Grasshopper Ice Cream Pie Recipe

20171220-grasshopper-pie-vicky-wasik-27
Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Whipping whole eggs and sugar until thick make for a rich and creamy base that's not cloyingly sweet.
  • The addition of Fernet Branca enhances the minty flavor while tempering the pie's sweetness.
  • Blitzing up caramelized cocoa nibs with cream and oil creates a topping with the sticky-sweetness of fudge and all the deep flavors of dark chocolate.
  • Drizzling melted chocolate into the filling leaves crisp threads running throughout once the pie is chilled.

This mod '50s dessert deserves to make a comeback, via this updated take. Ditch your grandma's crème de menthe and reach for a splash of Fernet Branca, which gives it a bitter bite and lively herbaceousness. Instead of the traditional melted-marshmallow base, the filling here is made with whole eggs, for a richer, less cloying pie. A topping of cocoa nib fudge adds deep dark-chocolate taste and crunch to contrast with the creamy and cool peppermint filling.

Recipe Facts

Active: 60 mins
Total: 24 hrs
Serves: 8 to 12 servings

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Ingredients

  • For the Crust:
  • 24 chocolate sandwich cookies (9.7 ounces; 270g) ( homemade or store-bought)
  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter (1 ounce; 30g)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream (1 ounce; 30g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume
  • For the Filling:
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar (5 1/4 ounces; 150g)
  • 1/4 cup Fernet Branca (2 ounces; 60g); see note
  • 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, to taste (see note)
  • 1 to 3 drops green food coloring (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (12 ounces; 310g)
  • 4 ounces (110g) dark chocolate, melted
  • For the Fudge Topping:
  • 1 cup sugar (7 ounces; 200g)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa nibs (2 ounces; 60g)
  • 2 tablespoons molasses (1 ounce; 30g), not blackstrap
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil or any other neutral oil (1 1/2 ounces; 40g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (4 ounces; 110g), cold
  • Additional whipped cream and melted chocolate for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. For the Crust: In a food processor, blitz cookies until they are fully crumbled. Drizzle in melted butter and cream and add salt. Pulse to combine. (Alternatively, place cookies in a large zip-top bag and crush with a rolling pin. Transfer crumbs to a mixing bowl and combine with butter, cream, and salt.) Transfer crumb mixture to a deep-dish 9-inch pie plate. Using your hands or the back of a measuring cup, press crumbs evenly along walls and bottom of pie plate. Set aside.

  2. For the Filling: Fill a medium saucepot with at least 1 1/2 inches water and bring to a simmer. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together eggs, sugar, Fernet Branca, and salt. Place bowl over pot of simmering water. Stirring constantly with a flexible rubber spatula, heat egg mixture until it reaches 165°F (74°C), about 10 minutes.

  3. Remove bowl from heat and place on stand mixer with whip attachment. Whip egg mixture on high until it becomes thick and pale and doubles in volume, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add peppermint extract and food coloring (if using). Mix to combine and transfer egg mixture to a wide bowl.

  4. In stand mixer bowl (no need to wash it), whip cream until it reaches soft peaks. Gently fold whipped cream into egg mixture. Using a fork, drizzle streaks of melted chocolate over the entire surface of the mint mousse. Set bowl of mousse in refrigerator until chocolate hardens, about 5 minutes. Using a flexible rubber spatula, crack chocolate streaks into 1-inch pieces and fold into mousse. Repeat the chocolate-drizzling and folding procedure until no more chocolate remains. Pour mint mousse into prepared cookie crust and freeze for at least 6 hours, and preferably overnight.

  5. For the Fudge Topping: Line a rimmed baking sheet with a Silpat or well-greased piece of aluminum foil. In a 1-quart saucepot, combine sugar with 1/4 cup water. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat, about 4 minutes. Remove lid and cook sugar syrup until it becomes a deep golden brown. Remove from heat. Add cocoa nibs and stir to combine. Carefully pour caramel onto lined baking sheet and allow to fully set and cool, about 1 hour.

  6. With a rolling pin, crack caramel into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Transfer pieces to a food processor and pulse until caramel is mostly finely ground. Add molasses, oil, salt, and vanilla and process until combined. With food processor running, slowly drizzle in chilled cream, stopping to scrape down bowl's sides if needed. Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a plain #17 tip and chill for at least 1 hour before piping.

  7. To Finish: Remove pie from freezer and garnish the top with fudge in a crisscross pattern. Fill a piping bag fitted with a #32 open star tip with whipped cream and pipe along the border. Drizzle the edges with melted chocolate, if desired. Using a knife dipped in hot water, cut pie into 8 to 12 slices and serve with extra fudge on the side.

Special equipment

Food processor, rolling pin, 9-inch glass pie plate, stand mixer, instant-read thermometer, rimmed baking sheet, flexible spatula, piping bag and pastry tip

Notes

The addition of Fernet Branca gives this grasshopper pie an herbaceous twist, and the bitterness of the liqueur keeps the pie's sweetness in check while pairing well with both the mint and the chocolate flavors. For a more traditional take, substitute the Fernet Branca with 1 ounce each of crème de cacao and crème de menthe. This pie can also be made alcohol-free by increasing the sugar in the filling to 1 cup and bumping up the mint extract to taste. If you prefer fresh mint over extract, bring the 12 ounces of cream used for the filling to a simmer, then add 1 bunch fresh mint leaves. Steep for 2 hours, then discard the mint and fully chill the infused cream before whipping and folding into the egg base.

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