Yesterday, as I am sure you are aware, was the Pi Day of the century. 3.14.15. Naturally, as a teacher, I had plenty of people to invite over who were equally excited about such an event. And, obviously, this week I had to make pie.
Now, my dilemma came when I realized that this would also be my last time to post before St. Patrick’s Day, which really is the highlight of the month of March. So my goal became to find a recipe that could double as celebrating both.
When I texted my mom about my dilemma, she immediately sent me the following picture:
I’m not entirely sure why she had it on hand (she was at the office, as far as I know), but it did save me the effort of finding my own recipe. A green pie would solve all of my problems! Or so I thought…
Look closely at that picture. Do you see the first ingredient? This is my grandmother’s recipe card, and she is specific in her instructions: Hydrox cookies. I had never heard of them. Who names a cookie something that sounds so completely unappetizing? I googled them, mildly afraid of what they might look like, and realized that they’re just Oreos.
I texted my mom back to confirm that I could substitute in Oreos, expecting her to say yes. What I got was the opposite. “NO OREOS!” She insisted that Hydrox was the only way to go. They were significantly better. Substituting would shame the family name.
The only problem? Hydrox cookies are no longer in production. You can’t even buy them on amazon. It is literally impossible to find them.
So while at the store, I was faced with a moral dilemma. My mom insisted it needed to be Hydrox. Hydrox didn’t exist. Oreos did exist. But that clearly was against the recipe rules. I think I stood in the cookie aisle for a full 5 minutes contemplating the pros and cons of my decision. Do I just get Oreos and pretend I didn’t? No one in my family would even be eating this pie, so what did it matter?
In the end, I couldn’t do it. I ended up buying Newman-O’s, which are $5 more expensive than Oreos, but were the only other chocolate sandwich cookie available.
First, crush the cookies as finely as you can. I put them in a bag and used a combination of a rolling pin and a hammer.
And then I ran into dilemma #2. The recipe card, as you can see, very clearly says “about 3 t. melted butter”. Later in the recipe, to distinguish the lowercase “t” as teaspoon, another ingredient uses an uppercase “T” for tablespoon. So the lowercase definitely had to mean teaspoon. The problem? Three teaspoons of melted butter is not even close to enough butter if you’re making a cookie crust. The standard is three tablespoons.
Normally, I have no problem altering a recipe. But I was already on edge from the Hydrox cookie fiasco and I actually prefer to use my grandmother’s recipes as written when I have them. But when I pressed the crumbs into a cake pan with only three teaspoons of butter, it was very clear they weren’t going to stick together.
So I called my mom. And, of course, she said the card must be right. This time, though, I was pretty sure that Grammy might have had a typo. I called another baking expert, Sandy (Trout Farm Apple Pie and Oh Henry Bars were from her), and she confirmed that crusts usually call for three tablespoons. I added the extra two tablespoons, and still stand by that it was the right decision.
Since yesterday, I have spoken to my mom again and she says Grammy probably meant that to be tablespoons. But I think she’s just saying that because I’ve been stressed out and when I get stressed I tend to tie my entire life’s worth to things such as making a pie just like Grammy would have.
Anyways, it worked out and got plenty of good reviews, so go with tablespoons.
Cover the crust and chill it in the freezer to firm up while you do the next couple of steps.
And those steps start with melting the marshmallows and milk in a double boiler until smooth. Stir constantly. It’s a kind of slow process, so don’t worry if it seems like the marshmallows have no intention of actually melting – they will.
Set that mixture aside to cool while you do the next step, which is to whip the cream. I used a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed for 5-7 minutes, or until the cream was clearly of a stiffer consistency.
Stir in the creme de menthe. Side note: there are two varieties of creme de menthe – clear and green. I didn’t realize the dark bottle was green at the store, and couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the difference between a dark bottle and a clear bottle of creme de menthe would be. They cost the same. Maybe the dark bottle was more protective from the chemicals breaking down? Like when Hood has the light-block bottles to protect milk? I went with the dark for that reason.
It wasn’t until I got home that I realized both bottles were in fact clear, it was just that the one I bought was a green liquid. That explained a lot. And was fortunate, since I wanted a green pie.
- 22 filled chocolate cookies
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 30 marshmallows
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 5 tablespoons creme de menthe
- square of dark chocolate, shaved
- Finely crush the chocolate cookies.
- Add butter and press into a greased pie plate.
- Chill crust in freezer.
- Melt marshmallows in milk over a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool.
- Whip cream using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment at medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
- Fold whipped cream into cooled marshmallow mixture.
- Stir in creme de menthe.
- Pour filling into pie crust and sprinkle with shaved chocolate.
- Freeze until ready to serve.