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Everything You Need to Know About Mississippi Mud Pie

The mysterious origins of a classic dessert.

Mississippi mud pie is a dessert with a history as murky as the waters of its namesake. Not to be confused with dirt cake or mud cake (no gummy worms) or even Mississippi mud cake, this beloved pie has been re-interpreted countless times, and always with different results. Here's a primer on the dessert claimed by the state of Mississippi but enjoyed from coast to coast.

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What is Mississippi mud pie?

According to The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, Mississippi mud pie is a rich chocolate dessert "variously composed of pudding, cake, biscuits, ice cream, whipped cream, marshmallows, and liqueur presented in a cookie crust." The pie is often built in layers, and topped with chocolate syrup, pecan, almonds, marshmallows, or chocolate shavings. Creative bakers have also been known to used miso, coffee grounds and bourbon in upgraded iterations of this humble pie.

Does it go by any other name?

In different forms Mississippi mud pie sometimes takes on alternative names. Those who forego the pie crust may call this treat "Chocolate Lasagna" or "Mississippi mud cake." Country crooner even Dolly Parton supplies a recipe for the latter version.

When and where did Mississippi mud pie originate?

Like many infamous and beloved dishes, the when and where of Mississippi mud pie's origins are unclear. Some think Mississippi mud pie is a 1970s reincarnation of Mississippi mud cake, which appeared in the World War II era. Thrifty women on the homefront might have developed the mud cake recipe in their search for ways to make desserts with cheap ingredients already available in their scanty wartime pantries.

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Photo from Shutterstock/Charles Place.


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