ooey gooey – mississippi hazelmud tart

ooey gooey – mississippi hazelmud tart

Mississippi Mud desserts usually fall into two camps: a pie with ice cream or pudding filling; or a cake/brownie. Either way, the result is intensely chocolate, rich in texture, and sublimely decadent—all the while resembling the mud of the Mississippi riverbanks.

You can trace the origins of Mississippi Mud Pie back to World War II and its southern roots. It was made with simple ingredients widely available in grocery stores—the piecrusts were made from scratch with flour, sugar, butter and eggs. Nowadays, almost all the crusts rely on crushed cookie crumbs from chocolate wafers, such as Oreos minus the filling, to enhance the flavor.

From pastry chefs to home cooks, modern interpretations of the Mississippi Mud Pie feature such ingredients as bourbon, espresso, coffee, marshmallows and nuts. Sometimes it still looks like a pie or a cake—and occasionally you’ll see them in the form of an ice cream sandwich or even deconstructed across a plate. Whatever the shape may be, it’s nothing short of an orgasmic chocolate experience.

For my version of this down-home classic, I’ve combined the best of both the pie and the cake to create the ultimate ooey gooey chocolate mud slide of a dessert. The chocolate wafer crust with the addition of hazelnuts sets the base, and a rich chocolate hazelnut pudding forms the creamy center. Piled high in the center for that messy muddy appearance, cubes of hazelnut brownies sit coated in a luxurious ganache—with just a few chopped hazelnuts sprinkled on top to clue you in on the choice of nuts.



Mississippi Hazelmud Tart


Hazelnut Brownies
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounce/1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (3-3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1-1/2 cups (10-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
Chocolate Hazelnut Tart Shell
  • 1 box (9 ounces) chocolate wafers
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces/1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
Chocolate Hazelnut Pudding
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup nutella
Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache and Assembly
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup nutella
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • Hazelnut Brownies, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (you can varied the size a bit)
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped (optional)


Hazelnut Brownies

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325℉. Line 8- by 8-inch baking dish with parchment, allowing excess to overhang edges. Spray parchment with cooking spray.

2. Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over medium saucepan filled with 1/2 inch of barely simmering water (don’t let bowl touch water), stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 5 minutes; cool slightly. Combine flour, cocoa, salt and espresso in bowl, set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk sugar, eggs and vanilla until combined, add cooled melted chocolate and whisk to combine. Using a rubber spatula, fold in flour mixture until no streaks of flour remain. Fold in hazelnuts and pour batter into prepared pan (smooth top with small off-set spatula if needed). Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few wet crumbs attached, about 25-35 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely in pan.

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart Shell

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350℉. In bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade, process wafers and salt until crumbs are uniformly fine. Add butter and hazelnuts and continue to pulse until butter is evenly distributed.

2. Divide crumbs evenly (about 1/2 cup each) into eight 5-inch tart mold, press crumbs evenly onto bottom and up sides of tart mold. Refrigerate lined pie plate 20 minutes to firm crumbs, then bake until crumbs are fragrant and set, about 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Chocolate Hazelnut Pudding

1. Stir together vanilla and espresso powder in bowl; set aside. Whisk sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt together in large saucepan. Whisk in yolks, cream and milk until fully incorporated, making sure to scrape corners of saucepan.

2. Place saucepan over medium heat; cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbling over entire surface, about 5 minutes. remove from heat, add butter, chocolate, nutella and whisk until melted and fully incorporated. Whisk in vanilla mixture.

3. Divide warm pudding evenly into prepared tart shells and place in refrigerator to cool, at least one hour.

Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache and Assembly

1. Place chocolate, nutella and salt in a medium bowl, set aside.

2. Bring heavy cream and corn syrup to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat (bubbles around the edges). Pour cream mixture over chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Stir mixture until smooth. Add brownie cubes and toss until fully coated.

3.  Remove prepared tarts from the refrigerator and divide brownie cubes evenly between them. Sprinkle chopped hazelnuts (if use) on top. Let set on counter or refrigerate for 30 minute before serving.