Pie-a-Day #20: S’Mores Summertime Pie

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Nothing says summer like pie and, of course, S’Mores.  This post comes to us from Christie Bishop and the blog Pardon My Crumbs.

I don’t know who first invented the S’more, but I’d really like to kiss them. Or, considering my husband might not approve, just give them a really big hug. Just think about S’mores for a second. There’s nothing better — especially during a summer campfire, outdoor BBQ or even as an impromptu stove-top dessert — than the combination of a perfectly-roasted marshmallow and melted square of chocolate, squished between two crispy graham crackers. For kids, S’mores are the perfect excuse to get messy with their food. For adults, S’mores are the perfect excuse to act like a kid again. It’s the ultimate win-win dessert.

Making the perfect S’more is an art form, and everyone has their own technique. You know it’s true. Once you get that soft, jet-puffed marshmallow in your hands and secure it to the roasting skewer, it gets personal. Do you go for the scorching method, roasting your marshmallow in a blaze of carmellized-sugar glory? Or are you the perfectionist, constantly turning your marshmallow rotisserie-style until it’s the perfect shade of toasty brown? Do you break the chocolate into pieces, making sure you get some in every bite? Or do you even get that far, instead abandoning the sandwich and popping the roasted marshmallow straight from the skewer?

Whatever your technique, the result is the same for kids and adults alike: a sticky, satisfied, chocolate-toothed grin. Especially for me. Which is exactly why I took the signature S’more and turned it into a pie for the Pie-a-Day Project. It’s got a crushed graham cracker crust, chocolate ganache center and brûléed marshmallow topping. Just consider it the S’more for grown-ups. But don’t worry, you can still lick your fingers.

S'mores Pie 1

S’Mores Summertime Pie (from PardonMyCrumbs.com)

1 1/2 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (12-15 graham crackers)
8 tablespoons melted butter
7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
8 egg whites, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla paste (I use Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste)

1. To make the crust, break up the cinnamon graham crackers into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the crackers are finely ground. If you don’t have a food processor, you can put the graham crackers into a large Ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin or the back of a large spoon. Place the butter in a separate bowl and heat until melted through, either in the microwave or in a small pan. Pour the melted butter into the graham cracker crumbs and mix until the crumbs have completely absorbed the butter (the consistency will be like wet sand). Next, butter a 9-inch pie pan and firmly press the graham cracker crumbs against the bottom and sides of the pan, making sure it is an even layer. Hint: the bottom of a measuring cup is great for smoothing out the crust and pushing it up against the sides of the pan. Place the pie pan in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes (if you’re in a rush for time, 15 minutes in the freezer works well, too).

2. While the crust chills, make the chocolate filling. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the chocolate chips in a large glass or stainless steel bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan until it is scalded (but not boiling). Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let it stand for 1-2 minutes. Using a metal whisk, combine the cream and chocolate together until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is glossy and smooth. Add the salt and one egg into the chocolate mixture and whisk to fully combine. The mixture should be thick, similar to pudding. Remove the crust from the refrigerator or freezer. Pour in the chocolate mixture and spread to edges of crust. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the filling is mostly set but a little wobbly in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool.

3. While the pie is cooling, start the marshmallow topping. Combine the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a double boiler over medium-high heat. Whisk frequently, checking the temperature with a candy thermometer until it reaches 160 degrees (the mixture should be opaque and starting to thicken). Transfer the mixture to a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Mix at low speed, gradually increasing to medium-high speed as the mixture thickens. Beat until the mixture is glossy and forms stiff peaks. Add the vanilla paste and mix for another 10-15 seconds, until it is just combined.

4. It’s time to add the marshmallow topping. Put the marshmallow mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Starting in the center of the pie and moving outwards, pipe one to two-inch tall stars, pulling the piping tip straight up and gradually decreasing the pressure as it pulls away from the pie. Repeat until entire pie surface is covered with marshmallow stars. To brûlée the marshmallow, I prefer to use a culinary propane torch, available at most hardware or cooking stores. Carefully ignite the torch and slowly move the flame back and forth over the top of the marshmallow until it starts to look “toasted.” If you don’t have a culinary torch, you can brûlée the topping in the broiler of your oven. Just cover the crust with foil (to prevent it form burning) and broil it for 2-3 minutes. Keep a close eye on the pie so it doesn’t go from brûléed to burned.

5. Serve and enjoy! Helpful hint: when serving, dip a sharp knife in hot water and then cut through the pie. The heat helps the knife easily cut through the marshmallow.