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Monday, October 11, 2010

S'mores Pie

On Monday morning, I had woken up early for work and went to email my Office Manager about something and she responded with “Morgan, today is a firm holiday—Columbus Day”. WHAT?! This was news to me. Where have I been? I squealed, I was so excited. So you’re telling me that not only can I go back to sleep, but I don’t have to go to work?? AND! I had already done the "responsible adult" weekend chores like grocery shopping and laundry. I had even washed all of the dishes and cleaned. I had a whole free day—unplanned and unexpected. This is the best feeling ever.

What to do with myself?! I packed up a picnic lunch and headed to Stinson Beach and then went for a little hike on the Hillside Trail in Muir Woods. The weather was perfect—just slightly cooler than body temperature and you can breathe in cool air and the smell of the redwood trees is down-right invigorating. We saw a mule deer grazing along the boardwalk fence. He was unimpressed with the crowd that was gathering to take his photo.

It was such a lovely afternoon. The kind that leaves you feeling relaxed. And inspired. I wanted to set up camp amidst the trees and make a fire and eat s’mores. Of course, you can’t have a campfire in Muir Woods. But, you know what you can do when you have newly discovered extra time on your hands? You can make S’mores Pie.

In Marin (right by Muir Woods), S’mores Pie is a flagship dessert at the Buckeye Roadhouse. It has a thick graham cracker crust with a thin layer of rich chocolate sauce that pools at the bottom. Because this is s’mores for grown-ups, this particular chocolate sauce is spiked with just a little liquor for a subtle boozy flavor. You could use use brandy, grand marnier, Maker’s Mark, bourbon or rum. Then the whole thing is filled with a marshmallow crème that gets torched to a golden brown right at the end to really seal the deal. I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that this kind of gluttony is not for the weak.
Don’t be intimidated by the steps. You essentially press together a crust and melt some chocolate and liquor to make a sauce. The hardest part is making the marshmallow topping, but afterwards you will be so impressed with yourself for making marshmallow from scratch! Then you don’t even really bake this pie—you just lightly brown it in the oven for 5 minutes or so. Voila!

S’mores Pie
Adapted from Robert Price, executive chef of Buckeye Roadhouse.

Ingredients for chocolate sauce:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon dark rum (or rum liqueur, if you have it)
1 Tablespoon bourbon (or Grand Marnier, if you prefer)
2.5 Tablespoons corn syrup
2.5 Tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream

Ingredients for graham cracker crust:
1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 Tablespoons sugar
½ tsp. salt (kosher or sea salt)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 Tablespoons honey

Ingredients for the Marshmallow topping:
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 packets of Knox powdered gelatin
2.5 Tablespoons corn syrup
1.25 cups sugar
4 egg whites
1 pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips


For the chocolate sauce: Put an inch or two of water in small saucepan over medium-high heat and fit a glass bowl over it. When the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer. In the glass bowl, combine chocolate, butter, liquor of choice (2 Tablespoons in total) and corn syrup. Stir frequently until the ingredients are melted. Remove bowl from heat and stir in whole milk or heavy cream and set aside.

For the graham cracker crust: In a large bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt, melted butter and honey until well combined. Press the mixture evenly into a 10-inch pie tin. Pour about a 1/2 cup of the chocolate sauce over the crust and set aside.

For the marshmallow topping: Combine 1/2 tablespoon of cold water with the vanilla extract in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the vanilla mixture and set aside. This will create a firm disc of weirdness—do not be alarmed. It will work itself out. Combine 1/2 cup of water, corn syrup and sugar in a heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Place a candy thermometer in the sugar mixture and cook until the temperature reaches 240° degrees. While the sugar mixture is cooking, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar in an electric mixer until they form soft peaks. When the sugar reaches 240°, remove from the heat and carefully pour over whipped egg whites while the mixer is on low speed. Add the disc of gelatin mixture and mix on medium high speed until dissolved and well incorporated. It should be fairly firm enough to hold soft peaks.

Preheat oven to 450°.

Assemble the pie: Sprinkle the semisweet chocolate chips over the crust and chocolate sauce. Pour about 1/3 of the marshmallow over the chocolate chips. Drizzle remaining chocolate sauce across the marshmallow. Finish off with remaining marshmallow, mounding it toward the center to create a domed effect. If you lightly press a fork or spatula into the marshmallow and then quickly pull upwards, you will create nice little spikes that look pretty professional.

Bake in the over for 5-7 minutes until the marshmallow is golden brown. Remove and let cool. If you cannot wait, you can eat some warm, but it will be a warm spoonable gooey mess. If you somehow find inordinate amounts of patience to refrigerate the pie overnight to allow the marshmallow to set, you will be able to slice yourself a nice pie wedge. You can brown each slice in the oven (or with a kitchen torch) before serving. You could also brown it under a broiler, but be very careful because sugar burns quickly!

You will NOT regret this.


Lea said...

This is the most amazing thing I have ever seen.

Morgan Lee said...

I know. I agree. I wish I had taken a photo of the inside, but I learned the hard way that it's a soft mess until refrigerated. It was still delicious warm, but it holds up better when fully set. I'd like to try making it in a cupcake tin for individual portions.

Nancy Carlson said...

Is this the actual recipe or did you just wing it after eating some. It looks heavenly.

Morgan Lee said...

@nancycarlson - yes, this is the Buckeye Roadhouse recipe as published and adapted from Robert Price, executive chef