This Memorial Day, Scott and I had our friends over for a backyard crab feast. Forgoing the traditional concept of grilling was a great idea since the weather was pretty steamy to begin with, plus shelling and eating a bunch of crabs on newspapers was a much easier (while stinky) cleanup! Of course I did want to stick with one all-American tradition, and prepare a pie for the occasion. I flipped through my Martha Stewart Pies & Tarts, and narrowed it down to three confections; Ultimately choosing the Grasshopper Pie. Why grasshopper? To start with, I have my own fresh mint growing in my tiny urban backyard so I was excited to have something to use it in. But secondly, in this brutal weather we’ve been having, I thought it’d be nice to have a cool and refreshing dessert to end our meal with. I was right in my choosing! This pie was delectable, with a light & fluffy, minty & moussey filling, and an amazing chocolate and coconut cookie crust.
This recipe was definitely reminiscent of high school science lab. I highly recommend, when cooking anything really, reading and going over the full recipe a few times before you start. Its important to make sure you know what you need prepped and at the ready, as well as any tools that may have not been mentioned up front. For example, this recipe requires a candy thermometer and a fine mesh sieve. Its also very helpful in making the crust to have some waxed paper.
For the Crust
- 6 TBSP unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pie plate
- 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (about 25 cookies)
- 1/4 cup sugar
For the Filling
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 3 TBSP creme de menthe
- Green food coloring (optional if your creme de menthe is the clear kind, and you’d like a minty green hue)
- 2 1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin (1 packet)
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
For the Topping
- Whipped cream (1 cup heavy cream + 2 TBSP confectioners sugar, beat in an electric mixer until stiff peaks form)
- Chocolate shavings
- Toasted coconut (I added this because I had extra leftover from my tropical cupcakes!)
Make the crust. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-inch pie plate. In a bowl, whisk together the coconut, wafer crumbs, and sugar. Add melted butter, and stir until well combined. Press crumb mixture into pie plate, using a sheet of waxed paper to help spread it out evenly and prevent pieces from sticking to your fingers. Bake until firm, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Make the filling. Prepare an ice-water bath. Bring milk and mint just to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat; cover. Let steep 15 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a glass measuring cup. Discard mint, and set milk aside. Beat cream in a chilled medium bowl until stiff peaks form; cover, and refrigerate.
Pour creme de menthe into a medium heatproof bowl, and sprinkle with gelatin. Let stand 5 minutes to soften. In another medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar. Add steeped milk to softened gelatin, whisking until well combined. If you are using clear creme de menthe, at this point add a very tiny amount of green food dye to the milk mixture and stir to combine. I use very saturated gel colors so literally i dip a toothpick into the bottle and that was enough color! So be careful, its better to add a little at a time to make sure you get the right effect.
Set bowl with milk-gelatin mixture over (not in) a pan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until gelatin is dissolved, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, pour hot milk mixture in a slow, steady stream into yolk mixture. Return mixture to heatproof bowl; set over simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is slightly thickened and registers 150 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 8 minutes.
Transfer bowl to ice-water bath; whisk until mixture thickens to the consistency of pudding, about 2 minutes. Remove bowl from bath. Whisk in one-third of reserved whipped cream until well combined. Gently fold in remaining whipped cream with a flexible spatula. Spoon mixture into piecrust; refrigerate until set, 6 hours or up to 1 day.
Top the pie before serving. Slice into wedges and top each piece with a dollop of whipped cream, chocolate shavings and toasted coconut. Enjoy!