from my table: s’mores pie
So I’ve never been that into marshmallows.
I think the texture of raw (can you call them that?) marshmallows is weird and spongy and slightly too sticky for comfort. I used to eat them smeared with peanut butter as a kid, mostly because the peanut butter covered up the creepy marshmallow texture and they delivered the sugar shot-in-the-arm I was seeking. When it comes to hot cocoa, I always ask for whipped cream and overall, I could leave marshmallows in the cupboard indefinitely.
But in the summer, something changes.
Specifically, marshmallows change.
When speared on a stick and stuck in a campfire and roasted until they are mostly burnt and almost, just almost, falling into the fire.
What began as thick and gummy becomes soft and melty and roasty-toasty and lush. To help along my conversion, I recently discovered that making homemade marshmallows really isn’t hard at all and they are leaps and bounds better than the stiff and chemical-laden marshmallows in the bag. So, as summer winds to a close, I think it is our human, American, Christian, culinarian duty to eat as many roasted marshmallows as possible. If they happen to meet up with chocolate and graham crackers on the way, all the better.
In the spirit of marshmallow reconciliation, I made this S’mores Pie for the 4th of July this year and happily spent the rest of the night scraping marshmallow bits off my face and licking my fingers. This pie, while beautiful to behold, is gloriously ooey-gooey, sticky, oozy goodness. It’s a little messy, sort of rough around the edges, a bit crumbly, and completely sexy for it. Trust me, you will want this pie all up in your facial business.
Celebrate these last few days of summer with this pie and, in January, when you are still finding bits of marshmallow in your hair, you can trim it out while sighing dreamily, “Hot damn, that was some pie.”
From Smitten Kitchen
5 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for greasing
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 graham crackers; 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
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, 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). 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.
Brown topping: 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.
Serves 6-8 people