Lemon Lush is a layered dessert with a shortbread crust, sweetened cream cheese, lemon pudding and whipped cream. This Lemon Lush recipe is made completely from scratch!
Now tell me that doesn’t look lovely and delicious?!? I basically grew up on Lemon Lush. I remember my mom making it for almost every family get-together, it was either Lemon Lush or her famous Chocolate Chip Cake. My favorite part of this layered dessert is the shortbread crust with the walnuts in it. When I was a kid I used to eat this dessert layer by layer, leaving the crust for last. My mom’s version of Lemon Lush is made with cool whip and lemon pudding from a box. For mine I opted to make homemade stabilized whipped cream and lemon pudding because that’s just how I roll.
This dessert is so great to serve at spring get-togethers because it’s tasty, a bit different, and serves a crowd! AND you can make it ahead of time which I love when I’m entertaining. This would also be fabulous for Easter dessert.
WARNING: This dessert is made completely from scratch. This means you won’t be using a boxed pudding mix or whipped topping from the freezer section. I prefer it from scratch even though it’s a little labor intensive, but you can always make it with store-bought pudding and whipped topping if you’d like.
Cook’s Note – Lemon Lush:
- This recipe is completely versatile, feel free to substitute the homemade lemon pudding for your favorite; key lime, vanilla, chocolate…whatever! I’ve made a key lime version of this and instead of using walnuts, I used coconut–talk about to die for!
- Lemon Lush will keep for up to 5 days, covered, in the refrigerator.
- If you want an extra lemon kick, try adding 1 Tablespoon of lemon zest to the shortbread layer.
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 2½ Cups milk
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 Tablespoons grated lemon zest
- pinch salt
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 Cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup cold, salted butter
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 2 Cups heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 cup of the prepared stabalized whipped cream
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and milk until smooth. Add the egg yolks, zest and salt. Place the sauce pan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly until thickened and the mixture coats the spoon, about 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the sauce pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and butter. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl and strain the pudding. Let cool to room temperature.
- Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 325 degrees F. Line 9x13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving overhang on all sides.
- In a medium bowl sift together the flour and powdered sugar. Using a pastry cutter or 2 forks, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the walnuts. While still in the bowl, knead the dough until smooth, about 10 times. Pat the dough evenly into your prepared baking pan and prick with a fork 25-30 times. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until light brown in color. Cool for at least 30 minutes on a wire rack.
- In a small bowl soak the gelatin in the cold water. Give it a quick stir and let sit for 5 minutes. Place the bowl of gelatin in a pot of simmering water, about 1-inch deep. Heat until the gelatin dissolves. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the heavy whipping cream and gelatin. Whip until soft peaks form.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Mix on medium speed until combined and smooth, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the stabilized whipped cream and mix until just combined.
- Spread the cream cheese mixture in an even layer over the cooled crust. Smooth the lemon pudding in an even layer, followed by the remaining stabilized whipped cream and sprinkle with ¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional).
- Chill for at least 2 hours (or overnight) before serving.
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