Little Girdlebuster pies

It was years ago when I first saw Nigella on TV. Somehow I’d missed the buzz around ‘How to be a domestic goddess’ and jumped on board the Nigella train around the time the ‘Nigella Bites’ TV series was airing. Everything she made looked so delicious and seemed simple to cook. The very first recipe I tried was her linguini with pancetta and it was divine so I kept watching her TV shows and working my way through her recipes. Funnily enough, I don’t own any of her cookbooks, I’ve always borrowed them or Googled recipes.

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to see her new live show, An Evening with Nigella Lawson. She was fabulous and just like her TV self. I’m not sure what made me think of it, but I remembered making her Girdlebuster Pie for NYE about 7 years ago and I had a sudden urge to make it again.

Like the name suggests, the Girdlebuster Pie is a full fat, full sugar dessert experience! There’s a crunchy little biscuit/chocolate base, coffee ice cream middle, all topped off with a silky butterscotch sauce. The last time I made this I didn’t lay it flat in the freezer and the butterscotch topping slid off and froze in puddles throughout my freezer drawers. This time I’ve made miniature versions in muffin tins which are much easier to store, and serve.

You can make each element in advance. The crusts can stay in the freezer until you need them, adding the next part when you’re ready. If you’re making your own coffee ice cream you’ll need an ice cream maker, otherwise use store bought.

For the base


190g digestive biscuits
40g soft butter
50g dark chocolate, roughly chopped


Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and whiz until a damp crumb forms. Drop tablespoonfuls into the bottom of muffin tins and tamp down with a glass. Pop into the freezer for at least an hour, or until you’re ready to use them.


For the coffee ice cream


250ml milk
500ml cream
150g sugar
6 tablespoons medium ground coffee (I used my favourite, Rabbit Island)
pinch of salt
6 egg yolks


In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, half of the cream, 100g of the sugar, coffee and salt. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot but not boiling. Remove from the heat, cover, and steep for 15 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining 50g of the sugar. Set aside.
Make an ice bath in a large bowl (or the sink) and set a medium size bowl in the ice. Pour the remaining 250ml cream in the bowl and set a fine sieve over the top.
Gradually add the warm coffee milk into the egg yolks, whisking continuously. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a silicon spatula (or similar) until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spatula.
Immediately pour over the strainer, into the cream, pressing gently to make sure as much of the custard passes through as possible.
Stir the custard over the ice bath until cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
If you prefer, you can strain the mixture through muslin to remove any coffee grinds, although they are edible.
Place a large metal bowl in the freezer. Churn the ice cream in your ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once churned, transfer the ice cream to the metal bowl and if it’s softened too much, return it to the freezer. Otherwise spoon on top of the bases and smooth into an even layer. Cover with Gladwrap and return the muffin tins to the freezer.

For the topping


300g golden syrup
100g brown sugar
75g butter
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons bourbon
125ml cream


Add the golden syrup, brown sugar, butter and salt to a small saucepan and let it melt over a low-medium heat, before turning it up and boiling for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the bourbon. Finally, add the cream and stir it into the sauce.
Leave it to cool to room temperature before spooning on top of each little pie. Return to the freezer until set, then cover with Gladwrap until you’re ready to serve them.

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Once removed from the freezer, serve immediately. If you leave them to soften they’ll be soft to remove from the tin.

Store left over pies, covered, in the freezer for up to one month.

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  • Coffee ice cream recipe via David Lebovitz.
  • You will have leftover butterscotch sauce. Store it, covered, in the fridge and use over ice cream.

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