Fall is my favorite season for spending time in the great outdoors, because it means steaming hot cocoa and hearty chili cooked over an open flame. But if you don't have a campfire nearby, this s'mores pie is the next best thing. A graham cracker crust holds sweet chocolate custard and light-as-air marshmallow cream. After a quick toast with a kitchen torch, you may never bother with original s'mores again!
I would have to say that s'mores are definitely one of my favorite things in existence. They take me to a happy place like none other. From summer camp as a girl, to beach bonfires in junior high and backpacking trips in college, they only bring back the best kind of memories. When I lived with my sister in Los Angeles, some nights we even would make s'more's in the microwave in a lame attempt to enjoy our favorite snack.
So you might expect that I have a penchant for anything containing those magical three ingredients: marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate. Whether it's in bar, cookie, or ice cream form, put the word s'more in front of it and I'm done for. Which leads me to the amazingness that is this pie. Because who doesn't want to eat America's favorite treat in sliceable form?! (I know I do!)
This recipe isn't hard, it just requires a little patience in its assembly. If you can make homemade pudding, than you can make this! Don't be scared about making the marshmallow topping, either. You'll be so happy to discover how easy it is that you'll start whipping it up all the time. And hey, if you are feeling a little lazy, just spread some marshmallow Fluff on top and call it a day. This "microwaver" won't judge.
For the crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the chocolate filling:
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 large egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
4 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the marshmallow topping:
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water, divided
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
To make the crust,preheat oven to 350°F. Combine the crumbs, sugar, and sea salt in a medium mixing bowl. Pour the melted butter over the mixture and stir until completely incorporated. Transfer the mixture to a 10-inch springform pan. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, firmly press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and chill until firm, about an hour.
To make the chocolate filling, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk vigorously until light, pale yellow.
In a heavy saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until just scalded. Add about 1/2 a cup of hot milk to the egg mixture and whisk quickly to incorporate, followed by another 1/2 cup milk. Pour the warmed egg mixture to the saucepan with the remaining milk.
Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and begins to gently boil, 12 to 15 minutes. Continue to boil for one minute and then immediately remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and vanilla extract, and stir until chocolate is completely melted and combined. Pour the filling into the cooled piecrust and transfer to the refrigerator to chill. (This step can be done up to 24 hours in advance.)
To make the marshmallow topping, pour 1/4 cup cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the gelatin over top.
Combine the remaining 1/4 cup water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a heavy saucepan whisk to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, occasionally dipping a pastry brush in water and brushing down the sides of the pot. (This prevents sugar crystals from falling into the liquid, which can cause the syrup to crystallize.) Cook, without stirring, until mixture reaches between 250°F and 255°F on a candy thermometer.
Turn the mixer on medium speed to fluff the gelatin mixture. Carefully pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin. Cover the bowl with a cloth (to prevent splattering) and increase the speed to high. Beat for 5 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is glossy white and doubled in size. Add the vanilla and mix another 30 seconds to combine.
Working quickly, scrape the marshmallow mixture over the center of the pie with a silicone spatula. Wet the spatula (or a spoon) with water and gently push the topping outwards to the edge of the pie. If the topping is lumpy, wet your finger to smooth the surface. Chill uncovered in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
To toast the topping, heat under a broiler until golden, 2 to 3 minutes, or lightly toast using a kitchen torch. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. To slice, dip a sharp knife in hot water and clean with a dry towel before making each cut.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)