Thursday, November 14, 2013

s'mores pie

Every year for Thanksgiving, we have a variety of pies. Maybe even more pies than side dishes.  We have the traditional (pumpkin, pecan),  family traditional (key lime, invariably failed cherry), and at least one wild card.  This year, the wild card is s'mores pie.  Besides tasting really delicious and looking really appealing, this pie is perfect to prepare ahead of time, so you can focus on things like running out of sage for the stuffing.

S'mores Pie

     for the crust
11 sheets of graham crackers, or about 1 1/2 packages (I recommend Honey Maid)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
6 tablespoons butter
     for the filling
1 1/2 cup half & half
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
9 ounces 70-77% cacao chocolate
7 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
     for the topping
1 cup mini marshmallows

Graham Cracker Crust (recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour)
Place the butter, cut into chunks, in medium-sized microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave the butter for 1 minute on high. Stir until solid pieces are melted. Add the graham crackers to a food processor, and pulse until they are finely ground.  This should be about 1 3/4 cups of crumbs.  Add the sugar to the crumbs and pulse to mix.  Add the crumb-sugar mixture to the melted butter and stir.  Press the mixture into an ungreased 9-inch pie plate, covering the bottom and sides.  A glass or measuring cup is handy for pressing the pie crust.  Refrigerate the crust for 15 minutes, then bake at 375 for 13-15 minutes.  Allow the crust to cool completely.

Chocolate Filling (recipe adapted from Flour Bakery)
In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate for 1 1/2 minutes.  Stir until all the chocolate has melted.  In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, scald the cream and half & half.  (Heat until bubbles form around edge of pan, but do not boil.)  Pour the cream and half & half over the chocolate and stir until incorporated and smooth.  In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar.  Slowly pour the chocolate mixture in, whisking constantly.  (A bowl with a rubberized bottom is hand here, so is a friend!) Once completely combined, pour the mixture into a heavy saucepan.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly (a rubber scraper works well).  Cook until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon.  This took about 10 minutes for me.  Stir in the vanilla and salt, then strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl.  Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard, and refrigerate until completely chilled and set.

Assemble the pie
Add the chocolate custard to the pie pan and smooth out the top.  The custard will be very thick.  My pie turned out pretty deep; you can leave out some of the filling if you want a shallower pie.  Sprinkle the marshmallows on top, covering the surface.  Place the pie in the oven set to broil (mine has a high and low setting; I used high) until the marshmallows are nicely toasted.  Do not leave! This will only take about a minute.  Chill the pie until ready to serve.

-By all means, use a readymade pie crust if you desire.  However, you won't regret making the one above.  If you do make it yourself, I recommend making your own graham crumbs.  The storebought ones don't have the same flavor.
-This chocolate filling is very rich.  I like it because the dark chocolate flavor balances the sweetness of the pie nicely, and because it doesn't contain cornstarch (no lumps!).  It also firms up nicely for a good, clean cut.
-Toasting the marshmallows left the filling a little soft.  Refrigerating the pie after makes it easy to slice.  The marshmallows won't be warm when you serve it, of course, but they stay nice and soft.
-I toasted the marshmallows under the broiler for the sake of simplicity and safety, but a kitchen torch might work here.  If you want to go that route, I suggest testing it first on some sacrificial marshmallows.

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