Lots of moms see Mother’s Day as a break from cooking, and while I’m an exception to that (which has something to do with why I’ve ended up writing cooking articles), your mom should have some time off from the kitchen if that’s what she wants. So here’s a really simple, quick, but impressive and delicious dessert you can make for that special day even if you don’t usually do much cooking.
This is based loosely on a dessert called Charlotte Russe, once very popular, but not so much these days, maybe because it’s a little tricky to make. For months I’d had the idea of making a charlotte in the back of my mind, but I’d never gotten around to doing it, probably because I meant to go about it in the most from-scratch, labor-intensive way possible. I was even thinking of making the sponge cake for the lining . . . Then, while shopping for inspiration, I saw some marked-down mini donuts and everything else fell into place.
If your mom’s not a chocolate fan, no problem — think about using plain donuts and vanilla pudding, or some other combination. If you can’t find mini-donuts, try brownies, sliced-up muffins, or any other cake you can fit into the bowl.
Be sure to mix up the pudding with only ¾ of the milk in the package directions. This makes it set up firmly enough to hold its shape when turned out of the bowl. I got this tip from the pie filling directions on the pudding mix box — thank you, Hershey. Using whole milk also keeps the mixture firm, according to the same source.
- 1 box chocolate pudding mix (4-serving, 2-cups-milk size)
- 1-½ cups whole milk
- 6-8 chocolate glazed mini donuts
- Whipped cream, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, berries or whatever dessert topping you like
- Line two small bowls or molds (a disposable plastic cereal bowl is fine) with plastic wrap and carefully smooth out the creases as much as you can.
- Split the donuts horizontally (IOW, into two thinner rings).
- Arrange 3 or 4 each (depending on the size of everything) to form another lining around the sides of the bowls. The glazed side, being stickier, should go against the plastic wrap.
- In a medium bowl, combine the pudding mix and milk and blend with a whisk or electric mixer for one minute.
- Carefully pour half the mixture into each prepared bowl. It should come almost or completely to the upper edge of the donut slices.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Carefully invert the dish onto a plate and peel off the plastic wrap.
- Finish with your favorite dessert topping.