The traditional grasshopper pie is a green pie in an Oreo cookie crust, a “white trash” cooking sort of dish, made with marshmallow fluff and topped with Reddi-Wip. We’ve made the pie much better with homemade vanilla ice cream, now green and minty with the addition of only 1/4 cup of crème de menthe. The secret to gussying up any recipe is to use good ingredients, freshly and properly made. Changing the quality does not necessarily change the character of a dish; it’s still a little “white trash.”
Of course for this grasshopper pie you can buy perfectly good vanilla ice cream, but I like ours better because it’s not as sweet as commercial brands. Master it and you’ll not only have a great vanilla ice cream but also an ice cream base for most of the ice creams we make at Campanile. There are many simple, reasonably priced electric ice cream makers on the market that are perfect for these small batches. Despite all of these convenient new machines, I still think the best machines are the ones that use ice and rock salt and make a horrendous grinding sound as they operate. If you use this type of ice cream maker, you’ll definitely want to run it outside or in an unoccupied room, with the machine sitting in a much larger bucket and the door closed.–Mark Peel
Grasshopper Pie Recipe
Hands-On Time: 50 minutes | Total Time: 50 minutes, not including cooling and chilling | Makes one 9-inch pie
- For the crust
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs, made from the wafer part of Oreo cookies or other chocolate wafers
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut in 1/4-inch pieces
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and hot
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- For the vanilla ice cream
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
- 8 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- For the grasshopper pie
- 1/2 recipe Vanilla Ice Cream (above)
- 1/4 cup green crème de menthe
- Whipped cream, for serving (optional)
- Make the crust
- 1. Put the chocolate cookie crumbs and chocolate in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until the chocolate is finely grated. With the machine running, add the melted butter and vanilla, and process until evenly incorporated.
- 2. Transfer the mixture to a buttered 9-inch pie or tart pan and press evenly into the bottom and sides of the pan. It helps to place a piece of plastic wrap over the mixture and press on that so your hands don’t get sticky and covered with the mixture. Place in the freezer.
- Make the ice cream
- 3. Combine the milk, cream, and vanilla bean seeds and pod in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Immediately remove from the heat and cover the pan with plastic wrap. Allow the mixture to steep for 15 minutes.
- 4. Fill a large bowl with water and ice, and set a medium bowl in it. In a medium bowl, beat together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt until the egg yolks are very frothy and thick.
- 5. Bring the milk mixture back to a simmer over medium heat and remove from the heat. Making sure the liquid is not boiling, whisking constantly, slowly pour 1/2 cup of it into the egg yolks. Using a heatproof rubber spatula, scrape the now-tempered egg yolks into the saucepan with the milk and cream, whisking constantly. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and insert a thermometer. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula, moving the spatula in a figure 8 and scraping the sides and bottom of the pan, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula, and reaches 170ºF (77ºC). Run your finger down the middle of the spatula. The sauce should not run back into the canal created by your finger.
- 6. Immediately remove from the heat and continue to stir for 1 minute, then strain through a medium strainer into the bowl set in the ice bath. Allow to cool, stirring often, to 40ºF (4ºC). At this point you can refrigerate the base (which is a custard sauce) for up to 2 days.
- Assemble the grasshopper pie
- 7. Whisk together the vanilla ice cream base and crème de menthe, and freeze in an ice cream maker, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Spread the ice cream in the grasshopper pie crust, and place in the freezer until solid.
- 8. Thirty minutes before serving the grasshopper pie, transfer to the refrigerator. Use a serrated knife dipped into hot water to slice the pie and serve. Top each serving with whipped cream, if desired.
Grasshopper Pie Recipe © 2009 Mark Peel with Martha Rose Shulman. Photo © 2009 Lucy Schaeffer. All rights reserved.