Fudge Bottom Pie

Photo credit: Wisconsin State Journal, M.P. KingIngredients:



2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup light brown sugar

4 Tbsp melted butter

Mix ingredients.  Press firmly in bottom of a pie tin.  Bake 5 minutes at 350°.

Fudge Layer:

2 (2 oz) squares chocolate, baking, semi-sweet

3 Tbsp sugar, granulated

3 Tbsp water

Melt chocolate over low heat.  Add sugar, mix well.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved.  Add extra water if necessary to make a hot fudge consistency.  Spread over the bottom of the crust.

Cream Filling:

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1 cup sugar, granulated

1/8 Tsp salt

7 egg yolks, beaten

4 cups whole milk, cold

1/3 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Add the cornstarch, sugar and salt to the eggs. Mix until well blended.  Over medium-low heart slowly add the milk. Stir constantly until the mixture boils. Thicken until no starch taste remains. Add the vanilla to the cooled custard. Pour over the fudge layer and chill.


3/4 cup & 1 Tbsp whipping cream, chilled

1 Tbsp sugar, powdered (sifted)

1/2 Tsp vanilla extract

1 square (1 oz), baking, semi-sweet

Place ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Whip until stiff.  Spread on top of the pie.  Garnish
the pie with grated or shaved chocolate.

Don’t forget to share your creation with us at #uwdining and #uwfudgebottompie

About the recipe and its creator

The unique recipe was created by a celebrated chef and a civil rights pioneer, Carson Gulley during his long career at UW Dining.  Born in 1897 to a family of sharecroppers in Arkansas, Carson Gulley started working at a cotton field at age 6 receiving little schooling. To enrich Gulley’s education, his parents sent him off to a nearby community where he graduated High School. After graduation, he worked as an educator and continued the trade of his parents. However, soon, disappointed by the low wages and seeking an opportunity to develop his culinary skills, Gulley moved to different cities where he worked as a chef. In 1926, while working at Essex Lodge in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, Gulley met the Director of University Housing, Don Halverson. Impressed by his culinary skills, Halverson offered Gulley a position at UW Dining.

During his early career at UW, Gulley faced segregation and discrimination as severe as in the South. In 1935, Gulley almost gave up his position at UW-Dining to take up a job at a different state. His neighbors were circulating petitions to evict himself and his wife, Beatrice Russey, from their home as they didn’t want African Americans in the building. Yet, Don Halverson resolved Gulley’s housing problem by permitting the Gulleys to build an apartment in the basement of Tripp Residence Hall.

In 1936, Carson Gulley was invited by the President of the Tuskegee Institute to develop a 10-week commercial dietetics training course. He would lead this program, spending time immersed in life at one of the most important centers of African American identity in the United States. As part of his teaching at Tuskegee, Gulley worked with and was influenced by Dr George Washington Carver, who told him; “Chef Gulley, you are an artist, and you are dealing with the finest of all arts.  You give so much time to the little things that most cooks overlook…”

Replicating his Tuskegee teaching experience, Gulley developed a successful Cooks and Bakers School for the U.S. Navy at the UW from 1942 – 1944. From 1944 – 1951 he helped develop a professional cook’s training school at the UW. As an instructor of the professional cook’s training school, Gulley was one of the early African American instructors on campus.

In 1949 Gulley published his first cookbook, Seasoning Secrets – something first suggested to him at Tuskegee by Dr George Washington Carver.  Already a well-known personality in Madison, the cookbook added to his celebrity, creating more opportunities for him to address various groups around the state, oftentimes speaking in towns that had no African American residents.

His celebrity continued to grow and he had radio programs on local Madison stations and in 1953 Carson and Beatrice were invited to star in a local cooking program on WMTV television called What’s Cookin’. Gulley was one of the early African Americans with his own TV program in the United States, and it is the only known program to feature an African American husband and wife team in a television program in the United States during the 1950s.

Gulley retired from the University in 1954, after 27 years of service, after continually being passed over for Director of Dormitory Food Services and other promotions that went to younger, less qualified white candidates. After retiring, he focused on his catering, TV, radio and speaking ventures.

In 1954, the Gulleys purchased land to build a home in the new Crestwood subdivision. Once again they were faced with white neighbors circulating a petition to prevent them from moving in.  A special meeting of the cooperative was held in September, to vote on this issue.  In an intense and divisive meeting, the housing co-op voted 64 to 30, against the proposal and invited the Gulleys to join the Crestwood community. Some residents did sell their homes and moved out. While this was an early and public individual victory for open housing in Madison, more systemic change in Madison Housing laws would not happen for another decade.

In 1961, the Gulleys decided to expand their catering business to a full-fledged restaurant. They built a new building that would be their home and business which opened on September 15, 1962. Two weeks later Gulley became ill and entered the hospital. Carson Gulley never recovered and passed away on November 2, 1962.

On February 20th, 1966 the building where Gulley spent his University career, was re-dedicated as Carson Gulley Commons.  This was the first university building named after a civil service employee and the first named after an African American.

Just as its creator, the recipe has a long and memorable history of its own. Since its creation in the mid-20th century, the pie became students and alumni favorite and one of the most recognizable recipes at University Housing.

You can try the original fudge bottom pie at Buckingham Bakery at Gordon Avenue Market and Four Lakes Market.