Éclair cakes are one of my favorite childhood treats. It is one of the easiest no-bake desserts and the most addictive cake ever. It’s made of layers of graham crackers/biscuits filled with cheese and pudding, then topped with chocolate ganache. This dessert does not take long to prepare, but it definitely needs time to set. Make it the night before you need to serve it and wait patiently to dig in the next day.
Biscuits: My favorite brand of biscuits to use is Osem Petit-Beurre. However, these are not easy to find in the US. Kedem tea biscuits are usually found in major grocery stores in the Kosher area. Graham crackers are a great option, too, if you can find biscuits.
Ricotta Cheese: Ricotta is very moist cheese and has a mild flavor. You can use part-skim ricotta, but whole milk ricotta will give you a better result and a melt-in-your-mouth richness.
Sour cream: Make sure you use a full-fat sour cream.
Vanilla pudding: Only use instant pudding (like Jell-o). You do NOT need to prepare the pudding according to the package directions, follow the recipe instructions (you will only need the powder and the ingredients listed below).
Heavy cream/heavy whipping cream: A cream with no less than 36% milk fat.
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For the chocolate ganache:
- 7 oz (200 grams) dark chocolate
- 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
- The cake:
- Pour the milk into a deep plate or bowl for dipping the crackers.
- Dip the crackers in the milk and arrange them in an even layer at the bottom of the pan. You may have to break them up a bit to get enough crackers to cover the bottom of your dish.
- Use an electric stand mixer with a whipping hook or a hand mixer and whip together cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and pudding at a high speed until you get a uniform, stable cream.
- Spread half of the cream- pudding mixture on top of the crackers. Layer another layer of graham crackers over the mixture **all crackers or biscuits should be dipped in milk. Top with a final layer of graham crackers. Cover with a plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about 30 min to an hour to allow pudding to set.
- Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will spill out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, let it sit for a few minutes, then whisk until smooth and melted.
- Pour the ganache over the top of the cake.
- Cool for a minimum of 4-5 hours in the refrigerator until set. Ideally, “forget” about this dessert until tomorrow. This cake gets better over time. The graham crackers/biscuits need time to soften up. When ready to serve, slice in squares or dig in with a spoon!
Tips and Tricks:
- Skip the chocolate ganache and sprinkle some cocoa powder.
- Decorate the cake with chopped nuts, chocolate curls, or shredded coconut.
- It is possible to freeze the cake well wrapped for up to a week.