness! And delicious it is, indeed.
With its pretty pastel green color, Pistachio Lush Dessert makes a perfect dessert for St. Patrick's Day, Easter, or any other springtime occasion.


Recipe FAQs:
  • Does the crust have to be baked? - Yes, the dessert's flour-based crust has to be baked to get everything to adhere together well and to make the flour safe for consumption.

  • Could I make Pistachio Lush with a graham cracker crust instead of a flour crust? - Yes, you can make Pistachio Lush with a graham cracker crust instead of a flour-based crust. If you do a graham cracker crust, you would not need to bake it. -- Just be sure to firmly press the graham cracker crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan so it doesn't crumble apart on you at serving time.

  • Can I add green food coloring to the pistachio pudding mixture to make the pudding layer more green? - Absolutely, yes, you can add food coloring to make the pudding layer more green. The easiest way to do this is to stir about 6-10 drops (or more/less to your personal preference) of green food coloring into the milk before mixing the milk with the pudding powder. Once the pudding and milk mixture is mixed up, it's more difficult to stir in the food coloring.

  • Can I use cook-and-serve pistachio pudding instead of instant to make Pistachio Lush Dessert? - Yes, you can use cook-and-serve pudding instead of instant, just be careful about the temperature of the pudding so you don't melt the other layers as you build the dessert. Cool the cooked pudding to almost room temperature before spreading it on the cream cheese layer, and then let it cool completely before topping the pudding with the final Cool Whip layer.

  • Can I use other flavors of pudding with this recipe? - Absolutely! Lemon lush and chocolate lush are especially delicious.

Check out these other creamy dessert favorites:

Fork Bite of Pistachio Lush Dessert Image
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pistachio lush, pistachio dessert, green desserts, desserts with pistachio pudding
Dessert
American
Yield: 12 servings
Pistachio Lush Dessert

Pistachio Lush Dessert

With sweetened cream cheese and Cool Whip layers sandwiching a layer of pistachio pudding, Pistachio Lush Dessert is one delicious creamy comfort food dessert. Its pretty pastel green color makes it a perfect dessert for St. Patrick's Day, Easter, or any springtime occasion.
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 15 MinTotal time: 35 Min

Ingredients

Bottom:
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
Middle:
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c. confectioners’ powdered sugar
  • 1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip non-dairy whipped topping
Top:
  • 2 (3.4 oz.) packages pistachio instant pudding
  • 2 & 3/4 c. milk
  • 1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip non-dairy whipped topping
  • 1/4 c. coarsely chopped pistachio nuts (optional)

Instructions

Prepare the Bottom:
  1. Using a fork or an electric mixer on low speed, blend together the flour, finely chopped nuts, and butter until crumbly and about the texture of coarse sand.
  2. Pour into the bottom of a 9x13” baking dish and pat down lightly with your hand to form a crust.
  3. Bake at 350℉ for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Prepare the Middle:
  1. Beat together softened cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar with an electric mixer. Stir in Cool Whip until well combined.
  2. Carefully spread in an even layer on top of the cooled crust.
Prepare the Top:
  1. Mix together pudding powder and milk with a whisk. Spread evenly on top of cream cheese mixture.
  2. Spread Cool Whip evenly over the pudding. If using, sprinkle the top with coarsely chopped pistachios.
  3. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight to set.
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Pistachio Lush Dessert ~ Creamy pistachio deliciousness in a pan! With creamy layers sandwiching a layer of pistachio pudding, Pistachio Lush is one delicious comfort food dessert perfect for St. Patrick's Day, Easter, or any springtime occasion. So good!  www.thekitchenismyplayground.com


4 comments

  1. You make the most tantalizing desserts! And this is no exception - Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner party. Hope your week is going fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome dessert Tracey - CONGRATS - you are one of our Featured Guests at Inspire Me Monday at Create With Joy! :-)

    ReplyDelete

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