Fantastic Feasts and Where to Find Them: The Grey Stuff

Sometimes things look too good to be true, or too easy, and you need to try it. And a healthy nostalgia for all things 90s, including Disney, will lead to some drastic measures–including a recipe test of something that looks dubiously okay enough. I mean, if the Disney resorts are okay with serving the grey stuff as an actual dessert dish, it can’t be that bad, right?

try_the_grey_stuff_beauty_and_the_beast

So, be our guest with this weird concoction that looks ugly but tastes pretty good.

For a refresher for those of you who might not exactly remember, the grey stuff shows up  as an off-hand comment in that lively “Be Our Guest” scene that shows up in Moar Powah staff favorite, Beauty and the Beast.

And it doesn’t look any better animated than it does in real life, that’s for sure. But the Dinsey parks–specifically the Be Our Guest Restaurant–has banked in on the grey stuff as an actual menu item, mostly used as a topping for dark chocolate cake. Which makes sense; the recipe produces something that is cloying sweet and fluffy, more of an icing than a dessert, and I highly recommend finding something a little more substantial to eat it with.

The dessert as seen in the park; it comes on its own, too, but more often it is a whipped icing

The dessert as seen in the park; it comes on its own, too, but more often it is a whipped icing

Unless you like eating cookies and cream fluff; but hey, to each their own.

Also much to my horror, but not necessarily to my surprise, the key to the grey stuff is a lot of the packaged stuff. You know what I’m talking about: packaged pudding, a tub of whipped topping–essentially everything you’d need on hand to produce a dessert  quickly to handle when a restaurant is slammed for the night. Plus, it seems like this dessert is used more like a decadent topping that is a nod to the song rather than an actual dessert to consume on its own, so not too much worry about “cheating” a little with some prepackaged goodies.

But hey, we didn’t shun Giga Pudding before, so why balk at instant pudding now?

Honestly, it’s a mix of ambition and hubris that’s got homemade whipped cream on the mind, but everything else is blessedly easy to pull together so long as you have the fridge space and an affinity for Beauty and the Beast.

So let’s get started on this rather gross looking but tasty treat that is a trip down memory lane and some classic Disney magic.

the_grey_stuff_ingredients

The cast of characters:

1 (3.4 ounce) pkg Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
1 1/2 cups Whole (or 2%) Milk
15 Oreos (regular, not double-stuffed)
1 (8 ounce) tub Whipped Topping–or better yet, homemade whipped cream, directions to follow
3 tablespoons Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix
Optional: Edible Pearl Sprinkles; note these guys are a little expensive for what they are, and while they add decadent whimsy to this pseudo-panna cotta, the power is in the presentation so don’t worry if you need to skip the fiddly pearls.
1. Follow the directions on your pudding mix; if you’re smart and got the instant vanilla pudding mix then simply add the milk and stir in, or if you’re like me you got the cooking kind so you’ll need to heat up your ingredients over the stove. Either way, follow the directions, then set aside in the fridge. I left mine in for one hour to make sure it was chilled.
2. Meanwhile, crush your Oreo cookies into crumbs. A food processor makes quick work of finely crushed cookie, or you can use a Ziploc bag and the power of Thor (As long as you’re worthy) to create fine Oreo dust. Any really heavy cooking utensil/heavy object of some kind will do.
the_grey_stuff_thor
3. Once your pudding is ready, it is time to incorporate the Oreos and the whipped topping. If you can’t stand Cool Whip/tubbed whipped cream, here is a quick whipped cream recipe that can be done with either a whisk or an electronic mixer: place your bowl and your whisk/mixer into the freezer for at least 10 minutes, then pour in 1 cup of heavy cream and whisk as fast as your arm can go/at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.
Also, if you are making your own whipped cream I highly recommend you do not add any extra sugar–believe me, the Oreos and vanilla pudding are going to be sweet enough.
Any road, once you have your whipped cream ready, fold it into the vanilla pudding and add in the Oreos. Your pudding will turn from a cheerful, yellow-ish hue into something relatively gross and light grey.
4. Finally, stir in 3 tablespoons of the chocolate instant pudding mix, which will even out the color so it looks more film accurate; then leave your grey stuff in the fridge to chill and set up again for about another hour.
5. Now it’s time for plating. You could arguably eat it straight from the bowl–if fluffy, cookies and cream sweet things are your thing. Or you can try to get the Pinterest perfect look of the Disney park’s grey stuff recipe. The key to getting that nice swirl is a star-tip pastry bag and delicate little pearl sprinkles.
But let’s be real here; sometimes expectations don’t match up with reality, and the reality is that I don’t necessarily have pastry bags lying around my house. You can improvise with a Ziploc bag and a healthy scoop of the grey stuff, snip off a tip, and squeeze it out carefully, or you can dump a lump on a plate and, with a fork, swirl it up into a respectable mound.
Expectations -- as seen at Disneyworld

Expectations — as seen at Disneyworld

I mean either way it’s going to be a little gross looking but the taste makes up for it! :’) I wouldn’t recommend eating this every day–even with a controlled amount of sugar it’s still too sweet for me–and it perhaps makes for a better frosting than a dessert.
Reality, as seen in my home kitchen with a Macgyver'd pastry bag

Reality, as seen in my home kitchen with a Macgyver’d pastry bag

But if you want a little Disney magic in your lives, creating this concoction is never more than a grocery store instant pudding run away~
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Fenrir

A would-be anthropologist, writer, food historian, and professional glutton hoping to combine fandom with her love of food. Ever wondered what a nug tasted like? Is butterbeer alcoholic? If you've asked such questions and are already drooling at the thought of a big old plate of lembas bread, then you're in the right place

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Fenrir

A would-be anthropologist, writer, food historian, and professional glutton hoping to combine fandom with her love of food. Ever wondered what a nug tasted like? Is butterbeer alcoholic? If you've asked such questions and are already drooling at the thought of a big old plate of lembas bread, then you're in the right place

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