Gratitude and Grasshopper Pie

A girlfriend of mine hosted a gathering with a posh, true-to-era ambiance to celebrate the new TV series ‘Pan Am’.  She and two other ex Pan Am flight attendants were in the wings to fill in on all the inside scoop.  The show captures the era of elegance in travel when people dressed up to fly, customer service was a priority, no one cared how many ounces of Prell shampoo was on your person, nor were peek-a-boo x-rays required to see if you might be packin’.  I recall Pan Am and TWA to have the cache as the luxe airlines that went anywhere in the world.
As a contribution to the gathering I was asked to bring a dessert.  For whatever reason I immediately thought of Grasshopper Pie.   To me it was one of those era-specific dishes that went away as the age shifted to a new tide.  I think it must have been looked at as fairly gourmet, sophisticated, and very clever at the time.
Should you not know of Grasshopper Pie, it has a chocolate wafer crumb crust with a silky filling, green, flavored with Crème de Menthe.  I knew somewhere in our family recipe collection we must have had a recipe for Grasshopper Pie.  I have my maternal Grandmother’s recipe box and came up empty but my Mom produced a recipe card sure it was from the 1950’s (I think probably 1960’s).  When I initially read the ingredients, I confess I told her ‘this sounds really gross’.  She agreed it did on paper but recalled they found it all the rage. 
I was dubious while making it, imagining some goopy, sticky mess from the marshmallows feeling this could not be taking me anywhere I wanted to go.  Not so.  Much to my surprise by the end of the preparation, the inside of the pie was smooth and flavorfully minty from the Crème de Menthe; not too overpowering nor sticky in the least.  Made me want to put on a shift dress, pour a martini and listen to jazz music….OR board a flight on Pam Am to travel somewhere exotic with the rest of the beautiful people of the day.
GRASSHOPPER PIE
When I eyed the original recipe I felt the volume would not be adequate with my current day larger volume pie pan (measuring about 9 1/2 inches in diameter).  I’ve expanded the ingredient volume to allow an ample pie as the filling shrinks a bit when frozen.  I made a traditional size pie for the party which measured 8 ½ inches and the original recipe covered it.
Ingredients:
·         3 ½ cups chocolate wafer crumbs*
·         7 tablespoons of butter, melted (a bit more, unmelted, will be used to grease the pie pan)
·         40 large marshmallows (about 1 package; read quantity amount on package)
·         1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Half and Half
·         7 tablespoons Crème de Menthe liqueur
·         1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
*I made my pie gluten free and used Pamela’s Products ‘Extreme Chocolate Mini Cookies’ to make the crust.  They are dark and rich; gluten-eating or gluten-free diners will love this crust.  To make the required amount of crumbs about 2 packages of the cookies will be used.  I put them in my food processor to process them into crumbs.
1.      To make the crust:  butter the pie pan.  In a large bowl combine the chocolate wafer crumbs (note: reserve 2 tablespoons of the crumbs for later use) and melted butter.  Hand stir until combined (the crumbs will look ‘wet’ but it won’t necessarily be sticking together).  Pour crumb mixture into the pie pan.  Using the back of a large spoon, press crumbs into the pie pan evenly on the bottom and sides to form a crust.  Place in the freezer.
2.      Combine the marshmallows and Half and Half in the top of a double broiler OR in a metal, heat proof bowl placed over a sauce pan of boiling water.  Cook until the marshmallows have melted.  As marshmallow begin to melt stir continuously to combine.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Note:  the mixture may separate but you can stir it back together.
3.      Add the Crème de Menthe into the marshmallow mixture and stir to fully combine.
4.      Whip heavy whipping cream until firm peaks appear.  Stir into the green marshmallow mixture.  I found using a whisk lightly at the end combined everything well.
5.      Pour into prepared pie crust.  Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of the crumbs on the top and place in the freezer.  Freeze until firm.
I did a slight variation to these instructions myself when realizing the volume of the original recipe was not enough for my pie.  I had frozen the initial amount of filling with the crumbs on top then added the extra filling amount I needed to fill the pie.  This created a crumb ‘stripe’ that I actually liked for the texture.  If you wish to do this you could fill the pie half full, add some of the crumbs, and freeze it, reserving the remaining filling in the refrigerator.  When the pie is frozen, add the rest of the filling and sprinkle with crumbs.  Freeze.
Today marks the one year anniversary of starting my blog.  I am always low key about my own birthday, preferring to quietly observe the magic of the day rather than to be the center of it.  I could not let this day pass however without sharing my extreme gratitude.   Recently a blogger friend went back to read my very first post, in font too small with no photos, and made the only comment the post has gotten.  It touched me deeply and caused me to recall why I started this.  My goal was to share the wonder and beauty of food I’ve felt my entire life, most recently from my local surroundings.  I had no idea if it would be of interest (well I knew it would a bit from friends asking for my resources frequently) nor how it would play out.
If you are reading this you have been an integral part of me ending up here a year later.  This journey has introduced me to extraordinary people, new food and drink, wonderful opportunities, and stretching myself in a rewarding way defying description.  Recently a good friend and enthusiastic supporter from the beginning asked me ‘so where do you think this is going?’  I told him I had no idea it would lead me here so could not predict where it would go next.
Wherever that might be, I am so grateful you have been and hopefully will be with me!  Thank you from the bottom of my locavore heart.

