As you might be able to tell from the number of sweet vs savory recipes, I’m more a salty than sweet person. That said, the sweets I do enjoy tend to be a 100% sugar. I can never say no to meringue or cotton candy.
Shoddy bakers unite!
It doesn’t help that I am a notoriously poor baker. The world seems to be divided up into people who can cook and people who can bake (and people who can do neither).
I am firmly in the first group. Cooking is easy and a lot more slap dash (to probably quote Keith Floyd). Dinner doesn’t taste quite right? Usually there’s something you can add to fix it. With baking? Not so much. This is how I’ve ended up serving many a ‘deconstructed’ cake to friends. Art saves.
I promised myself to do more baking this year and have found American bakes lend themselves a lot better for shoddy bakers like me.
I’ve baked a glorious peach cobbler, some wonderful Christina Tosi creations and an amazing first tarte tatin (which is French, and its success was probably more related to a month of binging Bake Off , though I guess Netflix is American so it kind of works).
Easy as Smores Pie
I also made this ridiculously good smores pie for a friend’s birthday.
I’ve always been obsessed with smores, due to the marshmallow (i.e. 100% sugar) situ. But I could never figure out what an equivalent for Graham Crackers are until an American friend was so friendly to Google it for me.
This isn’t so much baking as it is throwing shit together. Which is great.
Easy as Smores Pie
- Food processor
- Pie dish or cake tin, 22 cm or 8.5 inches in diameter
- Torch, optional
For the crust
- 2 c / 250 gr graham crackers or local equivalent, ground down to a course pulp
- 1/4 c / 60 ml butter melted
For the filling
- 275 gr dark chocolate broken into more manageable pieces to aid melting
- 1/2 tsp / 2.5 ml vanilla extract you can also use the seeds of 1 proper vanilla pod
- 1 shot rum optional, but definitely not if kids or people who don't drink alcohol are involved
- pinch salt
- 2 large eggs
For the topping
- large marshmallows as many as you can fit
To make the crust
- Preheat your oven to 160° C/ 325° F.
- Mix together 2 c/ 250 gr of graham cracker crumbs or local equivalent in a bowl with the 1/2 c/ 115 gr of melted butter.
- Press the crumb and butter mixture evenly into a pie dish. You want to press quite firmly so it'll hold together once it's baked. If you don't have a pie dish you can use a regular cake tin, I would just fill the bottom in this instance and not bother with an edge.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes. Keeping a keen eye out because the edges can burn really quickly if you're not mindful. Leave the oven on so the filled pie can go back in.
To make the filling
- Whisk together 3/4 c/ 180 ml cream and 1/4 c/ 60 ml milk and warm gently over a low heat on a saucepan.
- Melt in 275 gr broken down chocolate.
- Once the chocolate has completely melted, take off the heat. Leave to cool a little so the eggs won't curdle and then whisk in 1/2 tsp/ 2.5 ml vanilla extact, 2 large beaten eggs, a pinch of salt and a shot of rum (if using) before whisking until smooth.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the baked crust and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the chocolate is set. Make a little tent out of tinfoil to protect your pie crust from burning if that happens before the chocolate is set.
For the topping
- Cut your marshmallows in half (I found scissors are easiest for this) and squish as many on top of your baked pie, cut side down, as many as you can until the filling is completely covered.
- If you have a blow torch, light 'm up and burn those fuckers until they're puffed and brown.
- Otherwise set your oven to grill and place your rack in the second slot from the top.
- Place your pie in the oven and sit there like a Bake Off contestant, hunched in front of your oven, until the marshmallows start to puff up and brown. You may want to turn your pie round every so often to ensure an even coloring. Be sure to take your pie out of the oven BEFORE the marshmallows start to burn (shocking I know).
- Feel a slight tinge of sadness when you take the pie out and the marshmallows start to slump. Leave to cool for 2 hours before tucking in.You can make this with a proper meringue topping, but that's on you.