Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Grasshopper Pie

I know, I know, it sounds gross but actually it is very good. If you like chocolate and mint you will absolutely love this pie. Grasshopper Pie is basically an Oreo crust with a chocolate pudding, mint mousse, whipped cream, and garnish--a great blend of textures and flavors, and the airy mint mousse is very refreshing, so it goes great after a big meal. I often make it around Christmas time, mostly per my mom's request. This year my sister was visiting over the holidays and took lots of pictures while I baked. I originally got this recipe from the Creative Cook's Kitchen, but as usual I have made a few changes. I have not converted this recipe yet to weight and tested it so after the jump is the recipe in cups with lots of pictures to guide you through it.


















For the Crust:
40 Chocolate Wafer cookies (I use Mint Oreos to get a bigger mint flavor)
1 stick of butter melted

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9 inch springform pan (I use butter but you could also use a cooking spray). Using a food processor, chop the cookies into crumbs. Slowly add the melted butter a little at a time. You only need to add enough butter so the crumbs hold together. I push the crumbs into the sides of the processor to test if they hold together. Remember you can always add more butter but you can't take out the extra, so add it slowly. Since I use Oreo cookies, I use less butter to hold the crust together. Pour the mixture into the springform pan and press into the bottom and along the sides evenly. Bake the crust for 8 minutes and place on cooling rack.



For the Filling:
1/4 cup of cold water
1 T unflavored gelatin
5 egg yolks
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
2 squares (2 oz) unsweetened chocolate
2 t vanilla extract
4 T green creme de menthe
2 T creme de cacao
2-3 drops peppermint extract or oil of peppermint
5 fresh egg whites
1/4 t cream of tartar

1) In a small bowl, combine the water and gelatin. Let it stand until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes
2) In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the egg yolks until creamy, about 2 minutes.
3) Add 3/4 cup sugar and beat until thickened, about 5 minutes
4) Add flour, a little at a time, beating constantly until smooth, about 3 minutes.














5) In a medium heavy saucepan, bring milk to a rolling boil over medium heat.
6) Slowly temper the milk with the egg mixture (Slowly add the milk to the egg mixture and whisk. This prevents the eggs from cooking). Whisk till smooth.
7) Pour mixture back into the saucepan, while whisking constantly, return to a boil over medium heat
8) Reduce heat to low and cook stirring constantly about 1 minute longer.


9)In a medium bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups of milk mixture with chocolate and stir in vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap and cool for 10 minutes
10) Spread filling in crust and chill for 15 minutes














11) Add the gelatin mixture to the rest of the milk mixture and whisk until dissolved. Cover with plastic wrap and cool for 10 minutes.
12) Whisk in creme de menthe, creme de cacao and peppermint extract. Chill, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened, about 15 minutes.














13) In a large bowl, beat the egg whites till foamy. Add the cream of tartar with the mixer at medium speed and beat until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes.
14) Add the remaining sugar, beat until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes longer.
15) Fold gelatin mixture into egg white mixture. Fold slowly, you want to keep as much volume in the egg whites as possible.
16) Spread the mixture over the chocolate filling. Chill pie uncovered until set, about 6-8 hours.














For the Garnish:
2 cups prepared whipped cream (either buy it or make it by whipping heavy cream and adding powdered sugar to desired sweetness)
8 dark chocolate thin wafer mints or another mint flavored candy (I use Andes Mints. If it is Girl Scout Cookie time, I bet thin mints would be great!)

I find this to be the best part of any pastry. This is where you get to be creative. I usually go with a holiday theme since I make this at Christmas but it would work for any time of year. If you want to go really simple, you can just pipe on the whipped cream and place the cookies/mints around the pie. This time I melted down the Andes Mints and piped out the mint-chocolate onto parchment paper. I then decorated the pie with the piped out mint-chocolate!


LESSONS LEARNED:
1) This pie doesn't keep well for too long so serve immediately. The mint mousse layer will start to separate from the chocolate layer.
2) Plan on extra time if you give your sister a camera to take pictures!
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