Salad may not sound like an appetizing dessert, but it’s irresistible when made with cookies, mandarin orange slices and creamy pudding!
Combine the granulated sugar, flour and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the egg yolks and then the cream over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it’s thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, pour into a heatsafe bowl and cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the pudding. Refrigerate until cooled, about 1 hour or overnight.
Combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. With the mixer running on low, add the vanilla and almond extracts and then gradually add the butter. Mix until the mixture comes together into a dough, slowly increasing the speed once you’re confident that doing so won’t result in flour flying everywhere. Divide the dough in half, press into discs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight. (If you’re impatient, fine, skip this step.)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 1/8 inch by 1/4 inch thick. Cut out 2-inch circles with a biscuit cutter and then use a big piping tip to cut out 1/2-inch holes from the center. (Re-roll scraps as needed.) Place the cookies on baking sheets 1 inch apart. Bake until they’re just starting to brown around the edges (start checking for doneness at 12 minutes). Let cool on the pans.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each. Let it cool slightly and then pour into a piping bag. Snip off the tip and then pipe 4 thick chocolate stripes on each cookie. Let the chocolate harden at room temp or in the fridge.
In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream and confectioners’ sugar to stiff peaks.
Fold together the whipped cream and pudding in a large bowl. Crush the cookies by hand or in a ziptop bag with a rolling pin or other blunt object (reserving 6 to 8 whole cookies for the topping) and fold them in. Drain and fold in the mandarin slices, reserving some for the topping too. Top with remaining cookies, mandarin slices and sprinkles. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.