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Dirt Pie

Dirt Pie

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Royal Temptations Catering

Dirt pie

See Chef Oonagh make this recipe on New Hampshire’s ABC WMUR Channel 9’s Cook’s Corner.

This is easy enough for kids to make on their own with supervision. I have made these individually for children’s birthday parties (some prefer it to birthday cake, even teenagers). I’ve added to the fun by using lego figures, cartoon figures, silk flowers and decorations for 4th of July or Halloween themed parties.

Be sure to double check the ingredients of the cookies and candies you purchase to ensure they’re gluten-free. I used Trader Joe’s ‘Joe Joes’ or Pamela’s Products Chocolate mini cookies which taste more like the dark chocolate (icebox) cookies. You can use the cream recipe below if you prefer that over whipped topping.


  • 10 oz. of gluten-free Oreo-style or other cookies (bit more or less doesn’t really matter), crushed fine, in food processor or in heavy duty Ziploc bag using a rolling pin. Use the entire cookie and let the processor grind it to fine breadcrumbs. Don’t remove the filling from the cookies. (Don’t laugh, in my wheat-eating days, I have had parents tell me they let kids scrape out all the filling from Oreos and eat it.)
  • 1 box gluten-free instant vanilla pudding (usually a 4 oz. box)
  • 1 + ¾ cup milk (1% milk is fine)
  • 4 oz. gluten-free whipped topping or cream substitution (instructions below)
  • 4 oz. (half a normal packet) softened cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) soft butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar


  1. In a large bowl mix the pudding with milk using an electric mixer or whisk. Then, while it’s still runny, add the whipped topping or your cream substitution. Beat together until smooth.
  2. In another bowl mix the cream cheese and soft butter. Then mix in the powdered sugar.
  3. Mix both bowls together using electric mixer until totally blended and no streaks are visible. Try and do this while the vanilla pudding mix is still quite soft. Mixture will set reasonably firm on sitting.
  4. Depending how you want to use this recipe, layer cream with cookie crumbs in a dish equivalent to an 8×8” or in approximately 6 small custard cups, disposable decorative cups or a 6” deep brand new plastic flower pot.
  5. Layer cookies-pudding-cookies-pudding-cookies. Chill
  6. Decorate with gummy worms or with Disney characters instead of a birthday cake or using a flower pot, plant with silk flowers for an Adult party. I pour white chocolate musical notes for music recital, soccer balls etc.

For cream instead of cool whip:

  1. Whisk 1 cup of heavy cream with ¼ cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp. gluten-free vanilla extract and 1/8 tsp. xanthan gum until stiff and continue with recipe. If you can’t tolerate xanthan gum, stir 1 tsp. of plain Knox gelatine into 2 Tbsp. cold water and leave to thicken. Microwave for about 10 seconds until it looks like a clear, but golden liquid with no lumps. Whisk the cream, sugar and vanilla, make the jello pudding, make the cream cheese mix, mix cream cheese, jello and cream mixes together and then whisk dissolved gelatin into creamy mix. Then layer with cookie crumbs.

Additional Quantities

  • 3 times this recipe fills a 2 x 9 x 13” glass lasagna pans with a layer of crumbs on bottom, one layer of filling and then topped with crumbs. You need 1 30 oz. bag of gluten-free cookies for this amount. Sprinkle approximately 1 cup of cookie crumbs on base of glass pan.
  • 5 times this recipe fills a 3 x 9 x 13” glass lasagna pan.

Suggestions for a Dairy-Free Version

  • Neither the Trader Joe’s nor Pamela’s cookies contain dairy.
  • Milk substitution for making the instant jello: I find if I use almond milk I need to use less than the 1+3/4 cup as it doesn’t thicken. For example, I add a 12 oz. can of mango nectar to instant vanilla pudding rather than 16 oz. (2 cups) of dairy milk for it to firm up.
  • Buy Asian coconut milk and scoop out coconut cream from the top. There are some brands of canned coconut cream, not pina colada coconut that’s so sweet. You can also get 1/2 lb. bricks of coconut cream (like cream cheese packet). This would take the place of both cream cheese and whipped cream. Thin coconut milk leftover instead of dairy milk for instant jello. You can also make an egg white meringue and fold that in for fluffiness.
  • Make a gelatin set custard using So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Creamer and instant jello, or cooked jello pudding with So Delicious.

About Oonagh Williams

Chef Oonagh’s son was diagnosed with celiac disease over 5 years ago with no previous symptoms. She has non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’) and also has cousins with celiac disease. ‘Like’ Chef Oonagh at Gluten Free Cooking with Oonagh on Facebook where she posts links to her recipes, her Delicious Gluten Free Cooking cookbook (over 200 pages), appearances on the local ABC station, products, her classes, and where you can meet her when she speaks at conferences nationwide. E-mail at [email protected]. Chef Oonagh has a culinary arts degree, trained in London and Switzerland and lives in New Hampshire.

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