Makes:1 (9-inch) pie (8 to 10 servings)
Mud pie—not to be confused with Mississippi mud pie, which is a chocolate pie—needs only a chocolate cookie crust, coffee ice cream, and fudge sauce, according to its creator, Joanna Droeger. Here we’ve stayed true to the original with an intense espresso gelato and chocolate ganache, but added a little sweetened whipped cream on top. This easy-to-make pie can be assembled in advance for parties. Note: Unless you want your kids jumping off the walls, we recommend not serving this caffeinated treat to the little ones.
Game plan: Make sure you have enough room in your freezer before you begin. You’ll need a flat area at least 10 by 10 inches to accommodate the pie comfortably.
To slice the frozen pie, warm a sharp knife in hot water for about 30 seconds, then use a kitchen or paper towel to dry the knife. Slice the pie while the knife is still warm, pushing the knife down into the pie and slowly removing it. Clean the knife off and repeat warming, drying, slicing, and cleaning with each cut. If the pie is still too frozen to easily slice, let it sit for another 5 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
Place cookies in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process until the pieces are about the size of peas. Stop the motor, add the melted butter, and continue to process until the crumbs are fine, about the size of coarsely ground coffee (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). Alternatively, place the cookies in a resealable plastic bag, press out the air, and seal. Using a rolling pin, smash into fine crumbs until uniform. Transfer to a medium bowl, add melted butter, and mix until evenly combined.
Pour crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and, using the bottom of a cup or your fingers, press firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides. Bake until fragrant, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
For the ganache:
Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl; set aside.
Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Pour over chocolate and let stand until chocolate has softened, about 5 minutes.
Add butter and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly before using.
Place gelato in the refrigerator until slightly softened, about 30 minutes. Place cookie crust in the freezer until chilled, about 30 minutes.
Remove softened gelato from the container and transfer to a large bowl. Stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until it is spreadable but not liquidy. Working quickly, spread the softened gelato into the crust in an even layer (leaving any melted gelato in the bowl). If the gelato in the pie looks like it’s melting, place the pie in the freezer until solid before proceeding.
Pour the warm ganache over the gelato and tilt the pie plate to evenly coat. Immediately transfer the pie to a flat surface in the freezer until completely frozen, at least 3 hours.
Let the pie sit at room temperature until the ganache just begins to soften, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cream, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk until soft peaks have formed (they should droop over like soft-serve ice cream), about 3 minutes; serve atop pie slices. If not serving immediately, tightly wrap the frozen pie in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 1 week.