Thursday, July 19, 2012

recipe: s'mores icebox pie

I'm generally a proponent of making food from nothing more than recipe scraps, raw ingredients, motley kitchen equipment, and your own wits. Some days, that's just not feasible. Perhaps -- just for example, mind -- you spent the night before a potluck luncheon out until four in the morning watching Magic Mike and then, unrelatedly yet thematically, helping an erstwhile Atlantan introduce her new husband to the Clermont Lounge.

Perhaps not. The point here is that we all experience lapses in baking-from-scratch capacity, whatever the cause. For those days, it's good to have a backup plan that will allow you to maintain your reputation as an impressive baker with a minimum of work.

Enter the kitchen blowtorch.

s'mores pie

S'mores Icebox Pie
Idea adapted very, very loosely from Epicurious (more about that below). You'll need a culinary blowtorch -- I love mine. Serves eight to twelve.


a prepared 9-inch graham cracker pie crust
a 5-6 oz. box (or the equivalent weight in smaller boxes) of your favorite stovetop chocolate pudding mix
whole milk OR half & half (however much the pudding box tells you you'll need)
a bag of marshmallows, regular- or mini-sized (you'll use ~5 oz.)

Prepare pudding according to directions on box. If you've got some cocoa powder in the house, toss a couple tablespoons in there for bonus flavor. When it's thickened to your liking, immediately pour pudding into pie crust and smooth surface with the back of a large spoon.

Refrigerate -- uncovered if your fridge isn't stinky, or covered loosely with aluminum foil if it is -- for at least 3 hours, until pudding is more firm than wiggly. I don't recommend covering the pie with the crust package lid -- the crust will get soggy around the edges from condensation.

When everyone's just about ready for dessert, prepare your marshmallows. If you have mini marshmallows, this will consist of opening the bag. If you have larger 'mallows, cut them into rough thirds or smaller -- kitchen shears work best for this. Cut up enough to cover the entire surface of the pie in heaps.

Get your pie out of the fridge. (If you covered it, take care -- lots of condensation will have collected on the cover. Once it's off you can dab any droplets from the pie's surface with a paper towel.) Slice the pie.

Working with one slice at a time, plate the pie. Pile marshmallows on top of the slice at hand, completely covering the surface. Set your blowtorch's gas output to low and hold the torch 4+ inches away from the marshmallows. Roast 'em, rotating the plate to get as much caramelization from as many angles as possible. Blow out any lingering flames. Serve.


You could probably add a tablespoon of whatever booze you like to the pudding during cooking for extra flavor. Whiskey or something orangey would be nice. And I'd be curious to see whether it'd be possible to use a jar of marshmallow fluff in place of the 'mallows.

Now, if you're having the kind of day where you feel like a superhero of baking, you could just go ahead and make the aforementioned Chocolate S'more Pie from Epicurious. I did that one Thanksgiving and it was fairly spectacular(ly messy):

The marshmallow layer is browned under the broiler -- which the chocolate layer can stand up to 'cause it's a very thick baked custard.

Photos by Maria Melee. At the moment, I was up to my elbows in molten marshmallow.

If you try anything different, let me know how it comes out!