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TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Grasshopper Pie For St. Pat’s

Grasshopper Pie is a crème de menthe chiffon pie with a chocolate cookie crust. It was invented in the U.S. in the 1950s following the popularity of the Grasshopper Cocktail, a dessert cocktail made from cream, green crème de menthe and white crème de cacao.

The drink’s name derived from its green color. While it reputedly originated at Tujague’s, a landmark bar and Creole restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the story is a bit more complicated.
 
THE HISTORY OF THE GRASSHOPPER COCKTAIL

The recipe, created by Philibert Guichet Jr., owner of Tujaque’s, began as an entry submitted to a cocktail contest in New York City. It won the second place prize. Of note is that the contest was held in 1928—before the end of Prohibition (1920-1933). [Source]

The cocktail gained popularity in the South during the 1950s and 1960s.

In the 1950s, liquor became much more widely available as it filled grocery store shelves across the land. With women doing most of the grocery shopping at this time, the popularity of sweeter, dessert-type drinks increased. By the 1960s, the Grasshopper had become a standard cocktail.

   
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Plan ahead for something green and delicious: Make a Grasshopper Pie for St. Patrick’s Day. Photo and recipe courtesy Taste Of Home.

 
NEXT STOP: GRASSHOPPER PIE

At the same time the cocktail became a national standard, the pie appeared. Chiffon pies were very popular at that time, and food historians speculate that the recipe was invented by food companies to promote their products.

In the American Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipes For The 20th Century, Jean Anderson writes, “I suspect—but cannot verify—that [Grasshopper Pie] recipes descend from one that appeared in High Spirited Desserts, a recipe flier published jointly by Knox Unflavored Gelatin and Heublein Cordials. [Source]

Prep time is 30 minutes plus several hours to chill (or overnight).

An easy frozen version follows the standard version below.

You can play with the garnishes, using chocolate chips instead of chocolate shavings. If you want a more vivid green for St. Patrick’s day, add food color before you whip the cream.

 

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The easiest Grasshopper Pie is made with mint chip ice cream. Photo and recipe courtesy Taste Of Home.
  RECIPE: GRASSHOPPER PIE

Ingredients For 8 Servings
 
For The Crust

  • 1-1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon chocolate wafer crumbs, divided (about 32 wafers)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1-1/3 cups well-chilled heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup green crème de menthe
  • 1/4 cup white crème de cacao
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • Garnish: grated chocolate or mint-flavored chocolate*
  •  
    *Green & Black’s and Lindt are two brands of mint chocolate bar available at many supermarkets.
     
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crust. Stir together the wafer crumbs, sugar and butter in a bowl to combine. Pat the mixture onto the bottom and up the side of a buttered 9-inch pie plate. Bake the crust in the middle of a preheated 450°F oven for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

    2. MAKE the filling. In a heat-proof bowl or the top half of a double boiler, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/3 cup of the cream; let it soften for 5 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, crème de menthe, crème de cacao and egg yolks. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160°F on a candy thermometer.

    3. REMOVE the bowl to a larger bowl of ice and cold water. Stir the mixture until it is cooled and thickened.

    4. BEAT the remaining 1 cup cream in a separate bowl until it holds stiff peaks. Fold it into the crème de menthe mixture thoroughly.

    5. POUR the filling into the crust and chill the pie for 4 hours, or until set. Sprinkle the pie with the grated chocolate.
     
    RECIPE: ICE CREAM GRASSHOPPER PIE

    This version is even easier, using store-bought mint chocolate chip ice cream (photo above left). It’s a kid-friendly recipe without the liqueurs; but feel free to add 1/8 cup of crème de menthe to the softened ice cream.

    Ingredients

  • 4 cups mint chocolate chip ice cream, softened
  • 1 chocolate crumb crust (8 inches—store-bought or made with the recipe above)
  • 5 Oreo cookies, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chocolate-covered peppermint candies (e.g. Junior Mints)
  • Chocolate hard-shell ice cream topping
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SPREAD the ice cream into the pie crust. Sprinkle with the cookies and candies.

    2. DRIZZLE with the ice cream topping and freeze until firm. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving.

      




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