It is *almost* a truth universally acknowledged, as Helen Fielding’s heroine might say, that my ability to continually humiliate myself in public makes me feel a certain affinity with Bridget Jones. She is essentially a 30-something British version of me who smokes. Case in point: there is a scene in the first movie (we dare not speak of the second) in which Bridget is preparing a birthday feast for her friends. She needs string to tie together leeks for the soup and finds some blue twine in her cupboard. The next thing she knows – plot spoiler – the soup is blue.
In my case, the color in question is green. A beloved asset management editor where I am gainfully employed (who wants his name in lights – Andy – and is therefore the subject of the newspaper above AND the only coworker I will not call Chris per my earlier post regarding the Sweet Potato Queens) recently faced deportation as he, like Bridget, is a Brit. We thought he might have to leave today and we didn’t know when he would be able to return and so I had asked if he had any special requests before he left. He requested “green card pie” and so I put on my thinking cap.
In the far reaches of my memory, I recall my grandmother making grasshopper pie (not to be confused with Grasshopper Pie). This was the closest thing I could think of that could possibly bring a green card pie to life. I must admit, however, that the recipe is a little screwy. All the heating and cooling seems needlessly complicated…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
First things first, vegetarians please divert your eyes…the recipe calls for gelatin. But I could not find gelatin at my local supermarket – only gelatine. There were pictures of cheesecake and fruit Jell-o on the gelatine box so I assumed it had to be at least similar…but I had no proof. I wanted to buy vanilla pudding just in case gelatine turned out to be a bust, but there was only rice pudding and I figured green rice pudding would look too gross in a pie crust.
My second problem was that I needed both creme de menthe and creme de cacao. I went to my local liquor store and asked for them, panicking about the pronunciations and hoping they wouldn’t think I’m an ignoramus. They only had HUGE bottles out in the open though, so I asked if there was anything smaller.
“Hey, do we have any smaller bottles of cream of mint?” the saleslady asked her counterpart. (Ironic, right?)
But, alas, there were no smaller bottles of cream of mint…and they didn’t have green creme de menthe – only clear (the green being that which gives the grasshopper pie it’s traditional hue). And they didn’t have clear creme de cacao – only BROWN. So, in summary, I now own two gigantic bottles of the wrong color liquor…and will likely have to have folks over for the actual grasshopper cocktail (the very one that inspired the pie long, long ago, I have read) in order to get rid of it all.
Making the crust was easy enough…I have a Cuisinart. While it was baking, you’re supposed to put the gelatin and some cream together to let it soften…and then add creme de menthe and cacao (among other ingredients) and put the mixture over a pot of boiling water. I don’t have a double boiler, so I had to improvise. The recipe says to whisk it constantly until a candy thermometer reads 160 degrees. I, however, do not have a candy thermometer – just a meat thermometer. I thought I could improvise again. However, while I was trying to whisk constantly and hold onto the meat thermometer (which, as the name implies, is meant to be stuck into a piece of meat and therefore does not have the attachment a candy thermometer does which plants it firmly in place on a pot). And I am clumsy. So…while I was whisking, the meat thermometer fell into the boiling bowl of goo which is by now a very strange color because – as you may recall – I have the wrong color booze. So I tried to fish out my meat thermometer, but it flew over the top and fell into one of the burners of my stove. Then I had to stop whisking and find my tongs so I could fish out my meat thermometer and clean it off. And the damn thing still wouldn’t get above 120 degrees…so I finally gave up as the oddly colored mixture (kind of pea soup–ish, I’d say) was getting kind of thick and I was losing my patience. So I decided to jump straight to the cooling-off phase. This also required a bit of improvisation with a bowl of ice water…
At this point, I began to seriously contemplate the strangely colored goo and decided that no one would want to eat it. It was too ugly.
Luckily, I still had to add more cream…so I was able to salvage the whole thing by adding food coloring to the cream and then adding the green cream to the mixture which made it a more palatable color. And had I not blogged about it, no one would be any wiser.