Fudge Bottom Pie Perfected

fudge bottom pie slice
Guys.  Guys.  Ok.  Guys.  I have tortured myself; myself and Mike; myself, Mike and my parents at one point in a quest, making this over and over again in order to bring you a truly perfected Fudge Bottom Pie.  Oh, the torture.

fudge bottom pie viewed from above
It looks simple.  It is simple.  But it is simply a flavor explosion.
Over a year’s worth of trial and error sheer torture.  (cough, not)  Welcome to my first installment of Becky’s Test Kitchen!

See, so, apparently, there’s this famous pie from the University of Wisconsin Madison called Fudge Bottom Pie.  What on goodness green earth could be wrong with that?  Aaahhh nothin’.

So even despite being from the Midwest, not far from Madison in fact, I had never heard of this pie.  Truly bizarre.  An almost embarrassing life omission somehow.  Read up on it, it’s a great story. 

Originally this popped into my inbox from The Kitchn.  And immediately I knew I had to make it.  Graham crust?  Vanilla pudding?  Chocolate layer?!  Omg, yes, bring it on!

Well, until I read the comments.  Comments can be very helpful, that is for dang sure.  Folks had numerous issues with the recipe as written.  I opted to give it a whirl anyway or to be honest, a variation of it, for a dessert to bring to my folks.  Fail number one, of sorts.

At dessert time, Mike shot me The Look after his first bite and blurted, “I am mad at you!”  Awkward silence around the table.  “This is your first try at this recipe and it’s already this good?!  Jeez babe.”
In fairness, it was delightful but slicing it was a messy disaster; it pooled and collapsed everywhere.  Plus I knew it could taste even better. 

Unsatisfied, game on.

My next attempt?  Bigger fail.  I used arrowroot* instead of cornstarch and hey guess what I didn’t know?  Arrowroot and dairy do not mix.  At.  All.  Let’s talk messier swimming pool puddle, shall we?

Yikes, yeah, no, that was bad.  Real bad. 

So I searched out other versions of this recipe to find most are generally quite similar.  Hmph, that’s not gonna work for me.

I branched out.  I bravely blazed a new trail in the Fudge Bottom Pie genre.  Yeah.  I did.  And I did it, I won my own pie challenge!

Taking bits and pieces from all over the heck place, from the Blueberry Cheesecake Pie to regular ol’ chocolate ganache to going with a pastry cream from Lil Luna, I assembled Theee Fudge Bottom Pie All-Star Recipe.  This is everything you want. 

Mostly.  Mostly.  It’s still not a pretty, clean, picture-perfect well-shaped slice (those Kitchn slices are totally false!) but if you make this and taste it, you’ll see, who the hell cares.  This pie is so unbelievably good, it just will not matter what the heck it looks like.  Hey, we’re not all food photographers but we are equal opportunity pie eaters.  That said, you’ll have to forgive the not-perfect slice photos. 

slice of fudge bottom pie on plate
Such as this one.  Heh. Splop. I have gotten this more shapely previously, so it is possible.
Let’s do this, stop dilly-dallying, it is Fudge Bottom Pie time.

Whisk up the egg yolks with the sugar and cornstarch and salt while the milk and cream are heating up together.  Whisk until you get that pretty pale yellow color.

sugar whisked with yolks
Isn’t that just the prettiest color?!  I know, I know, say that every single damn time.
So, when making this pastry cream, you’ll want it to go far with the thickening.  Like, to the point where you’re freaking out “omg what am I doing did I go too far to wallpaper paste?!  Becky!!”  Do note, once it does start thickening it is gonna go snap, lightning-fast, stay on top of it.  In researching for this, I read it’s possible to go too far to where it breaks.  I’m not helping.  

Take the thickening to almost paste-like (sorry to sound gross) but don’t go too far.  The thicker it is, the more it’ll stand up as a slice.

cooked pastry cream
Ready to chill!  This is yes, still on the softer side, you can try to go further than this with thickening.
Chill that pastry cream in its own bowl until it has cooled enough then transfer it later.  Trust me, do it this way — if you scoop scorching hot pudding into your set crust, the chocolate will re-melt and it just gets weird.  Or that was my experience.  

