If you could combine the richness of a brownie with the crunch of cookie, the homeliness of a slice of pie, the lightness of whipped cream all laced with a splash of rum, than this would be it. I had a Southern-themed dinner the other day: North Carolina-style pulled pork, coleslaw, and I decided on Mississippi mud pie for the chocolate-loving guest. But then, what is Mississippi mud pie? It seems everyone has a different definition. It should have chocolate and probably pecans, but from there it's anyone's guess. Some make it with a pudding filling, some with a baked custard, some insist it should be all filled with ice cream, while others say it must be served with ice cream. It should have a cookie crust, but should it be made with graham cracker, chocolate cookies, or pecan sandies? Should it have whipped cream? Should there be pecans on top or on the bottom, or none at all.
I found no consensus when searching online for recipes, where most of them called for things like instant pudding and cream cheese and store-bought crusts. My Southern cookbooks were devoid of Mississippi mud pie recipes, perhaps fearing the controversy. So I simply gave up and just made up a recipe of my own, collected from some of the recipes I had read. Also, I was tired of typing "Mississippi" into search engines.
I'm not much of a chocolate fan, but I don't care, this pie rocks. It's rich and sweet and crunchy and creamy all at once. There hasn't been anyone around to help with leftovers, and I don't mind working away at them, all by myself. Which is what I think I'll do right now, if you'll just excuse me for a moment.
Mississippi Mud Pie
for the chocolate cookie crust:
8 tbl butter, 9 ounces chocolate cookies or 1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 quart heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons good dark rum
16-20 whole pecans, toasted
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Make crust: combine chocolate cookies and salt in food processor and grind to crumbs. Melt the butter and then drizzle it into the food processor, pulsing occasionally until clumpy and combined. Press crumbs into pie pan. Bake 7-10 minutes until just firm but not darkened in color.
2. Combine butter and chocolate in a saucepan and melt over moderate heat until combined, stirring occasionally alternately, you can do this in a large bowl in the microwave). Remove from heat and let the mixture cool slightly (about a minute), then beat in the eggs until combined. Beat in the sugar, then the corn syrup and vanilla. Pour into pie crust and place in the oven. Bake 35-40 minutes, until the filling is set and cackled on the top. Watch that the pie crust edges don't burn.
3. Let the pie cool completely to room temperature. In the meantime, chill the cream, and if you'd like chill the bowl and the beaters (this will help the cream whip-up faster). Whip the cream to stuff peaks, then beat in the sugar and the rum, taste to see if it needs more sugar or more rum.
4. Spread whipped cream over pie, decorate with pecans. Serve at room temperature (leftovers straight from the fridge are good too).