Let’s continue our double date from hell, shall we? Our last recipe occurred pre-date with Sookie whipping meringue for a variation on baked Alaska for dessert at the Inn, which I decided must have been Hawaiian Alaska since it’s basically impossible to make it in the shape of the states themselves.
Once Sookie and Jackson finally make it to their date with Lorelai and Rune in tow (yikes!), all Sookie can talk about is how much Rory’s mud pie looked like her own. To the point where it haunted for an entire year. Wow.
Okay, so a couple of things we learn here: Sookie uses her own homemade chocolate cookies for what I assumed is the crust of the pie and bittersweet ganache for the filling. If Rory’s literal mud pie is so identical to Sook’s I’m guessing she also skips the whipped cream topping, or at least waits to top slices individually.
If you’ve been reading along so far you can probably guess, that’s right, I’ve never made mud pie before (unless you count the oreo dirt pie in a cup – you know, the one with the gummy worms in it?), mostly due to my distaste for super chocolatey desserts. I have been coming around recently, so don’t take my Gilmore card away from me just yet! I perused several of my trusted kitchen library cookbooks and decided to try my first recipe out of Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.
Mud Pie, more formally known as Mississippi Mud Pie has some pretty unclear origins – literally. According to this derivative article on the dessert from Eater, mud pie possibly originated sometime during World Word II era, when people would gather near the Mississippi River during hot summers when the water was low to sink their feet in the cool mud and eat something sweet. Sounds like that would work well in my backyard with all the rain and humidity we’re getting here in north Texas!
Most recipes work in some sort of ice cream or cake, but Mary Berry keeps it simple with using only a homemade ganache/pudding mixture on top of a cookie crumb crust. Her recipe calls for crushed digestive “biscuits,” but since Sookie uses homemade chocolate cookies in hers, I must use them in mine, too! I replaced the biscuits with Mary Berry’s Double Chocolate cookies, also from her Baking Bible. They were super simple and quick to make, so it didn’t add too much effort to the overall recipe. I actually made these a day in advance, and it helped them to cool and harden enough to provide a really good crumb for the crust!
The directions were pretty simple and straightforward, creating a ganache over a homemade double boiler, adding eggs, sugar, water, cream and a little instant espresso powder and then baking at 350° for an hour and 15 minutes.
I was pretty hopeful until I took the pie out of the oven. It had formed a pretty thick skin on top that had cracked pretty significantly. After letting it rest overnight it looked much better, and the inside of the pie still had the custard-like consistency I was looking for, although I was really hoping for something much “muddier” if it can be replicated by an eight-year-old playing in dirt.
I turned to Epicurious’ Ultimate Mud Pie recipe for my redo. It was still a relatively simple process, and I found that I preferred it to Mary Berry’s recipe because: 1. It looked much more like an authentic “mud pie”, 2. The cookie crumb crust called for a cup and a half instead of the ½ cup of crumbs in Mary’s recipe making for a thicker crispier crust and 3. No baking time involved – you just let it set in the fridge overnight!
I was so pleased this morning when I opened the fridge to see how well it had thickened up. I definitely had some ASMR vibes rubbing my hands across the plastic wrapped pie. So satisfying.
Final Review: One week and two mud pies later, I would definitely recommend trying the Epicurious recipe to Mary Berry’s, although MB’s was still very tasty. Since a few of you from my Insta poll wanted the recipe, I’ve left both of them down below! Either pie would be a great way to please any date ;). Maybe some of Sookie’s mud pie would have killed some of that tension between Lorelai and Rune. You can’t insult someone if your mouth is full of chocolate bliss. Good riddance Loon!
Mary Berry’s Mississippi Mud Pie
Mary Berry’s Double Chocolate Cookies (modified)
7oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
14oz (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
8 oz self-rising flour
Mary Berry’s Mississippi Mud Pie (modified)
For the crumb crust base:
4oz crushed double chocolate cookies
2oz butter – melted
For the filling:
7oz bittersweet chocolate
1 level tablespoon of instant coffee granules
1 tablespoon boiling water
300ml single cream
6 large eggs, beaten
Whipped cream topping (optional)
1/4 pint heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt chocolate chips with the butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally. Stir in the condensed milk, then remove from the heat and cool.
Mix in the flour until firm enough to handle.
Place large teaspoonfuls of the mixture spaced well apart on the prepared baking trays. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. The cookies should still look soft and will glisten. Don’t overcook them, as they soon become very hard. Carefully remove the cookies with a palette knife and cool on a wire rack.
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and grease an 8-inch pie plate.
To make the crust, mix the crushed double chocolate cookies with the melted butter and sugar. Spoon mix into the prepared plate, pressing the mixture out into an even layer and ensuring it is compact against all the sides.
To make the filling, melt the bittersweet chocolate chips in a heatproof dish with the water, butter and coffee. Gently heat in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, until the butter and chocolate has completely melted, stirring occasionally and taking care not to burn. Remove the chocolate from the heat when melted and mix with the butter. Beat in the single cream, sugar and beaten eggs. Pour this mixture over the biscuit base.
Bake for about an hour and 15 minutes or until set. Leave to cool completely in the tin and then turn out and decorate the top with whipped cream. Sprinkle chocolate or crushed cookie crumbs over the top to decorate / finish.
Epicurious Ultimate Mud Pie (original recipe here)
Chocolate crumb crust
1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pie pan
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups half-and-half
2/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 large egg yolks
5 ounces high-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons chocolate wafer crumbs, for garnish
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9-inch pie pan. To make the crust, combine the crumbs (use the Double Chocolate Cookie recipe above), melted butter and sugar in a medium bowl until moistened. Press firmly and evenly into the pie pan. Bake until the crust is set and smells like warm cookies, about 12 minutes. Cool completely.
To make the filling, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat 2 1/2 cups of the half-and-half, sugar and salt, stirring often to dissolve the sugar, until simmering. Pour into a heatproof bowl. Rinse out the saucepan.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the cornstarch over the remaining 1/2 cup half-and-half and whisk until dissolved. Whisk the yolks in a medium bowl and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture.
Gradually whisk in the hot half-and-half mixture and return to the rinsed-out saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a flat wooden spatula (to keep the mixture from scorching), until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the mixture bubble, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
Remove from the heat, add the chocolate, butter, and vanilla, and whisk until the chocolate melts completely. Strain through a wire sieve into a clean bowl. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and press plastic wrap directly on the filling to keep a skin from forming. Let cool completely. Refrigerate until the filling is chilled and set, at least 2 hours
To make the topping, whip the cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla in a chilled medium bowl with an electric mixer set on high speed until stiff. Uncover the pie. Spread and swirl the topping over the filling. (If you wish, transfer the whipped cream to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, and pipe the cream onto the pie.) Sprinkle pie with cookie crumbs. Slice and serve chilled.