What the heck is a muffin bottom pie?
If there is one mystery that has plagued my mind long since Gilmore Girls aired, it’s Sookie’s Muffin Bottom Pie.
How did she make it?
What does it look like?
What else, other than muffin bottoms, did she put in it?
Where can I find a recipe for this magical, mythical dish?
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If you’re wondering what I’m going on about, let me refresh your memory. In Season 7, episode 12 (To Whom It May Concern), Sookie arrives at Lorelai’s house bright and early with a basket of fresh muffin tops. She’s trying to butter her up in a bid to get some free babysitting from Lorelai, and the quickest way to Lorelai’s heart is through her stomach. When Lorelai asks what Sookie did with the muffin bottoms, Sookie simply says:
“I made a muffin-bottom pie. It’s actually pretty good. I’m thinking about patenting it.”
And that was the last we ever heard of it. A seemingly insignificant moment in the show, but the concept of a muffin bottom pie really resonated with me for the next 10+ years. I scoured the Internet for a good recipe for years, but to no avail. I eventually gave up and resigned myself to the fact that Sookie really must have patented it, and that’s why nobody had a recipe for it.
The announcement of the Netflix-produced reunion episodes reignited my desire, and I knew that when the episodes aired, the only thing I wanted to be snacking on was muffin bottom pie.
There were still no recipes to be found online, so I started to discuss ideas with friends and family, where we came up with creating a bread and butter pudding-type dish with a pie crust on top, using muffin bottoms in place of bread. I was a little skeptical and unsure if I could even pull it off, but it was the best option I had.
The night before I was scheduled to make it, my sister Klara went to a Gilmore Girls-themed birthday party and made the discovery that would change my life – the (unofficial) Gilmore Girls cookbook – and in that book is a recipe for muffin bottom pudding pie. It was completely different to what I had planned, but I was sold on it.
There was a problem with the recipe for this Aussie girl though; it used American-brand Cool Whip, which can’t be found in Australia. A quick Google search told me that you can’t just use whipped cream, but thankfully there are some thoughtful American food bloggers out there who came up with homemade alternatives for their Australian followers. I used this recipe and found it to be the perfect amount for the pie.
My other problem was the vanilla pudding aspect. I wasn’t 100% sure what vanilla pudding even was, so I had to consult my Canadian-born, raised-in-America friend to translate for me. She sent me a link to this recipe and I was all set.
While it was a bit of extra work to make my own cool whip and vanilla pudding, I decided that Sookie herself would definitely have used all homemade elements as well. I’d like to think it turned out way yummier because I made them from scratch!!
How to make muffin bottom pie…
I made the vanilla pudding the night before, and this gave it the chance to set properly and really get that pudding-consistency you need. I made the whole pie the next morning, which was about 12 hours before we were going to be eating it. This is definitely something I recommend so that it can set properly, and the cool whip/pudding mix has a chance to soak into the muffin bottoms a bit too.
The pie was a huge hit and was the perfect accompaniment to our soft drink and pizza dinner, and it was so easy I will for sure be making it again. The original recipe used sugar in the pie crust as well, but I decided to omit it because it is already sweet and decadent enough.
So without further ado, here is my recipe for muffin bottom pie, as inspired by the Gilmore Girls cookbook!
Muffin Bottom Pie Recipe
4 double chocolate large muffin bottoms – I just bought these fresh from the bakery section at the grocery store
600ml thickened cream
1 tablespoon caster sugar
30g milk chocolate
Homemade cool whip
115g salt-reduced butter
1 x 250g packet Arnott’s Shredded Wheatmeal biscuit (graham cracker replacement)
Make vanilla pudding the night before
Refrigerate overnight, or a minimum of 5 hours to allow pudding to set and reach desired consistency.
Make cool whip
Once the pudding has set, make the cool whip.
*note: make sure gelatin completely cools before adding it to the cream mix. I put the gelatin mix in a small bowl and sat it in a larger bowl that was full of ice. This cooled it within minutes.
Once the cool whip is made, refrigerate until you are ready to use it for the pie.
Blitz shredded wheatmeal biscuits in a mixer until it resembles gritty sand. Melt the butter and mix it through the crushed biscuits in a large bowl. Once the mixture looks like wet sand, press it into the base of your pie dish. I don’t own a deep pie dish, so I used a large, flat bowl (23cm in diameter, 7cm deep). You definitely need a deep dish because the pie is layered like a trifle.
Make pie filling
Fold the vanilla pudding with the cool whip in a large bowl until thoroughly mixed through. The mixture will be quite thick and gluggy. Spread 1/3 of the pudding mixture over the pie base, just enough to cover it.
Take the muffin bottoms and slice them horizontally, so you end up with 8 circles. Arrange them in a flower shape to achieve maximum coverage. I had one slice leftover so I cut it into smaller pieces and squeezed them into a few cracks.
Spread the remaining pudding mixture over the muffin tops, making sure to cover as evenly as possible. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Meanwhile, whip the cream and keep until you are ready to serve. Spoon it over the top of the pie and, using a handheld zester, grate the milk chocolate across the top as a garnish. I used sugar free chocolate because it’s all I had and wanted to use it up, but any chocolate will be fine.
To serve, use a sharp knife to cut through the crust, spoon out the portions, and enjoy! If you’re looking for me, I’ll be stuffing my face with leftover muffin tops…