Grasshopper Pie for Easter

GrasshoperPiedaff peeps2A Grasshopper Pie a slice of spring for Easter.  This pie is a classic you don’t see around as much as we did when we were kids. So why not be retro and whip up a minty fluffy pie for the holidays?  As a kid it was a big treat to order a Grasshopper at the restaurant, still one of my favorites.  (can u still order those for kids theses days?) Especially when you are at a swanky supper club in the middle of rural mid-west america. And any excuse to buy a bottle of creme de menthe. This pie is one big flash back…good times

For the crust

  • 1 1/2 cups fine chocolate wafer crumbs (about 30 wafers)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/3 cups well-chilled heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup green crème de menthe
  • 1/4 cup white crème de cacao
  • 4 large egg yolks

Make the 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 side of a buttered 9-inch pie plate, and bake the crust in the middle of a preheated 450°F. oven for 5 minutes. Let the crust cool.

Make the filling:
In a metal bowl mix in the gelatin with a 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°F. on a candy thermometer. Transfer the bowl to a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stir the mixture until it is cooled and thickened. In another bowl beat the remaining 1 cup cream until it holds stiff peaks and fold it into the crème de menthe mixture thoroughly.

Pour the filling into the crust and chill the pie for 4 hours, or until is set. Dollop with whipped cream and sprinkle the pie with the chocolate cookie crumbs.

recipe from epicurious

food stylist: Barb Standal and Karla Spies

Lemon Meringue Pie

LemonMerenguePiev2LemonMerenguePieWe were shooting a lemon meringue pie this week at the photo studio and I wanted to share with you this beautiful pie that the food stylist Barb Standal created.  I wish I could say I could bake such a well crafted crust and wield a lovely swirl top, but I can only admire the skills of Barb.  I did get to be a part of the Meringue testing that took place a few days before the photo shoot, they tested four different meringue recipes to test how they performed when baked. So of course we had to do a taste test along the way. One was too sweet, one was too saggy, one was too eggy and one was just right. I will share with you the recipe of the winner..Cuz Betty know’s best.  The winner was no other than the classic Betty Crocker.  Hopefully this might inspire you to bake this beautiful pie a nice treat.

Cool update Star Tribune story on Lemon Meringue:

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  • 1: Heat oven to 450°F. Make pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell using 9-inch glass pie pan. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  • 2: Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, mix 1 1/4 cups sugar, the cornstarch and salt. Gradually stir in cold water until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  • 3: In small bowl, beat egg yolks with fork. Stir about 1/4 cup of hot mixture into egg yolks. Gradually stir yolk mixture into hot mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • 4: Remove from heat. Stir in butter, lemon peel and lemon juice. Cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Pour into cooled baked shell.
  • 5: Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. In small deep bowl with electric mixer, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla on medium speed about 1 minute or until soft peaks form. On high speed, gradually beat in sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Spoon meringue onto hot filling; spread to edge of crust to seal well and prevent shrinkage.
  • 6: Bake at 350°F 12 to 15 minutes or until meringue is light golden brown. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Refrigerate until filling is set, about 3 hours. Store in refrigerator.
  • FYI:  Eggs separate most easily when they are cold, but the whites will whip best at room temperature. To take off the chill, set the bowl of whites into a larger pan filled with warm water.


Christmas Rosette Cookies

titleThe holidays are mostly about nostalgia and family traditions for me.  Those favorite treats that come out on the buffet table and you try to wait till after dinner before you eat them all.  My grandparent’s house is the root of most of my childhood holiday memories. Gathering in the basement and my grandpa playing christmas records, the kids gathered around with the song books in hand. Whomever sang the best got to open up a gift, it was very competitive. Grandma was a good cook and had lots of christmas treats to choose from, one that always made it on the table was the Rosette cookies.

“A rosette called struva in Swedish is a thin, cookie-like deep-fried pastry of Scandinavian (Swedish and Norwegian) origin. Rosettes are traditionally made during Christmas time. They are made using intricately designed irons. The iron is heated to a very high temperature in oil, dipped into the batter, then re-immersed in the hot oil to create a crisp shell around the metal. The iron is immediately removed and the rosette is separated from the iron. Usually, the edges of the rosette are dipped into frosting or sugar. Rosette recipes are popular in the United States among families with Scandinavian ancestry.”

