Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Grasshopper Pie - Vegan

Mint and chocolate - they are almost as good a combination as peanut butter and chocolate, at least in my world. So when I decided to make my second vegan dessert I remembered my old favorite from childhood, grasshopper pie. Of course I had no idea what went into the making of the traditional version, other than creme de menthe, but this version is nothing short of a chemistry miracle! Of course it is by my favorite food goddess, Isa Chandra of Post Punk Kitchen and and co-author of Vegan Pie in the Sky.

One thing to know about Isa Chandra's recipes - they are perfect exactly as they are - do not try to substitute. I have learned the hard way, twice. Take the time to find the exact ingredients, it makes a difference. For example, this pie calls for agar powder, not flakes. I had flakes in the cupboard and thought in my rakish and devil may care way about ingredients that I could substitute. WRONG! It was soup, not pie, and thank you to all of my lovely friends who spooned it up anyway! Luckily the co-op I work at has an amazing bulk herb and spice section and we carry agar powder, so my second attempt using the correct ingredients was spectacular!

Back to the actual pie, I could not easily find creme de menthe, but the pie was delicious despite the signature ingredient. However, do include it if you can find it, particularly if you can get it free of the icky green coloring. Speaking of coloring, the above pie was made without artificial coloring or even (super!) expensive natural food coloring. I simply added about 10 leaves of baby spinach in the first blend of the coconut milk and soaked cashews and it not only turned a gorgeous green but blended in once the hot ingredients were added, without a smidge of spinach flavor!

You can use a regular pie pan but it is so much easier to cut and serve if you use a springform pan. The cookie crumb crust can be a tad delicate so the springform just makes things simpler. Also, the original recipe called for drizzling a chocolate chip/coconut oil decoration on top, which I did the first time I made it. While it was very pretty, it did not cut up nicely so I reverted to the style of my childhood, which was simply adding whipped cream (vegan of course) as the only embellishment.

This pie was an excuse to use my latest entry to DIY - Pantry, Peppermint extract. In case you never made your own mint tea, mint actually as a brown color as an extract or tea, rather than the electric green from artificial food coloring. Not to worry, it will not turn your pie brown, just give it a wonderful flavor!

Grasshopper Pie - Vegan (from Vegan Pie in the Sky by way of Usually Vegan)

1 package Oreo style cookies, vegan (Newman's O's works well)
5 tablespoons margarine, melted
1 tablespoon almond milk

1 can coconut milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water, 4-8 hours
10-15 leaves baby spinach
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup creme de menthe
1/2 teaspoon agar powder
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (make your own)
1 teaspoon peppermint extract (make your own)

Preheat oven to 350. Pulse cookies in food processor until crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse to combine. Add almond milk and pulse until crust begins to ball up. Press into springform pan, starting with sides first and then smoothing out bottom. Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool. Even though the crust may not look fully cooked, do not overcook. It will firm up as it cools.

Soak cashews in water to cover by 2 inches at least 4 hours in advance, or overnight (refrigerated). Drain cashews and combine with coconut milk in food processor. Add creme de menthe if using and spinach leaves. Pulse to blend well. In small sauce pan combine almond milk and agar powder and stir to blend. Bring to boil over high heat and cook on high eat for 30 seconds. Reduce heat so that small bubbles appear and cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add sugar, coconut oil and both extracts. Whisk to blend well. With motor running, pour hot mixture into food processor and process until fully blended. Pour filling into cooled shell and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Coconut flavor will dissipate the longer you refrigerate, up to 24 hours. Serve with your choice of vegan whipped topping.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Roasted Mustard Potatoes at Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice
Italian Marinated Mushrooms at Hunter Angler Gardener Cook
Carrot Cake Pancakes at Smitten Kitchen


Reeni said...

Your pie is delectable Kirsten! I adore mint and chocolate together and this is one pie I haven't made yet. I bet your homemade peppermint was excellent in it!

Jenna said...

Hi! I've been wanting to make this pie for a while, but haven't been able to get my hands on creme de menthe either. Did you use more mint extract in its place?

Jenna said...

Hi! I've been wanting to make this pie for a while, but haven't been able to get my hands on creme de menthe either. Did you use more mint extract in its place?