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Cooking

Recipes for spring pies

Grasshopper, Key lime, and savory spinach pie

Start fresh with a noteworthy ending, grasshopper pie.

Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

Start fresh with a noteworthy ending, grasshopper pie.

GRASSHOPPER PIE

Makes 1 9-inch pie

2 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 5 tablespoons, melted

40 chocolate wafer cookies

Salt

1/3 cup green creme de menthe

2½ tablespoons white creme de cacao

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups heavy cream

1 envelope plain gelatin

3 large egg yolks

1/3 cup sugar

With the oven rack in the center position, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie plate with the softened butter, and set aside. In a food processor, pulse the cookies to fine crumbs. Add a pinch of salt and, with the motor running, pour in the melted butter and process until the mixture resembles wet sand. Turn into the pie plate and press evenly across the bottom and sides. Bake for 10 minutes, then cool completely.

In small bowl, mix the creme de menthe, creme de cacao, and vanilla; set aside. In saucepan (off heat), stir gelatin into ½ cup cream; set aside until it softens, about 5 minutes. Heat on low, stirring occasionally, until steaming but not boiling and gelatin melts, about 6 minutes.

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With a mixer, beat the egg yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt on medium-high until thick and pale. Turn to medium-low, beat in the vanilla mixture, then beat in the cream mixture. Strain into a medium bowl, then refrigerate until just wobbly, about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash and dry the mixer bowl and beat the remaining heavy cream until it holds soft peaks, about 1 minute. Whisk about a quarter of the whipped cream into the chilled egg yolk mixture. Fold in the rest until uniform. Scrape into the pie shell, smooth the top, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 6 hours to overnight, and serve.

 

KEY LIME PIE

Makes 1 9-inch pie

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1½ tablespoons grated zest and ½ cup juice from 3 to 4 limes

4 large egg yolks

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Salt

2 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 5 tablespoons, melted

14 graham crackers

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Whipped cream, for serving

Use a mixer to beat the granulated sugar and lime zest until moist and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the yolks and beat at medium-high until thick and pale. Beat in the condensed milk, then the lime juice and a pinch of salt, until uniform; set filling aside. (Note: The eggs in the filling are not fully cooked.)

With the oven rack in the center position, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie plate with the softened butter, and set aside. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers to fine crumbs. Add the brown sugar and a pinch of salt and, with the motor running, pour in the melted butter and process until the mixture resembles wet sand. Turn into the pie plate and press evenly across the bottom and sides. Bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes, then remove and cool completely (leave the oven on).

Pour the filling into crust and bake until it is just set and still slightly jiggly in the center, about 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours. Serve with whipped cream.

TORTA VERDE

Makes 1 9-inch torta

1/3 cup bread crumbs, toasted and cooled

1 cup grated Parmesan

Butter for the pan

2½ cups low-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup arborio rice

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Salt and pepper

2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, cooked, cooled, and wrung dry in a clean dish towel

4 eggs, beaten

In a bowl, mix the bread crumbs with ‚ cup Parmesan. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, coat with ‚ cup of crumb mixture, and set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the broth to a simmer, then adjust heat to keep warm.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil and saute the onion until softened, about 3 minutes, Add the garlic and cook 40 seconds, then add the rice and cook until just translucent at the edges, about 2 minutes. Add a third of the broth and cook, stirring, until it is mostly absorbed, about 4 minutes. Repeat twice with the remaining broth (rice should be only partially cooked). Stir in the nutmeg, remaining Parmesan, 1¼ teaspoons salt, pepper to taste, and the spinach, and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, with oven rack in the center position, heat oven to 375 degrees. When rice mixture is cool, stir in the eggs, pour into the pan, and sprinkle with the remaining crumb mixture. Bake on top of a sheet pan until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes, rotating once.

Cool for 30 minutes, remove the pan sides, and cool 20 minutes longer. Carefully remove the pan bottom and serve.

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