Thursday, March 14, 2013
Grasshopper Pie for National Pi Day & St. Patrick's Day
Pi Day is an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant Pi. Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. Pi Day is observed on March 14 (or 3/14), since 3, 1 and 4 are the three most significant digits of Pi in the decimal form. In 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day.
Grasshopper Pie is named because for its green color, although modern recipes may omit coloring the pie green. That would be a shame, though, since it's what makes it a classic. This pie was most likely invented in the 1950s in the U.S, and may have been inspired by the "Grasshopper Cocktail" invented at about the same time. Grasshopper Pie is a chiffon pie usually made with a Chocolate Cookie Crust, so you see why it's perfect for DyingforChocolate.com.
Chiffon pies in the 1950s were often a combination of whipping cream, gelatin, sugar, eggs, and flavoring (see vintage recipe at the end of this post). In the case of the Grasshopper Pie, common flavoring used was alcohol in the form of crème de menthe, and sometimes other alcohol like crème de cacao. For non-alcoholic pie, mint flavoring was achieved by using mint extracts instead, though these might still contain a tiny amount of alcohol. Green food coloring gave the pie a light green color.
There are huge differences between classic recipes for Grasshopper Pie and modern ones. Since gelatin can be annoying to work with, many people now prepare the pie by melting marshmallows and blending them with milk or whipping cream, and sometimes cream cheese. Several recipes advocate the use of specific cookies like Oreos in the crust, but I use chocolate wafers.
In the US, Grasshopper Pie tends to be most popular in the South, but other parts of the country enjoy it too. The pie rose in popularity especially up until the 1970s. Many ice cream stores capitalized on the flavor of this pie by producing their own version with mint or mint chocolate chip ice cream and a cookie crust. Some ice cream stores are particularly known for their grasshopper ice-cream pies.
Following are several different recipes for Grasshopper Pie. As I said, this is perfect for Pi Day and St. Patrick's Day! Let me know if you have a special family recipe.
Simple Grasshopper Mallow Pie
1/4 cup green creme de menthe
1 jar (7 oz.) JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme
1 pt. (2 cups) whipping cream, whipped
1 OREO Pie Crust (6 oz.)
ADD creme de menthe gradually to marshmallow creme in large bowl, beating with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in whipped cream.
POUR into crust.
REFRIGERATE 4 to 6 hours or until chilled. Store leftover pie in refrigerator.
Frozen Grasshopper Pie
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 rows Oreo cookies (lg. pkg.) crushed (you can also use chocolate wafers)
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 c. creme de menthe
1/4 c. white creme de cacao
2 c. (1 pt.) whipping cream, whipped
Combine crushed Oreos and butter and press in bottom of 9 x 13 inch pan.
In large bowl combine sweetened milk, creme de menthe and creme de cacao.
Fold in whipped cream.
Pour over crust. Cover.
Freeze 6 hours or until firm. Garnish with chocolate curls. Return leftovers to freezer.
Expert Grasshopper Pie
From Bon Appétit
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
22 chocolate wafer cookies
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup whole milk
Pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Baker’s or Lindt), chopped
2 tablespoons sweet butter
2 tablespoons green crème de menthe
2 tablespoons light crème de cacao
3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
Shaved white and dark chocolates
For crust: Spray 9-inch-diameter glass or ceramic pie dish with nonstick spray. Finely grind chocolate cookies and sugar in processor. Blend in butter. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of prepared dish. Freeze.
For filling: Combine milk and salt in heavy small saucepan. Bring to simmer. Whisk egg yolks and cornstarch in medium bowl to blend well. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Return mixture to same saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture thickens, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate and butter; whisk until smooth. Transfer custard to large bowl. Whisk in crème de menthe and crème de cacao. Set custard over another large bowl of ice water until cold and thick but not set, stirring often, about 30 minutes.
Whip cream in medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir 1/3 of whipped cream into custard. Fold in remaining whipped cream. Pour filling into crust. Freeze at least 5 hours or up to 2 days. Garnish with shaved chocolates.
And one more,
Vintage Cookbook Recipe for Grasshopper Pie that includes gelatin!