Monday, September 3, 2012

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Mini S'mores Pies


So I'm a little late. August was National S'mores Month, because it's, supposedly, the prime time for campfires. But, I'm sorry, who really wants to cozy up to an open flame during the hottest month of the year? Certainly not me.

September, however, is another story. It signals the beginning of fall (and the birth of me!). It's the season of fleece jackets, pumpkin spice, and fallen leaves. That is campfire weather. 

Unless, of course, you live in an apartment that doesn't have a square of grass in its vicinity. By you, I mean me. The only fire that might happen is inside my apartment, since my pilot light has a habit of extinguishing itself, thereby threatening my life. But enough about the natural gas I regularly inhale during my sleep. Back to the bigger dilemma...

I live in an urban downtown, where campfires aren't too readily available. The next best thing: the broiler in my oven. I started with a crunchy graham cracker crust, whipped up a smooth, deep chocolate filling, and finally, topped it off with cinnamon marshmallows, browned under the broiler. 

The pie isn't overwhelmed by any one layer; rather, every bite delivers the impeccable balance of flavors that makes s'mores so addictive. It's the perfect dessert for the summer-fall transition: not fruity and summery, but not too pumpkin-hot-chocolate-hibernate-for-the-winter either. Take advantage now. 

Mini S'mores Pies

What you need

¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
½ Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp butter, melted

Chocolate Filling 
(adapted from Garden and Gun
5 large egg, yolks
6 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
¼ Tsp fine sea salt
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
7 oz milk chocolate, melted


*I used Kraft Jet-Puffed Cinnamon Bun Marshmallows. The warmth of the cinnamon compensates for the lack of toasty, over-the-open-flame goodness. 

Put It All Together

  1. Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Divide evenly among 5 mini aluminum pie pans; press firmly into the bottom of each pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 7 minutes. 
  2. Make the chocolate filling: Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, sea salt, until thick. Set aside.
  3. Boil the milk in a medium saucepan. Whisk ½ cup of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture (don't pour all of the milk in at once, or the eggs will curdle). Slowly pour in the rest of the milk, whisking constantly. 
  4. Pour the egg-milk mixture into a heat-safe bowl, and place over a saucepan of simmering water, without letting the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Whisk constantly for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mixture looks glossy and thick.
  5. Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla and melted chocolate. 
  6. Divide the chocolate filling evenly among the mini pies, then place marshmallows on top. (They should be touching, without any significant gaps.) Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until the marshmallows are light brown and slightly crispy.  
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