To prepare crust, combine the butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed of a mixer until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add flour and salt to butter mixture, beating at low speed until well-blended.
Preheat oven to 400°.
Pat dough into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray, and pierce bottom of dough with a fork. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool crust on a wire rack.
To prepare filling, drain mandarin oranges over a large bowl, reserving 1/2 cup juice. Combine juice, 1/4 cup sugar, sour creams, and pudding mix in a large bowl. Stir in the orange segments. Spoon orange mixture over crust, spreading evenly. Top with whipped topping. Chill 1 hour. Garnish with mint, if desired.
This was an excellent hot summer day desert, cool and refreshing. I do agree with others that the crust shouldn't cook till it's brown. It was hard, but good! It's not a desert that cuts cleanly or stays square because of the pudding mix, but who cares, it's the taste that counts.
This is a great recipe and I have served it a lot for guests at dinner. As noted do not cook until crust is brown otherwise it is very hard to cut. Add toasted nuts on the tope for extra crunch and I also serve with a stewed fruit selection from Ina Garten(opps am i allowed to say that here). This recipe is definetly a keeper.
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