Boozy Grasshopper Pie

This dessert was a bit of an unintentional classic for me. I made my first grasshopper pie back in 2016, when I was asked to help cook for a Thanksgiving banquet at Boston University for about 90 people. I was in charge of the desserts, and grasshopper pie was one of the desserts that I made back then. For those unfamiliar with it, grasshopper pie is a pie made with an Oreo crust, a mint-y filling, and a whipped topping of some kind. I did mine slightly differently, by doing a chocolate liquor-spiked chocolate shortbread crust, a ganache that spiked with both Grand Marnier and chocolate liquor, and an Italian meringue made with creme di menthe, or mint liquor. The alcohol had different functions across all three components. The liquor in the tart shell gave it a flakier finish, as the alcohol would evaporate from the pastry as it baked. The liquor in the ganache gave it a softer texture, while also a more complex flavor. The liquor in the meringue added the mint flavoring to it, and tempered down some of the sweetness as well. Fun fact, a girl actually gave me her number over that pie. Which is still weird to think about. But anyways, for this rendition on that recipe, I wanted to finesse it a little. Namely sticking to just using chocolate and mint-related alcohols, since the Grand Marnier was really not needed there. While the orange flavoring of Grand Marnier does work with the chocolate and mint, I really wanted to just hone in on the two flavors of grasshopper pie, which aren’t orange. That and I did love the addition of booze in this pie, since the alcohol really enhanced the flavors and textures of basically every component.

In terms of components, the crust remained pretty much the same to the original I made years ago, but using black or dark cocoa powder, just to make the curst more reminiscent of an Oreo in both flavor and color. Additionally for the filling, I went with two different kinds of ganaches, being a mint-white chocolate, and a dark chocolate, just to have a fun swirly color contrast between the two. And lastly, the meringue, I went with a hybrid of a Swiss meringue meets a marshmallow, just so that the topping has a lot more structure compared to your normal meringue, which may weep and leak out water. Swiss meringues are stable to being with, since they are made by cooking some of the water out of the egg whites by whipping them with sugar over a double boiler, which also pasteurizes the egg whites so they can be eaten. The gelatin being added to that meringue will add more stability and structure, which is what you experience when chewing down on a fluffy marshmallow. The two combined basically makes a very stable marshmallow fluff. If you do not own a blow torch, you can also freeze the pie solid(without the meringue), apply on the meringue, then broil the pie to get the topping nice and torched without damaging the filling. That was actually the method I used for the original pie, namely because it was less risky than using a blowtorch. I would say, all in all, that this is the more refined version of that grasshopper pie I made all those years ago, and while there’s no guarantee you will get a girl’s number out of it, it is a guarantee that if you like mint and chocolate, you will love this recipe.

For the shortbread:
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1 stick unsalted butter
4 tbsp granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp chocolate liquor*

In a food processor, blend the ingredients together into a dough. Chill the dough for 10 minutes. Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/8th an inch thickness. Press into a lined fluted tart pan, score the bottom of the shell, and freeze the dough for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cover the shell with parchment and baking weights. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment, and continue to bake for another 10 minutes. Allow the tart shell to cool down before trimming down the sides and adding in the filling.

For the mint-white chocolate ganache:
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp spearmint oil or 2 tbsp creme di menthe
a pinch of salt(can sub with 1/4 tsp green spirulina powder if not using creme di menthe)
2 tbsp water
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

In a pot, bring the milk, butter, spearmint oil/creme di menthe, and salt to a simmer. Once butter is melted, add in the white chocolate. Stir first with a rubber spatula until the white chocolate is melted into the milk, then pass through a sieve and keep lukewarm to room temp for assembly.

For the chocolate ganache:
3 tbsp milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp chocolate liquor

In a pot, bring all of the ingredients to a simmer, sans the chocolate liquor. Once the chocolate and butter are fully melted into the milk, take off heat and stir in the chocolate liquor. Keep the mixture at room temperature for assembly.

For initial assembly:
Pour half of the mint ganache into the tart shell and spread in a thin layer. Freeze the tart shell for 15 minutes. Then pour on half of the chocolate ganache. Spread that as a thin layer as well and freeze for another 15 minutes. Then pour of the remaining mint ganache, spreading it as a thin layer, and ripple in drops of the chocolate ganache. Freeze for another 15 minutes.

For the mint Swiss meringue marshmallow:
2 egg whites
1 tsp gelatin powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
5 drops spearmint oil or 1 tsp creme di menthe
1/4 tsp green spirulina powder(omit if using creme di menthe)
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites with gelatin, sugar, and salt. If using the creme di menthe, add that in as well. Whisk everything over a double boiler until the egg whites are frothy, and the sugar is dissolved. Once so, transfer to a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and whip the mixture. Add in the spearmint oil, green spirulina, and vanilla and continue to whip until it is light and pillow-y. It should roughly triple in volume, and be pale green in color with a fluffy but spread-able texture.

For final assembly:
Top the chilled tart with the marshmallow meringue mixture and torch with a blowtorch.

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