Next, make the crust from the Blueberry Cheesecake Pie recipe, omit the sugar.  Bake it up, let it cool.  Easy peasy.

collage of images showing making the crust
Clockwise from top left: graham crackers and vanilla wafers to be crumbed; add the melted butter; press the crust into your pie dish starting with the sides then finish with the bottom; baked!
After that crust has cooled, you’ll line that deeeelicious shell with a layer of nummy chocolate.  Yep, that’s right, hence the fudge bottom of Fudge Bottom Pie.  Most recipes call for water to be mixed with the chocolate but I found that totally diluted the chocolate flavor and well, was just plain wrong.  Mix it with cream or milk, waaaay better.  And spread it up the sides too, why let the bottom have all the fun?!

pouring chocolate layer on bottom of pie crust
Melted chocolate becomes a mirror when photographing, hence this bizarre angle, sorry!  Looks too this was an older shot — do take the chocolate up the sides and don’t use water.
Once that has set up, scoop in the pastry cream then pop everything into the fridge to set up for quite a few hours, a minimum of six is good though overnight would be best.

pastry cream layer atop chocolate
Pie!  I’m drooling on myself.
Serve this bad boy up with some whipped cream and feel free to get all bougie with some shaved chocolate.

side view of pie slice
I, I just, this, I, this pie is so good.

closer view of pie slice side
Mike chuckles every time he slices this as he’s pestered me to make it more easily sliceable, heh.
For sure, I know you will enjoy this one!  Happy eating!

And be sure to check out my upcoming #bakersagainstracism Virtual Bake Sale!  Pre-ordering begins October 12, 2020 for Chicago area folk and donations are happily being accepted now!

Note:  This content originally appeared on Flaky Bakers.

Fudge Bottom Pie Perfected

Fudge Bottom Pie Perfected

Prep time
50 Min
Cook time
15 Min
Inactive time
6 Hour
Total time
7 H & 4 M
A categorical winner, this reimagined dreamy vanilla pudding pie with a layer of chocolate atop a superb cookie crust is utterly transcendent.


Pudding Layer
  • 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) heavy cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (99 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (28 g) cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) unsalted butter
Graham Cracker-Vanilla Wafer Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups (203 g) graham cracker and vanilla wafer crumbs, see note
  • 6 tablespoons (85 g) butter, melted
  • 4 oz. (113 g) dark or semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk
  • 1 cup (237 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons (14 g) powdered sugar
  • shaved chocolate, optional


Pudding Layer
  1. In a saucepan, begin warming the milk and heavy cream together on medium low until it has warmed and steam is rising.
  2. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a medium sized bowl until the mixture is a pale yellow color.
  3. Slowly stream about half of the hot milk/cream combination into the whisked eggs combination while whisking constantly to temper the eggs.
  4. Pour the tempered egg mix through a fine mesh strainer back into the saucepan, turn the heat to about medium and whisk constantly as the pudding thickens.
  5. Make sure the pudding thickens further than a regular pudding; it should nearly resemble a paste of sorts.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat, add the vanilla and butter, whisk together until the butter has melted. Transfer the pudding to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding and chill.
  1. Start preheating the oven to 325° F (160° C).
  2. Either zip the graham crackers and vanilla wafers in a food processor or smash them to crumbs in a plastic bag then measure out 1 1/2 cups.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir the crumbs and the melted butter together or combine everything in the food processor.
  4. Pour the crumb mixture into a 9” deep dish pie pan, pressing evenly around starting with the sides and ending with the bottom. Bake the crust for 8 minutes and let cool.
  5. Once the crust has cooled, melt the chocolate with the milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds to 1 minute on 50% power. Stir until smooth.
  6. Pour the melted chocolate into the crust and spread it evenly around the bottom and also up the sides if preferred. Set aside.
Assembly and Serve
  1. Once the pudding has cooled enough (it doesn’t need to be entirely chilled though it can be), spread the pudding into the crust, cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface, and chill in the refrigerator for at minimum 6 hours to overnight before serving.
  2. To serve, whip the 1 cup of heavy cream with the powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Dollop the whipped cream atop the entire pie or individual slices. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate if desired.


Use any combination of graham crackers and vanilla wafers to equal 1 1/2 cups. Six whole cracker sheets plus 16 vanilla wafers is half and half.

Inspired by a collection of various recipes from The Merchant Baker, Flaky Bakers, Lil Luna, as well as The Kitchn.

Nutrition Facts



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Please see the "info" section for nutrition details and information about gram weights.

pie, pudding, fudge bottom, black bottom

*The arrowroot is an Amazon affiliate link.  Happy baking, thanks!  Please see the "info" tab for more, well, info.

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