I’ve never met a person who didn’t like s’mores. Even my non-sweet eating husband has been known to sneak a bite or two behind the barbecue grill when no one was looking. I’m not surprised. What’s not to love about oozey melted chocolate and ooey, gooey toasted marshmallows sandwiched between crunchy graham crackers? Nothing, that’s what. Never mind that they’re sticky and messy and a pain to eat. That’s part of their charm. They’re “s’mores”, and the name speaks for itself.
Although I found no concrete proof of this, s’mores are said to have been invented by a group of Girl Scouts on a camping trip, in the early part of the 20th century. In fact, the first published recipe for s’mores appeared in the 1927 Girl Scout Handbook. You’ve got to hand it to those Girl Scouts. They’re an industrious bunch! I wish I had been a Girl Scout when I was a kid. My mother told me that that that they didn’t have Girl Scouts where we lived. I think she made that up. She said the same thing when I asked if I could take ballet lessons. My mother was never much of a joiner.
Mini SGCC was a Girl Scout though. She made it all the way through from Brownies to Cadettes. Then she discovered boys, and that was the end of scouting – and s’mores.
This S’more Pie is a slightly more sophisticated take on the original, though it has all of the same elements: crunchy graham crackers, smooth, creamy chocolate and toasted marshmallows. The graham crackers make up the crust and the chocolate comes in the form of a rich, velvety dark chocolate pudding. And the toasted marshmallows… Well, they’re still just toasted marshmallows. I had other plans for them too, but I’ll get to that later.
The recipe for this chocolate pudding came from Gourmet Magazine. It’s made with milk, cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate, and thickened with cornstarch. What I liked about this recipe was that it didn’t have a custard base, so there were no eggs to worry about tempering. This made it all about the chocolate. Sometimes, eggs can get in the way and muddle things up. Feel free to use your own favorite chocolate pudding recipe, if you have one.
The graham cracker crust is just a mixture of crushed crackers, sugar and melted butter. It’s one of the simplest things in the world to make. Maybe that’s why I love it so much. No rolling, and it always turns out right.
The chocolate pudding is really a cinch to make too. You just heat all of the ingredients together in a saucepan, and whisk until they thicken. Gotta love that!
Before the marshmallows go on, the pie needs to be chilled for a few hours. If you skip this step, you might end up with chocolate pudding soup when you toast them. Chocolate pudding soup would probably still taste good, but it would be a little difficult to eat with a fork.
I had originally planned to be all fancy and pipe Marshmallow Fluff rosettes all over the top of this pie. This was a great idea in theory, but not in application. While you would think that Fluff has enough substance to stand up when piped, it does not. At least, mine didn’t. My rosettes kept flopping and falling, and I’d have to keep pulling them off and start over. I went through an industrial sized vat of the stuff before I finally gave up. Burnished little peaks would have definitely been prettier, but sometimes you have to cut your losses and move on. Besides, the pie looks more “s’more-like” with mini marshmallows on top. I think it has a certain “rustic charm”, don’t you?
I will also tell you that this pie is not easy to cut. The marshmallows are way too sticky and gooey to get a neat slice. Of course, if you aren’t planning to photograph it, it doesn’t matter. If you are, like I was, then use a really sharp knife moistened with a light coating of flavorless cooking oil. I didn’t figure this out until after I had already massacred half of the pie – which is why I don’t have a shot of any of the slices. I make these mistakes so you don’t have to. You can thank me later.
All glitches aside, this S’more Pie is really some kind of wonderful! And, you don’t even have to fire up the grill to make it. But, don’t take my word for it. Make one for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
- 4 cups crushed graham crackers
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 8 tablespoons butter, melted
For the Chocolate Pudding filling (adapted from Gourmet Magazine):
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups whole milk
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not more than 60% cacao), finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups mini marshmallows
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Make graham cracker crust: Mix crust ingredients together in a bowl until thoroughly combined. The mixture should have be the consistency of wet sand.
- Press crumb mixture into a 9 or 10-inch pie dish and bake for 10 minutes. Cool.
- Make pudding filling: Whisk together cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium-sized heavy saucepan and gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Keep boiling and whisking for two more minutes until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate and vanilla until smooth.
- Pour filling into cooled pie shell and chill for at least two hours. Cover the surface with wax paper to prevent a skin from forming.
- When chilled, remove the pie from the fridge and top with mini marshmallows.
- Brulee the marshmallows until golden brown using either a kitchen blowtorch or setting the pie under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. If you use the broiler method, watch the pie like a hawk. The topping can go from burnished to burnt in a matter of seconds!