Fall Flavors Tour: Better Than Pumpkin Pie

There was this dessert, growing up. It was always appearing at family functions, and almost everyone I knew had heard of the dessert in some form or capacity, though it took different names. For many, it was simply called “Four Layer Dessert,” as though it was something like a seven layer dip. That adequately described it, of course, but it lacked a certain… flavor… that the dessert deserved. Others called it Better Than Robert Redford, which was apparently very important to the adults around me who discussed the dessert, but honestly, as a child or even a tween, that reference was largely lost on me.

There was one other name for the dessert. The one thing I remember, when people would call it by this name, is that typically, the last word of the dessert was kind of whispered, with a wink. “Yes, the, uh, dessert… well, it’s called better than… (whispers) sex.”

Truthfully, though, whether you call it Four Layer Dessert or Better than Robert Redford or even Better Than Sex (I don’t have to whisper, do I? I can, really, if I need to), the dessert was definitely a staple. It took all of the best things in life, from flaky crust to nuts to chocolatey perfection, and amped it up into a light, cool, creamy dessert.

But you see, chocolate just isn’t everyone’s thing. And part of me always wondered why that was served at Thanksgiving, a time when so many beautiful fall flavors are present.

So, while definitely inspired by Better Than Sex, well, this just isn’t it.

This is that, only much.



But sincerely, since I couldn’t think of a name that could really suit this dessert while still being exciting and thrilling like the hush-hush name of it’s chocolatey cousin, I decided to simply call this dessert exactly what it is. It’s better than pumpkin pie.

I don’t care if you love pumpkin pie more than your own right foot, this is better. No one, not even my dad (who really REALLY loves pumpkin pie) disagreed with me.

First, the crust.

You’re going to take 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of softened butter, as well as 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp each of cloves and nutmeg, and mix them together.

Then, press that into a greased 9×13 pan.

Bake that for 15 minutes, and then cool it completely. You want to make sure it’s absolutely 100% cool, or the whole dessert will melt onto itself and get really weird and not at all like the perfect dessert this is, so don’t try to rush it.

For your second layer, you’re going to whip up 8 oz. of Philadelphia cream cheese (that’s one of those little blocks), 1 cup of powdered sugar, and 1 cup of Cool Whip. I like to use my mixer for this, but if you prefer to use a fork, you can.

Spread that evenly on top of your cooled crust.

In the same bowl, take two packages of Jell-O Pumpkin Spice pudding (it’s seasonal) and mix that with three cups of milk.

Let that sit for about 3-4 minutes to thicken up after you’ve mixed it together thoroughly. Then, pour that evenly on top of the cream cheese mixture.

On top of that, take more Cool Whip (enough to cover the pudding) and spread that all over the top.

Then, grate Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses over the top. Mmmmm…

Refrigerate, then slice and serve cold.

See? Isn’t that MUCH better than Robert Redford? And pumpkin pie?

One of my dearest friends and taste testers said “This dish is so light and fluffy that you eat it not realizing how many calories you’re eating! It seems like you’re eating a pumpkin cloud, not actual calories!”

She’s right. It’s easy to eat one two fifteen slices of this without a second thought.

If that’s a concern, you can absolutely swap out the cream cheese for a reduced fat cream cheese and the milk for a lighter percentage of milk, and use low-fat Cool Whip as well.

This is the lightest, flakiest, most incredible dessert you can imagine. Even people who don’t like pumpkin pie like this, and it’s got a nice, rich pumpkin flavor to it thanks to the Jell-O pumpkin spice pudding and the Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses.

Because it’s so light and airy, there’s no way it won’t fit around the turkey and stuffing and everything else at Thanksgiving, and it’s also perfect for Halloween parties because of it’s very festive color.

If you don’t try any other recipe from my Fall Flavors Tour, I am begging you… try this one. Please. I promise you’ll thank me.


Growing up, did you have a variation of Better Than Sex dessert, and if so, what was it called in your family?

If you try this dessert, leave a comment below and let me know what you think of it! And as always, share pictures- I’d love to see them!




  1. We always made a dessert like this around the holidays but, we used butterscotch pudding and topped it with handfuls of butterscotch chips 🙂 Yummy!

    I wouldn’t mind being a taste tester when I visit next week!

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