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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

These darling green tartlets are perfect for St. Patrick’s Day but they will soon be serving another purpose for me.

My dad will be celebrating his 80th birthday a month from tomorrow and these are just one of the many 1931 (the year of his birth) inspired items I will be serving at the big shin-ding that my sister, Sloane, and I are throwing for him. I’ll have much more to tell you about the party and menu planning in the coming month, but first, an explanation of how this dessert relates to 1931.

In the middle of the Great Depression, on July 26, 1931, the Midwest and heartland of the United States were in the midst of a bad drought when swarms of grasshoppers descended on crops throughout the American heartland, devastating millions of acres. The swarm was said to be so thick that it blocked out the sun and one could scoop the grasshoppers with a shovel. Eww!

Grasshopper pie comes from the after-dinner drink, which originated at Tujague’s, a landmark bar in the Latin Quarter of New Orleans. The cocktail is made by shaking 1/2-ounce cream, 1/2-ounce white crème de cacao, and 1- ounce crème de menthe together with ice cubes, then strain.

We’ll be making tiny tartlets for the party, but this recipe may be made into a large 10-inch tart too, which honestly, would be about a thousand times easier!

Grasshopper Tartlets

1  1/2 cups fine chocolate wafer crumbs (about 30 wafers)
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1  1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (Knox)
1  1/3 cups chilled heavy cream, divided
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup green crème de menthe
1/4 cup white crème de cacao
4 large egg yolks
Grated chocolate, for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Grease 30 mini-tart tins.

Crust: In a bowl stir together the wafer crumbs, the sugar, and the butter until the mixture is combined well, pat the mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of the prepared tins and bake the shells in the middle of a preheated 450-degree oven for 5 minutes. Let cool.

Filling: In a metal bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/3 cup of the cream and let it soften for 5 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, the crème de menthe, the crème de cacao, and the egg yolks, set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer, deep-frying thermometer, or an instant-read meat thermometer.

Transfer the bowl to a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stir the mixture until it is cooled and thickened. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the remaining 1 cup of cream until it holds stiff peaks and folds it into the crème de menthe mixture.

Spoon the filling into the cooled shells and chill the tartlets for at least 3 hours, or until are set.

Sprinkle the tarts with the grated chocolate just before serving.

Makes one 10-inch tart or about 30 tartlets

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1 sloane { 03.17.11 at 4:38 PM }

Yummy! did we forget to take pictures last night?

2 Linda Hopkins { 03.17.11 at 6:16 PM }

Yes we did, not one picture was taken!

3 Ginger Tunheim { 03.18.11 at 8:09 PM }

I can’t wait to try them. I didn’t get it for St. Patrick’s Day. It will get done.

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