P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Inc.'s 40-plus restaurant chain, operating in 19 states, owes much of its success to founder Paul Fleming's unique idea of pairing oriental cuisine with American-style service. At the outset, when he opened the first of the restaurants in Scottsdale, Arizona, Fleming broke with the traditional Chinese restaurant format. With his collaborator, chef Philip Chiang, he devised a comparatively limited menu that featured far fewer dishes than the menus of typical, full-service, Chinese restaurants. Incorporating an American steak house dining style and a formidable selection of wines and cheeses, P.F. Chang's offers such additional oriental restaurant anomalies as espresso and cappuccino. Although P.F. Chang's China Bistros are stylish in decor, displaying motifs from the Ming and T'ang Dynasties and hand-painted murals, the dishes are moderately priced, partly because one of Fleming's aims was to provide high quality but affordable Chinese food for "the masses."
PF Chang's Copycat Recipe
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1 1/2 cups water
4 cups low fat milk
2 (3.9 oz.) packages instant devil's food chocolate pudding mix
1 (8 oz.) package light cream cheese at room temperature
24 ladyfingers (two-3 oz.-packages)
3/4 cup (8 oz.) semi sweet mini chocolate chips
1 (12 oz.) carton reduced-fat non-dairy whipped topping (such as Cool Whip)
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder for garnish
Pour the coffee granules into a glass measuring cup with 1 1/2 cups water and microwave, uncovered on high for 1 minute. Let the coffee stand in the microwave with proceeding with the recipe.
Place the milk, pudding mix and cream cheese in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium speed until well blended. Set aside.
Split the ladyfingers in half lengthwise. Place half of a package (1/4 of all the ladyfingers), cut side up, in the bottom of a trifle bowl or glass bowl with a 16-cup capacity. Drizzle 1/4 of the coffee mixture evenly over the ladyfingers. Spread about 1/4 of the pudding mixture over the lady fingers. Spread 1/4 of the whipped topping over the pudding. Sprinkle 1/4 of the chocolate chips over the topping.
Repeat these layers three more times, ending with whipped topping. Sprinkle cocoa evenly over the whipped topping to garnish. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least six hours (or up to 24 hours) to let the flavor develop. Serve in dessert bowls. Makes 12 servings.