So when my mother in law asked if I wanted to help her make some Rosette cookies I was very excited, I had never actually seen anyone make them before.  The tricky part was getting the oil to the correct temperature and getting the batter to the correct crispy pastry texture,  and not eating them all as they came off the iron all warm and crunchy.



  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • peanut oil for deep frying
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon


Beat eggs slightly. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and salt. Add flour and milk alternately, blending until smooth. Stir in vanilla. The batter should be about as thick as pancake batter. If it isn’t, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. If it is too thick, add a teaspoon of milk at a time.Heat 3″ of oil in a deep fryer to 365 degrees. (A deep frying thermometer is very helpful, and I highly recommend it.) Place a rosette iron in the hot oil for 60 seconds. There’s no way to take the temperature of the iron; it just has to be hot.

Dip the hot iron into the batter, making sure NOT to let the batter run over the top of the iron. If you do, the rosette will be impossible to remove. Immerse the coated iron in the hot fat and fry 25-30 seconds until light brown. Slip off onto a paper towel.

On large plate, combine 1 cup sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Dip rosettes in this mixture while still warm. You can also sprinkle them with powdered sugar. Don’t skip this step – the cookies aren’t really sweetened until they’re coated in some kind of sugar! Makes about 36 rosettes…….from Busy Cooks


Have a fabulous holiday and happy baking.

Brownie Cupcake with Chocolate Balsamic Ganache

chocolateBrowniechocolateSpoon I found this recipe for Chocolate Balsamic Ganache and had to make some.  This recipe is pretty simple and looks pretty fancy.  I am not above making a brownie from a box, still baking in my book.  Get your favorite brownie recipe and make them in a cupcake pan, you can make each desert. I then used some Creme Fraiche to frost each brownie cupcake. I put like four fresh raspberries on top and drizzled the chocolate balsamic ganache on top. Delicious and fabulous holiday presentation.


This ganche recipe is pretty versatile, if you cool it longer you can use it as a frosting or some people make truffles. Or use a flavored balsamic to add a flavor twist. Any way you want to use it’s yummy.

Summer Time is for Creme Brulee

Summer time is great for Creme Brulee, with all the fresh berries and mint in season.  It is a great custard that you can serve cold.  It is a very old dessert consist of a rich custard base topped with a contrasting layer of hard  caramel. The top of this is cooked using a torch or some people use flaming liquor. But, this dessert is served cold.

“The Spanish have taken credit for this sensuous custard as “crema catalana” since the eighteenth century, while the English claim it originated in seventeenth-century Britain, where it was known as “burnt cream” and the English school boys at Cambridge demanded it. It apparently wasn’t until the end of the nineteenth century that common usage of the French translation came into vogue, putting it on the map from Paris to Le Cirque in New York City. Its wide recognition today seems to have given the French credit for inventing crème brûlée.”

I worked with Karla Spies a food stylist and we came up with this very quaint idea of making the Creme Brulee in a tea-cup, very pretty.  Just make sure that you put the cup in a bath of water when you put the custard in the oven to cook.  Makes a very nice presentation and a great way to use that old china.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Smoothie

Smoothie season is upon us, It’s getting warm out and I crave something cold and creamy. Instead of grabbing the ice cream I’m gonna change a habit and make a smoothie.  This smoothie is great, tastes like pumpkin pie with lot fewer calories one might say healthy.  It has protein and even some fiber from the pumpkin.  What else can you ask for.

Roasted Balsamic Strawberry and Blueberry Shortcake

I have been intrigued by these roasted and grilled fruits, so far all I’ve ever done is grill up some pineapple.  I was ready to expand my horizons.  I teamed up with Maggie the Food Stylist and we came up with this recipe.  We started by going on-line and searching for some ideas. We found these recipes for roasted strawberries.

Recipe from leite’s Culinari

The roasted berries are savory and sweet. It punched a lot more flavor into each bite.  Sometimes the store-bought strawberries can be a disappointment, they look great but have no flavor. Roasting fruit extract the natural sweetness and caramelizes the juices.     We decided to make a shortcake dessert out of the berries.  I like to keep it simple and do what I know, and that’s Betty Crocker Original Bisquick just like mom used to make.

  • In medium bowl, stir 2 1/3 cup Bisquick mix, 1/2 cup milk, 3 tablespoons sugar and 3 tablespoons butter melted, until soft dough forms. On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by 6 spoonfuls.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Make some fresh whipping cream and garnish with mint.  A new twist to a classic dessert.

Food styling by Maggie Stopera