Comments

  1. PT says

    You’re so cool Toni!! I am glad you are my/our friend.

    Best of luck with all of this and I am sure your considerable talents will take you far! We’ll be watching…and cheering!

  2. says

    Happy Anniversary Friend! I have enjoyed this journey with you. I can't wait to see what you inspire me with this coming year! I love your pie and your plates – I collect candlewick dishes too.

  3. says

    Congratulations on your blog-aversary! Your blog has been host to many beautiful dishes in the past year!

    Grasshopper pie is a great dish for your Pan Am show. I remember it from my childhood. I begged and begged my father to make it (lured in by the name and the green color from and old cook book he owned) and one day he finally did. It was awesome. Thanks for reminding me.

  4. says

    A lovely post — beautifully written. And what a pie! I remember it well, eating it, not making it. I'm almost tempted. And I certainly remember Pan Am. Only recently did I hear airlines complain about the customers not dressing up anymore. Congratulations.

  5. says

    Your pie is beautiful! Vintage recipes, especially from family, are the best (even if they sound gross at first). Congratulations on your blogiversary and making the Top 9!

  6. says

    Great post. I was on Photograzing looking for a Grasshopper Pie recipe and your recipe popped up. I had a wonderful slice at Baked Brooklyn in Red Hook last month…but we moved to Denver two weeks ago and traveling 2,000 miles for a slice of pie seems a bit excessive. This looks like it will do the trick!

  7. says

    Happy anniversary Toni! I'm sorry my greeting is a bit belated but I was busy turning a year older myself on the 26th. Looks like I am in good company. Now, great recipe and beautiful photos. I love Grasshopper Pie and haven't had any in too long. Just seeing the photos caused an instant flashback!

  8. says

    Do you know why I love pies such as the Grasshopper (my favorite)? Because even an inept fool such as myself can make them. Additionally they are rich, creamy and delicious down to the very last crumb in the pan (which I am guaranteed to eat…) Thank you for sharing this recipe, I cannot wait to try it :)

  9. Irene says

    The first time I ate grasshopper pie was in high school. I was in heaven! I asked my friend for the recipe and she said it was a family secret. Forty plus years later, I’ve come across your website and the recipe looks like the real deal! Love the story and history behind the recipe and the photo of the yellowed-with-age recipe card. Thank you very much for sharing. Congratulations on your anniversary and please continue your good work!

    • says

      Well thanks to the internet and Pinterest, there are no such things as ‘family secret’ recipes any longer! Unless it’s a secret between 10,000 of one’s closest ‘frineds’.

      We simply love this pie in our household. It was an infrequent but coveted pie in my childhood and now that it’s been pulled out of mothballs, my children in particular adore it and have committed it to our Thanksgiving march-of-pies never wanting to miss a chance to have some! I hope it will mirror your memories.

          • Sharyl Kay says

            This pie was amazing! We traditionally celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Corned Beef and Cabbage and top it off with some kind of “green” dessert. I found this recipe and it was so delicious! I did add a layer of fudge to the bottom of the chocolate pie crust! I will definitely be making this again and will share this recipe with all of my friends! Thank you!!

          • says

            Sharyl I’m so glad to hear all of this and love your fudge idea! This certainly isn’t Irish but I got a request from my family this weekend to please make it for St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow! I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me about your experience!

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