Still drowning in grants, but the last of this lot is due on Thursday, after which I will be able to *sleep*, hopefully without dreaming about grant applications. It was Andrew’s birthday recently, and we had his family around for lunch on Saturday. I rang Andrew from work at about 7pm and asked him to look up Nigella’s recipe for Grasshopper Pie, on the grounds that it was chocolatey and minty (his favourite flavours) and, being Nigella, it was unlikely to be too tricky for my tired brain.
Despite the unlikely ingredients, it turns out to be absolutely gorgeous (and rich), with a lovely light texture from the marshmallows (yes, I’m eating marshmallows even though it’s Lent. This is very bad, I know, but I really am not feeling sufficiently imaginative to operate around them just now). The only drawback is that one is then left with about 150g of pink marshmallows (since one really cannot use pink marshmallows for a bright green mousse, and all the packets come variegated in pink and white), and must therefore think of something suitably pink to do with them.
Fortunately, my lovely potato man is still selling his strawberries at $10 for 3 punnets, and for once I have a use for three whole punnets of strawberries. Of course, that would make Nigella’s filling far too wet to set, so I added a block of white chocolate to help stabilise things, and then threw in some raspberry liqueur, because why not?
The results are quite pleasing – while this looks very cheesecakey, it’s much lighter in texture (though certainly not light in any other sense), and the strawberries really shine through. It is a little on the sweet side for my taste, and I think next time I would serve it with a really tart raspberry sauce to add some acidity, since I don’t think one can add lemon juice or vinegar to that amount of cream and have good results. Just be warned – this is one rich dessert. And this quantity will make enough for at least twelve people, maybe more. I suspect I will be feeding leftovers to hungry scientists and stressed out grant officers come tomorrow…
Your Shopping List300 g choc wheaten biscuits, or chocolate ripple biscuits, or just granitas and add extra chocolate 50 g dark, dark chocolate 75 g butter, softened a bit and cut into cubes. 3 punnets (approx 750 g) strawberries 2 tablespoons (4 ml) milk 180 g white chocolate 250 g pink or white marshmallows (mini marshmallows probably work best, but I used a mixture of both) 60 ml raspberry liqueur, or kirsch, or cassis 450 ml double cream
Now what will you do with it?
Put the biscuits in a food processor and blitz until they are crumbs (or crush them in whatever manner appeals to you), along with the dark chocolate. Add the butter and blitz until it all comes together. Press the mixture into the base and up the sides a bit of a 23-25cm loose-bottomed tart tin (that always sounds so kinky) or cake tin (less kinky, also much harder to get the tart out of, I’ve discovered). Stick it in the fridge and let it firm up.
Hull two punnets of the strawberries (the others will be for decoration) and put the strawberries into the blender. Attempt to puree. Stamp your feet a lot, commit terribly unsafe acts with spatulas, and swear if necessary, then add the milk to see if this helps. It probably won’t. Complain bitterly about the quality of your blender to anyone within earshot and try blitzing it in the food processor, then transfer it back into the blender to get smooth. Orate at length to quizzical and innocent bystanders (e.g. any lurking husbands who have not been driven to the other end of the house by your previous blender-inspired tantrum) on the stupidity of appliances that can’t do their jobs without help from other appliances and the cruel fate which will not allow you to buy a super-duper top quality food processor and blender which might actually work. Or, actually, might not, which would make it even more annoying than the current one…
Put the marshmallows and white chocolate into a saucepan with the strawberry puree, and heat gently, stirring pretty much constantly until the marshmallows have all melted into the mixture. I cannot overstate how dodgy the whole (pink! and lumpy!) concotion looks while the marshmallows are melting. This is the point at which you realise you are committing a crime against gastronomy, but it’s too late to turn back now. Take off the heat, stir in the liqueur, and leave it to cool.
Whip the cream until soft peaks form. This takes less time than you think. You only want soft peaks, because if you go any further then the whole thing will turn into butter when you stir it into the strawberry mixture and you will very probably burst into tears and curse the natural malevolence of inanimate objects, it being that sort of day.
Gently fold the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture, adding a little red food colouring if this isn’t pink enough for you. Is anything ever really pink enough? I think not.
Pour and scrape this mixture into the biscuit crust and put the pie back into the fridge to firm up overnight (or for at least 4 hours).
Carefully remove the tart from the springform tin or tart tin. (Your methods for doing this are your own, and I promise I won’t tell a soul.)
Hull and slice or halve the rest of the strawberries to decorate before serving. Or make a raspberry sauce by bunging a lot of frozen raspberries in the blender (ha) with lemon juice and a tiny bit of sugar until puréed.
Serve with the sort of offhand panache that would lead your guests to believe that you are, in fact, super-organised, terribly classy, and not at all the sort of person who throws tantrums at her appliances and secretly wants to add red food colouring to everything. (I admit, this is not a very well-kept secret on my part)
Do you know what I want to do? I want to take the Grasshopper Pie recipe and use blue curacao and make Bluebottle Pie instead. And then I want to decorate it with stripes of blue smarties and jaffas, just to make the whole thing kind of eye-blinding. Actually, I could use the smarties and jaffas to make a Firefox icon. Firefox pie!
Basically, I just like the idea of blue pie. A saner option would involve decorating it with blueberries. And blue smarties. In concentric circles!
Look, I’m hideously sleep-deprived now, so I can’t think of too many variations. You could probably make this dairy-free by using margarine in the crust and coconut cream or soy cream (I’ve heard you can refrigerate coconut cream overnight and then whip it into peaks) in the filling, but making it vegan is going to be tricky because of the marshmallows, and I still haven’t figured out vegan marshmallows.
Gluten-free biscuits = gluten-free crust, so that’s pretty much catered for. As for the fructose intolerant, I suspect the Grasshopper version would do you nicely. As for Low GI? No, I really don’t think so…