Pie and S'mores. Combo food? Yes. Maybe I like combo foods now. What I liked about this pie is that it stays true to the s'more. It is simply: graham, chocolate and marshmallow. And it is layered like that. It is much harder to make than a s'more and so my main concern was: would making this pie for an entire afternoon be worth it? I mean s'mores are pretty easy. Would I rather just have a s'more? The answer is unclear because I made this for a friend's birthday party tonight. The party was a mystery party and things were pretty crazy. I tried to take a moment to fully experience the s'more pie. And I really liked it. But at the same time I was trying to play my character, a sorority girl working on her MRS degree, and was slightly distracted. People seemed to really like it, though. Many said it was much better than a s'more. Thank goodness! I think the homemade marshmallow was definitely the best part.
This pie was not easy. That is why I have officially labeled my first recipe as advanced. The reason is because candy making is so flippin' hard. For me. Luckily, I spent last Halloween with some friends trying to make candy. We tried to make chocolate turtles, taffy and hard candy. I say tried because all and all the end results were not really all that good. While making taffy, we cooked the sugar too long and ended up making some hard candy. Anyways, we ended up kind of coming up with something that would fit each of those categories in the end. But boy was it a struggle. The problem is that at high altitude, you have to adjust all the candy temperatures. And the adjustment is not straightforward. They say to subtract 2 degrees F for each 1000 ft above sealevel. However, in my experience, it has to be even slightly less.
So, this pie is made up of a graham cracker crust. Tradish. Then, a layer of chocolate cream filling. I used milk chocolate but you could use dark or bitter sweet for more of an adult twist. Lastly, the marshmallow layer. Homemade marshmallows. It is the reason I wanted to make this. Making marshmallows is kind of like making any other candy. Except after boiling and getting to the right temp, you beat it with some gelatin. And this marshmallow layer was the tricky part. For me anyways. Deb, from smitten kitchen, didn't have any problems.
I first followed the recipe and boiled the sugar mixture to 250 degree F. The recipe says 260 so I took off 10 degrees for our 5400 ft altitude. Then, when it was time to beat the hot sugar into the water and gelatin, I had Scot come and drizzle it in for me. As soon as the hot sugar hit the cold water/gelatin, it hardened and the beater couldn't mix it in. It was like hard as a Jolly Rancher. From my other bad experiences with candy making, I knew it meant the sugar got too hot. It had reached soft crack stage. So, I poured the rest of the sugar mixture out onto parchment paper to save as "hard candy" and started over.
Second try, I did the exact same thing, except I only heated the sugar mixture to right below 240 degree F. When the time came to drizzle and beat, I was more aggressive and kept beating even though the sugar again got a little hard when it hit the water/gelatin mixture. It wasn't nearly as hard as the first time, but as we kept combining, it seemed to soften up as I continued to beat. And it worked! Which is good because otherwise I may have thrown the bowl out the window and gave up on candy making forever. Jk. It was fun.
I did have to beat for about 10 minutes to get it to the right consistency. But, it was very rewarding that it worked. Now, I have to make homemade marshmallows. I have been wanting to for a while now. With summer coming up, my goal is to make homemade graham crackers and marshmallows so that we can eat homemade s'mores.
adapted from Gourmet, November 2006 from smitten kitchen with modifications by foodforscot
5 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for greasing
1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs (10 graham crackers or 24 small gingersnaps; about 6 oz, pulsed in a food processor until finely ground)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt (omitted if you use salted butter)
For chocolate cream filling
7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not more than 70% cacao; not unsweetened), finely chopped or milk chocolate for more of a traditional s’more
1 cup heavy cream
1 large egg, at room temperature for 30 minutes
For marshmallow topping
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz package)
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Vegetable oil for greasing
Special equipment: a candy thermometer
Make graham cracker crust:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter pie 9- to 9 1/2-inch pie plate. Stir together all ingredients in a bowl and press evenly on bottom and up side of pie plate. Bake until crisp, 12 to 15 minutes, then cool on a rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes.
Make chocolate cream filling:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Put chocolate in a large bowl. Bring cream just to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan, then pour hot cream over chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then gently whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Gently whisk in egg and a pinch of salt until combined and pour into graham cracker crumb crust (crust will be about half full).
Cover edge of pie with a pie shield or foil and bake until filling is softly set and trembles slightly in center when gently shaken, about 25 minutes. Cool pie to room temperature on a rack (filling will firm as it cools), about 1 hour.
Make marshmallow topping:
Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water in a large deep heatproof bowl and let stand until softened, about 1 minute.
Stir together sugar, corn syrup, a pinch of salt, and remaining 1/4 cup water in cleaned 1- to 1 1/4-quart heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then boil until thermometer registers 260°F (I
recommend 250°F at sea level, a little under 240°F at 5400 ft….or subtract 2°F off of the sea level temperature (250°F ) for every 1000 ft. of elevation), about 6 minutes.
Begin beating water and gelatin mixture with an electric mixer at medium speed, then carefully pour in hot syrup in a slow stream, beating (avoid beaters and side of bowl). However, make sure to beat the sugar mixture as soon as it hits the gelatin water mixture. It will slightly harden at first, just keep beating, it will loosen up. When all of syrup is added, increase speed to high and continue beating until mixture is tripled in volume and very thick, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and beat until combined, then immediately spoon topping onto center of pie filling; it will slowly spread to cover top of pie. Chill, uncovered, 1 hour, then cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap (oiled side down) and chill 3 hours more.
Preheat broiler. Transfer pie to a baking sheet. Cover edge of pie with pie shield or foil and broil 3 to 4 inches from heat, rotating pie as necessary, until marshmallow topping is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Cool pie on a rack 10 minutes. Slice pie with a large heavy knife dipped in hot water and then dried with a towel before cutting each slice.
[Alternately: I browned the topping with a creme brulee torch. It took some time and didn't get as brown as I think it would have under the broiler (the pie was still cold, and hard to heat up with a small flame) but it does work in a pinch, or when you're away from the oven.]
Note: Pie (before browning topping) can be chilled up to 1 day.
(Servings: 6-8, Prep time: who knows, Cook time: an entire afternoon probs, Difficulty: Advanced)