June 11, 2012

S'mores Tarts

For my Shakespeare in the park picnic dessert, I wanted to make something s'mores like. You see, I have this thing for s'mores and anything s'more-ish...cupcakes, bars, scones, cocktails....any thing. So, when I saw "s'mores in a jar" on Pinterest, I knew I'd found my easy-to-pack sweet dish.

That recipe was simply crushed graham crackers, chocolate pudding, and marshmallow fluff layered in jars & topped with toasted mini-marshmallows. Sounded easy enough, but since I didn't want to invest in new jars, I re-imagined this dish as individual tarts...graham cracker crust, fluff, pudding, minis on top (which we toasted at the play with a brulee torch).

Thanks to Jon Gayman for snapping this pic.
While these tarts were cute & fun, they were not very foodie-friendly, having been constructed with all pre-made/packaged products. Plus, the marshmallow fluff simply melted away into a liquidy mess. Eww.

And, we can do better than that now, can't we? Here's my "gourmet" version:

S'mores Tarts
For the crust:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
  • Combine all ingredients and press into the bottoms & up the sides of mini-pie tins or a 9-inch pie plate (or one big s'mores pie).
  • Bake at 400° for 5 minutes (10 minutes if making one larger pie). 
  • Remove from oven & let cool completely before filling.

For the milk chocolate pudding filling (recipe from Epicurious):

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces fine-quality milk chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then gradually whisk in milk and cream. 
  • Bring to a boil over moderately high heat, whisking constantly, then boil, whisking, 2 minutes. (Mixture will be thick.) 
  • Remove from heat. Whisk in chocolate and vanilla until smooth. 
  • Fill cooled crusts with pudding & chill until set.

For the marshmallow topping (recipe from Bon Appetit):

1 cup sugar, divided
4 egg whites
Pinch of kosher salt  
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • Combine 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and simmer syrup without stirring until the thermometer reads 240°, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush.
  • Meanwhile, place egg whites, salt, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment. Whip on high until frothy. Slowly add remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Whip until soft peaks form. Continue whipping until medium peaks form. 
  • Reduce speed to medium, then pour hot syrup into meringue in a slow, steady stream while whipping. Increase speed to high and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Reduce speed to medium and whip until meringue is cool.  
  • Spread on top of the pudding-filled crusts. Keep chilled until ready to use. Use a brulee torch to lightly toast the marshmallow before serving.

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