Mud is the one thing that can get us down around here. Mud is not snow and it is not firm trail. You can’t ski it, you shouldn’t be riding it (mountain bikes really tear up muddy trails), and it kinda sucks to hike or run it. But we do hike and run in the mud because we try not to let it keep us from getting outside. Plus, the mud around here is more annoying than terrible – we have lots of rocks which makes for firmer ground. It’s nothing like what we’ve encountered in the backcountry of New Zealand. Holy hell. New Zealand mud can swallow you whole. Right now, patches of debris are cropping up along the nordic trails and the parking lot at our local hill is dirt and mud.
But this week, we discovered that not all mud is bad. At least, not mud pie. And by mud pie, I mean Mississippi mud pie. It all started because I wanted to know what a mudslide was. It’s a cocktail more akin to melted ice cream with lots of booze. But thanks to the interwebz, I was immediately diverted to mud pies. What’s a mud pie? My Crested Butte neighbor’s daughter was making mud pies with her friend one rainy day, but that was with real mud. The more I read about mud pies, the more intrigued I became. Then I found this recipe that adds BOURBON and I knew it was my destiny.
the crust: sugar, butter, salt, oreo cookies (without the creme centers)
place the cookies in a food processor and pulse to a fine crumb
mix with sugar and salt
You can use chocolate wafer cookies for the crust, but I couldn’t find any and I happened to be passing through Trader Joe’s where there were boxes upon boxes of TJ’s chocolate Joe Joe’s. If you need to make this dessert gluten-free, use the gluten-free TJ’s Joe Joe’s or some other equivalent brand. Nifty. Because I prefer a slightly higher crust-to-filling ratio and because the pie dish I used is deeper than my other dishes, I increased the amount of crust ingredients by 20%. There is no baking involved, just good old melty butter.
stir in the butter
pour the crust into the pie plate
press into the bottom and along the sides
It seems the name of the pie – Mississippi mud pie – refers to the thick layer of fudge at the bottom. As you can imagine, there are many variations on the pie, but I chose this one for the bourbon and the coffee ice cream. My original intention was to make my own batch of coffee ice cream, but in the interest of time and sanity, I grabbed a quart of TJ’s coffee ice cream. Sometimes I have to take care of Future Me.
filling: cream, toasted pecans, confectioner’s sugar, light corn syrup, coffee ice cream, bourbon, butter, chocolate
chop the pecans and the chocolate
heat the corn syrup, butter, and cream
pour the hot liquid over the chocolate
The pie is really a mocha pie with punches of bourbon. I doubled or tripled the amount of bourbon in the fudge components because all too often I’ve made recipes with bourbon and I can’t taste it at all. Well guess what? I can not only taste the bourbon in this pie, but I start to get a little (more) chatty after eating some. So if you don’t want a strong bourbon presence, then go with the original measurements (I list them in parentheses in the recipe), but if you opt for the Boozy version, then by all means – pour away.
whisk in the confectioner’s sugar
add the bourbon
pour the fudge into the pie crust and refrigerate
when the fudge is solidified, spread the softened ice cream on top
sprinkle the pecans on the ice cream
The one thing you cannot do with this pie is rush it. It needs time to let the fudge layer set. Then it needs time to let the ice cream layer firm up. If you fail to let the ice cream firm up, you will have Mississippi bourbon mud puddle pie. I kid you not. Ask me how I know. It might be best to make it a day in advance or at the very least, a half day in advance. And if you need to prepare this for say, a party or a big dinner, make it up to four days ahead and just keep it in the freezer (tightly wrapped to avoid collecting freezer odors – ewwww).
the fudge topping: cream, light corn syrup, butter, chocolate, bourbon
heat the corn syrup, butter, and cream
stir in the chocolate
add the bourbon
drizzle the topping over the pie
pop it into the freezer for at least 20 minutes
I don’t make a lot of pies because I really detest serving them. They look great in the pie plate and then fall to pieces the moment you try to get that first slice out. Pies make me cuss and this one was no exception. So the first bit of advice (as I mentioned above) is to freeze that sucker good and frozen. The second bit of advice is to use a hot knife (heat the blade over a gas flame or in hot water and wipe the water off) and run it along the edges to loosen the crust. The butter in the crust sticks like glue to the pie plate. Then heat a metal icing spatula or some other flexible thin metal spatula over a flame or with hot water, to slowly unstick the bottom of the pie crust. It requires patience and several iterations. This may mangle the first slice, but then you’ll have better access to the rest of the base. Or if you’re smarter than me, you might consider lining the bottom of the pie plate with parchment. If you don’t care about slice integrity, more power to ya!
At first, I thought serving the pie with whipped cream was just too much, but in the end I added whipped cream to cut the sweetness. Crazy, right? This pie is intended for serious indulgence. I nearly went blind on my second bite from the boozy, sweet, rich fudge layer alone. But Jeremy loved it. LOVED IT. When I suggested sending half of it over to our neighbors (because I was sick of looking at anything chocolate), he was mortified. So guess who ate most of a Mississippi bourbon mud pie in the past week?
top with whipped cream and shaved chocolate
the good kind of mud (pie)
24 whole oreo cookies, with creme centers removed (should yield 48 individual cookies or about 6.5 oz.)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
generous pinch of sea salt
6 tbsps unsalted butter, melted
4 oz. good-quality dark chocolate (60-72% cacao), chopped
5 tbsps heavy cream
3 tbsps unsalted butter
2 tbsps light corn syrup
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted (I never sift anything)
2 tbsps bourbon (original recipe calls for 1 tbsp, use 2 if you want it “boozy”)
1 pint premium coffee ice cream
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
2 tbsps heavy cream
2 tbsps unsalted butter
1 tbsp light corn syrup
3 oz. good-quality dark chocolate (60-72% cacao), chopped
1 tbsp bourbon (original recipe calls for 1 tsp, use 1 tbsp if you want it “boozy”)
Make the crust: Place the chocolate cookies in a food processor and pulse to a fine crumb texture. You should get about 1 3/4 cups of crumbs. In a medium bowl, stir the cookie crumbs, granulated sugar, and salt together. Mix in the melted butter. Press the mixture into the base and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate the crust.
Make the filling: Put the chopped chocolate into a large bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream, butter, and corn syrup to a simmer over medium-high heat. Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate and let it sit for 1 minute. Stir or whisk the chocolate mixture until smooth. Whisk in the confectioner’s sugar and the bourbon until fully incorporated and smooth. Evenly spread the bourbon fudge over the pie crust and chill for 2 hours or until set. When the fudge is set, soften the coffee ice cream by microwaving it on high for 10 seconds or letting it sit on the counter for 10 minutes. Spread the ice cream over the fudge layer and smooth the top. Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the ice cream and gently press them into the ice cream. Freeze the pie until the ice cream is firm (this will depend on your freezer, but it took me over 2 hours).
Make the topping: Combine the cream, butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate. Stir the chocolate until it is completely melted. [If you still have clumps of chocolate in the topping, then return the pan over very low heat and stir until everything is melted.] Stir in the bourbon and beat until it is room temperature (I used a whisk). Drizzle the fudge topping over the pie. Freeze for at least another 20 minutes. This can be made ahead and kept frozen (make sure it is well-sealed) for up to 4 days in advance. Slice the pie with a warm knife. Serves 8-10.
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