Mud Pie

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Today is May 1st, otherwise known to high school seniors as Decision Day. And like many (if not most) of today’s seniors, our son had a tough time making the final pick. He had applied to several schools site unseen, and we had made plans to visit both University of Oregon and Cal Poly for their accepted students days to give him a chance to compare his top two picks. And then the Coronavirus hit, changing life as we knew it and thwarting not just plans for college visits, but possibly starting college at all this coming fall.

Clay will be attending University of Oregon this fall

But even without the opportunity to make the trek up to Eugene, Clay was confident in his decision to attend the University of Oregon this coming fall. Earlier this week he made the commitment, and deposits and housing applications have been submitted. So I decided a family celebration was in order, complete with one of his favorite deserts, Mud Pie!

Mud pie is easy to make, it is mostly just assembly, but you do have to have some time on your hands as you need to freeze everything really well both between steps and before serving. It also requires no flour, so if you are out of that like me you can still make this showstopper.

Once the cookie crust has been baked and cooled completely you can proceed with adding the ice cream. Any coffee ice cream will do, but I like Breyers best. and the 1.5 quart size is perfect. You’ll want to let the ice cream soften for 15-20 minutes before scooping it into the crust so it will be easier to make an even layer. I often bring the dessert to this point the night before and let it freeze overnight, but this time we wanted it on the same day and I found that 5 solid hours in the freezer was enough time for the ice cream to set well before adding the hot fudge. If it is not frozen enough the ice cream will bubble up on you, which is not pretty but still delicious.

Once the ice cream is well frozen you can make your hot fudge sauce. I use Mark Bittman’s recipe, which is not overly sweet. I am going to include his recipe down below as I really think it makes the mud pie and the only links I can find to it are from other peoples blog posts. Do not skip the corn syrup if you can help it, especially for this recipe. It helps hold the sauce together on the mud pie.

Once the fudge sauce is set you can top with lightly sweetened whipping cream and serve. If I were making this for more than just the three of us I would spread the whipping cream over the entire pie before removing the sides of the spring form pan. But since we will not be able to finish the mud pie all at once I opted for topping each slice with whipped cream instead.

Mud Pie

Prep Time1 hour
Freezing Time10 hours
Total Time11 hours
Servings: 10 people


  • Spring Form Pan


  • 1 3/4 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 7 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 quarts coffee ice cream, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups hot fudge sauce
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp sugar


  • Use 1 tablespoon butter to grease 9" spring form pan. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter and set aside to cool.
  • Pulse whole chocolate wafer cookies in food processor until they are fine crumbs. Transfer 1 3/4 cups crumbs to mixing bowl, reserve remaining crumbs for another use.
  • Pour butter over cookie crumbs and mix with your hand until the mixture resembles wet sand. Press crumb mixture firmly into greased pan, going up about 1/2" on the sides. Place crust in fridge and chill for 15-20 minutes while preheating oven to 350˚. Bake crust for 10-15 minutes, just until fragrent. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
  • Scoop softened ice cream over crust and use offset spatula to spread evenly over crust. Start in the center and work your way out, being careful as you get to the edges as you do not want to pull the crust into the ice cream. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 5 hours.
  • After the ice cream is well frozen, make your hot fudge sauce (recipe below). Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes in liquid measuring cup so it will be easier to pour.
  • Once the fudge sauce has cooled, remove pie from freezer and pour fudge sauce evenly over ice cream. Cover with plastic wrap and return to freezer for at least 5 hours.
  • When you are ready to serve your mud pie, whip the cream with sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks just begin to form. Remove mud pie from freezer, cover with whip cream and remove spring form pan sides, slice and serve. Alternately, you can top individual slices with whip cream and store remaining mud pie in freezer and remaining whip cream in fridge.
  • If you like, sprinkle some of the reserved cookie crumbs on top of each slice.

Mark Bittman’s Hot Fudge Sauce

Prep Time15 minutes
Cooling time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes


  • 4 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  • Combine first 5 ingredients in small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Add corn syrup, bring mixture just to a boil, then turn heat back to low. Stir constantly for about 5 minutes until glossy and thick.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before using, longer if using for mud pie recipe.

And lest anyone think that the situation with Clay’s hair is purely a COVID-19 crisis, here is a throwback photo to remind us all how he has always been hard to get into the barber chair!

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