I was destined to be a baker. My mom was due to have me on March 13th, but instead I decided to make my way into the world on the Ides of March (the 15th). Why does being born the day after Pi Day make me more inclined to love sweets? Well, I like to think that my wee little self had it perfectly planned out so that I would not only get to eat my fill of pies on the 14th, but I'd get to stretch out the sugary celebrations with birthday cake the next day. I couldn't, after all, share my birthday with pie. It's only fair that two great things each get their own day in the sun! [I'm so modest...]
Anyway, I've spent a good week wracking my brain thinking of ways to celebrate. Would I go the sweet route and stick with classics and old standbys?
Or would I shun my sweet tooth and make something savory instead?
In the end, my sweet tooth won out, but flaky crusts did not. I went with graham cracker crusts, married them with Italian meringue, and took the combo in two totally different directions.
Meet the s'mores pie [recipe at the end of this post!]
Please excuse the poor lighting and the chocolate smudge on my messy stove. Knowing that I'd vowed to eat pie and only pie on 3.14, I took to biking 15 miles after work and then going to an hour and a half long yoga class, meaning I was up until the wee hours of the night, kitchenaid whirring and cocoa powder flying. Needless to say, my kitchen was a hot mess (okay I was too, who are we kidding?) and the lighting isn't the greatest at midnight...
Given my rush to get both pies done and my general end-of-the-day tiredness, I made a few blunders with both pies--adding too much meringue to the key lime and not enough to the s'mores pie, believing Bon Appetit when they suggested that Italian meringue would be a good substitute for marshmallow fluff...
Therefore, I give you my take on the s'mores pie with adjustments to how I'll most likely make it next time.
S'mores Pie Components:
1 graham cracker crust [pre-made or homemade--your call!] 1 batch chocolate pudding enough marshmallow to cover the top of a pie [this depends on your own personal preference of course and whether you'd prefer to use a marshmallow recipe or just a can of fluff]
For the crust: 1 1/2 C crushed graham crackers [I intended to make my own and skip the cornstarch in the store-bought but alas, I was short on time! 1 1/2 C is approximately one package of graham crackers in a box of three] 5 T melted unsalted butter 1/4 C sugar
Crush gram crackers in food processor or place in a ziplock bag and take a rolling pin and your aggression out on the poor things. Aim for a fine crumb. No one likes a hunk of graham cracker distracting them in the middle of their pie-eating! Add sugar to crumbs to combine. Mix in butter thoroughly and press mixture into a 9" pie plate. Bake in pre-heated 375 oven for 6 minutes.
For the pudding: [I used a recipe found on Smitten Kitchen with some adjustments as I could only get my hands on a 'semi-sweet' chocolate candy bar and it just didn't taste right]
1/4 cup cornstarch 1/2 cup sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt 3 cups whole milk 6 ounces 62% semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Hershey's Special Dark and had to adjust the flavor with 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder, but if you're not) 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler. Slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients. Place over gently simmering water and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form. After 15 to 20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate (if you're using sub-par chocolate like I did, the time for the supplemental cocoa is now! Add the sub-par chocolate first. Once it's melted, add the cocoa powder). Continue stirring for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
2. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer (I skipped this step. I'm lazy and had no lumps in my puddin') and into the pre-baked graham cracker crust. You'll most likely have extra pudding, so you can either grab a spoon [DON'T JUDGE ME!] or put the rest in ramekins, to which I will say, "OH YOU FANCY, HUH?"
For the topping
Top with the marshmallow goodness of your choice: good ol' fluff, Italian meringue, or a layer of homemade marshmallow. I would recommend filling a piping bag with whatever marshmallow you choose (the latter choice especially) and a fancy tip (I used an Ateco 869 for the key lime) and making the top pretty. Then you can either get out your kitchen blow torch [muahahaha] or stick your pie under the broiler til things look just golden brown and if you burn it, tell everyone you were trying to capture that authentic camp-fire burnt marshmallow experience...riiight.