Rosie's Layered Lemon Dessert

This is my favorite dessert that Rosie, my mother-in-law, makes. It has a buttery shortbread crust, a light cheesecake-y middle, and a lemony topping. It's so pretty and delicious, you wouldn't know that it's easy to make and uses whipped topping and packaged pudding mix.

My attempts at making this dessert have never tasted as good as hers, and I couldn't figure out why. Last time I made it, Rosie figured it out. She uses a cooked pudding mix -- usually Royal brand -- and the only packaged lemon pudding mix that they carry at my Wegmans is Jello Instant Pudding. Once I tasted it by itself, we realized it wasn't very lemony at all. I looked at the nearest Tops Market, and they have several brands of cooked lemon pudding, so I'll head there the next time I make this dessert. I wonder if mixing in a jar of lemon curd may have been another option. In any case, here's an easy dessert for this time of year!

This recipe is going to Shelby and Laura for their family recipes blog event. I think family recipes are the best, and this one is no exeption!

Rosie's Layered Lemon Dessert

2 cups flour
1/2 pound unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
2 teaspoons sugar (if you like a sweeter crust, you can use as much as 1/4 cup)

1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 8-ounce container whipped topping
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 package lemon pie filling, prepared as directed (NOT Jello instant lemon pudding)

Combine flour, butter and sugar. Pat into a 13 by 9-inch pan. Bake 18 minutes at 350. Let cool completely.

Mix together cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Stir in whipped topping and vanilla. Spread on top of cooled crust.

Prepare the lemon pie filling as directed. Spread on top of the cream cheese mixture. Chill before serving.