For the past few years, I have hosted Christmas dinner at my house. It is a small crowd, but it is fun to have the liberty to cook whatever I want to. Since my in-laws have always had more conservative palettes, I don't make anything too prolific, but I do modify the menu each year. We start the afternoon with a few appetizers, followed by dinner, and capped off with the one constant each year - Crème de Menthe Pie.
For as long as I can remember, my family has had Crème de Menthe Pie for dessert on Christmas dinner. This was a tradition I continued when we lived in NYC and I made it for our friends for our pre-Christmas dinner. When I started hosting Christmas dinner myself, there was no doubt what I would make for dessert. Although my mother, my sister, and I are all in different places on Christmas night, celebrating with our respective in-laws, this is a dessert that we all still make. (In fact, I wound up with two pies in my freezer tonight, as my parents stopped by my house for appetizers, but forgot their pie when they ventured on to their next destination.)
There are so many memories associated with this dessert, but it is also reminiscent of my favorite hard-serve ice cream flavor - mint chocolate chip. You can serve the pie with whipped cream if you like, but I think it is perfect without.
Crème de Menthe Pie
3 pints vanilla ice cream
5 Tablespoons crème de menthe liqueur
2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (such as Oreos)
1/3 cup butter, softened
Chocolate Sauce (recipe follows)
Combine wafer crumbs (if using Oreos, crumble in food processor) with butter and press into 10” spring form pan (press throughout bottom of pan, and up to 1 inch along sides of pan). Refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour.
Turn ice cream into large bowl to soften. Pour crème de menthe over ice cream and stir to incorporate. Fill chilled wafer shell with ice cream mixture. Freeze. Make chocolate sauce.
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
½ cup water
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
4 ½ Tablespoons butter
¾ teaspoon vanilla
In a small saucepan, combine chocolate with water. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until chocolate is melted. Add sugar and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar is melted and mixture is thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Cool thoroughly. Then drizzle over top of pie and return to freezer until firm.