Last weekend I made Frozen Grasshopper Pie for Easter. Raising a family here in America, I don't recall many Easter dinners that we held in our home. Most were away at family where everyone contributed with a dish or two. I was usually asked to bring squash casserole and a cheesecake. When we finally held Easter in our home, I made Frozen Grasshopper Pie and it was a great hit; so much so that it then became our family favourite.
This Frozen Grasshopper Pie is light, delicately minty and so creamy delicious. It can be served any time of year. Being frozen, it is something you can make ahead, cross off your list and not have to worry about dessert until 10 minutes before you serve it. I have made it for bridal showers, Mother's Day, summer luncheons and even for Christmas Eve dinner.
The base for the pie is an egg custard, but this one has added cornstarch which is good because it ensures no curdling.
You heat the milk and while it's warming, mix the egg yolks in a small bowl with the cornstarch. You then take the milk off the burner and add the egg yolk mixture very gradually to the milk, stirring very well between additions so it doesn't become lumpy.
I used Ghirardelli white chocolate.
And these two Arrow liqueurs from our local ABC store.
As careful as I had been to add the yolks gradually, my custard was a bit lumpy. The lumps really showed after I added the green Creme de Menthe! I was about to ditch the idea of doing this pie as a blog post because it wouldn't be "perfect", when it occurred to me, it could be helpful to show how I would trouble shoot this problem. Part of my culinary degree was a course designed to help us solve problems, many that arise as you're cooking or about to serve a meal. It was a good learning experience to train oneself to stay calm and to think what would be a good solution. Ingredients are expensive and it's very costly to throw food away and start over, and time may be of the essence. I think it has helped me in life, in general, not to panic when something doesn't go according to plan and to come up with a fix.
With any lumpy sauce or custard, I use a sieve to strain it into a mixing bowl as follows:
Place sieve over a large enough bowl. Pour small amounts of custard into the sieve at a time. Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture in the sieve and lightly rub the blade against the mesh and push it through. After the sieve empties, turn the sieve over and make sure the custard adhering to the back is pushed off into the bowl, using the rubber spatula. Repeat until all the custard has been sieved. If there are hard lumps, do not attempt to press them through.
Whipped cream is folded into the cooled sauce and then spooned into either a home-prepared chocolate cookie crust, or into a store bought crumb crust - the kind that comes in a foil pan (which is what I used in this recipe.)
Then it is frozen.
After the base has frozen, whip the remaining cream to top it and spoon onto the frozen mint custard. Then return to the freezer. This can be several days or a week ahead of your event.
HINT: if you are entertaining, you can go ahead and slice the pie ahead of the party so you won't have to cut into the frozen pie while your guests wait. You will still want it to soften up on the counter for the 10 minutes leading up to serving it.
FROZEN GRASSHOPPER PIE
1 prepared chocolate crumb pie crust - I use the Oreo one
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons corn starch
6 oz. white chocolate
2 tablespoons Creme de Menthe
2 tablespoons Creme de Cocoa
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup Heavy whipping cream
Optional garnishes: mint sprigs, dark chocolate shavings, Creme de Menthe drizzle
Combine milk and salt in heavy saucepan. Over low heat, allow to almost simmer - you will see bubbles forming around the outer rim of your saucepan. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks and cornstarch until well blended. When the milk is close to simmering, remove from heat. (Caution - milk that comes to the boil burns very quickly, so be vigilant.)
Very gradually whisk the egg mixture into the hot milk, stirring constantly. Return to medium heat. Do not allow to boil. Stir constantly until very thick for about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate squares. Stir until smooth. Stir in the two liqueurs.
Set the saucepan over a large bowl of ice cubes to cool. Whip cream and fold into custard. Pour into pie shells. Freeze.
An hour or two later, whip the cream for the topping and spoon onto the frozen pie. Return to the freezer. When it has frozen, cover with plastic film or foil.
About 10 minutes before serving, remove the pie from freezer and allow to sit at room temperature. Slice and plate. Garnish with a sprig of mint, or with some chocolate shavings.
Enjoy your Frozen Grasshopper Pie!