Thursday, November 24, 2005

Ladybug Pie

Growing up, one of the holiday treats was "Grasshopper Pie", a cream pie flavored and colored with creame de menthe, with a chocolate crust. I had the recipe memorized for years. Its been in the family for years, and all of my siblings know it.

It turns out that I am alergic to FD&C Yellow #5, which is in the creme de menthe. I would make the pies every year, and just ignore the allergy.

Another treat while growing up was to visit the candy shop in Squibob Square, in Old Town, San Diego, where they had peppermint ice cream all year around. I'd get a scoop of peppermint ice cream with my mom. Julie and Stephanie like peppermint ice cream as well, and we make it every summer with our little ice cream freezer.

Last year, we finally ran out of creme de menthe. It takes a long time to go through a bottle when you only use three tablespoons per pie (and one tablespoon of creme de cocoa).

Rather than buy 'white' creme de menthe, we invented a new pie, made with peppermints. We call it a ladybug pie:

fourteen chocolate cookies with white cream centers (Oreos are too sweet, use Hydrox or a local brand)
two tablespoons butter
twenty-four marshmallows
eighteen star mint candies (the red and white ones)
two tablespoons peppermint shnapps (optional)
one cup heavy cream
one half cup half and half

Clear out a level spot in the freezer, large enough to fit a pie tin.
Melt the butter. Crush the cookies with a rolling pin (I do it in a gallon sized ziplock bag). Place the cookie crumbs into a eight to nine inch pie tin. Carefully mix in the melted butter, then press the crumbs into the pie tin to form the floor and walls of the pie shell with the back of a clean spoon, taking care not to get a cookie 'drift' at the transition between the floor of the pie tin and the walls of the pie tin. Place pie crust into the freezer.

Place the half and half into a double boiler. Heat under a low heat. Add the star mints, carefully stirring until the candies have melted. If you are using peppermint schnapps, add it now. Add the marshmallows, stirring until they have melted. Remove from heat, separate the double boiler, and allow to cool.

In a large bowl , whip the heavy cream. When the contents of the double boiler have cooled, fold it together with the whipped cream. Fill the pie shell, then return the pie to the freezer. Freeze for an hour or so.

We tend to keep the pies frozen. For a softer pie, you can chill it in the refridgerator.


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