Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 13: Going Old School with Grasshopper Pie

Okay, this is not strictly adhering to my goal of trying a new recipe every week. In fact, this recipe is one that I have been making since I was a teen. Grasshopper Pie was one of only three desserts my mother made (the other two being a Sherry Pound Cake and a Harvey Wallbanger Cake). March 25th would have been her 75th birthday, so to celebrate that we had a Grandma Diane dinner. That meant a London Broil, baked potato with sour cream, salad and…Grasshopper Pie.

Grasshopper Pie is one of those things that I secretly love. (Deep-fried Twinkies are also one of those culinary delights I generally keep hidden.)  It not only evokes memories of my mother and childhood, but it is a perfect after-dinner dessert. Minty, with a soft, cloud-like texture and a crunchy hit of chocolate from the crust. It’s like having a postprandial Andes mint. Only cold. And fluffy.

This is also one of those typical 1970s recipes. It’s what I call a shortcut dessert. Shortcuts were a working woman’s saving grace back then. Working full-time but still expected to put dinner on the table every night like their own mothers, many women got very creative. Crockpots became a big hit. Fill it, set it, forget it, serve it. Packaged mixes like Lawry’s Spaghetti Sauce Mix or Hamburger Helper could take a pound of ground meat and turn it into a meal in 30 minutes. Casseroles became popular, combining a type of meat, pasta or rice, and Campbell’s soup that you mixed up to throw into the oven. And who had time for baking layer cakes, even with a box mix? Nope, you did slice and bake cookies (or just bought packaged cookies like my mother did) or made shortcut desserts like Grasshopper Pie or the aforementioned alcohol-laced pound cakes (which required a box mix, one pan and no icing).

This recipe is pretty easy to put together and you can even buy a premade chocolate cookie crust to further cut down on the preparation time. Not everyone keeps crème de menthe and crème de cacao in the house, but you can try and search out airplane-sized bottles at your local BevMo, borrow some from a friend, or just bite the bullet and buy them. (Crème de menthe is delicious served over vanilla ice cream or you can whip up an adult hot chocolate with a bit of both of these liqueurs…topped with whipped cream, of course.)

Grasshopper Pie
1 1/4 cups crushed chocolate wafers
1/3 cup melted butter

2/3 cup scalded milk
24 large marshmallows
2 ounces green crème de menthe
1 ounce white crème de cacao
1/2 pint whip cream, whipped

For crust, mix wafers with butter and pat into 9-inch pie pan. Chill.

Add marshmallows to scalded milk in double boiler, stirring often until blended into smooth mixture. Cool to room temperature and add liqueurs. Fold in whipped cream and stir gently until completely mixed. Pour into chilled crust. Freeze for at least 2 hours. If frozen overnight, thaw before serving. Shave chocolate onto the top for decoration.

Serves 8

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