One of the first non-animated musicals I saw was Oliver! In the days before DVDs or even videos, my local school hosted movie nights as a money-maker. The principal set up a projector, and a gym full of families watched the movie of the month. As a child, I found this movie terribly sad, but the music is wonderful. “Consider Yourself”, “I’d do Anything” and “Reviewing the Situation” are just some of the songs I can still sing all these years later.
You’d probably guess that I’d use a recipe inspired by “Food, Glorious Food”. I must admit, that song gave me lots of options, from gruel to pease pudding to cold jelly and custard. But inspiration led me to perhaps the most famous line from the show. It’s mealtime at the workhouse, and Oliver dares to ask the officer in charge:
“Please, sir, I want s’more.”
(Yes I know, he actually said “some more”. Grant me a little poetic license here.)
Oliver would have thought he’d died and gone to heaven if he’d eaten this S’more Pie. It’s surprisingly easy, even if you make the marshmallow topping from scratch like I did. You could easily substitute store-bought marshmallows; it probably would have been more practical, given the heat and humidity on the day I made the pie. The weather cost me some volume in the marshmallows, but the taste more than made up for it. Also, as a family we prefer sweet to bittersweet chocolate, but I used equal amounts in this recipe to counteract the sweetness of the marshmallow topping.
This pie is a grown-up version of my favourite childhood camp treat. Food, glorious food, indeed!
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup graham wafer crumbs
½ tsp sugar
For chocolate cream filling:
7 oz (about 200 grams) good quality chocolate, finely chopped (I used half milk chocolate and half bittersweet)
1 cup heavy cream
1 large egg, at room temperature for 30 minutes
For marshmallow topping:
1 tsp unflavoured gelatin
½ cup cold water
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
½ tsp vanilla
vegetable oil for greasing
Special equipment: a candy thermometer
For the graham cracker crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the crust ingredients and press into the sides and bottom of a 9” pie plate. Bake 10 minutes, then allow to cool for at least 45 minutes.
For the chocolate cream filling, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Bring the cream just barely to boil in a heavy saucepan, then pour hot cream over the chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then gently stir until the chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Gently whisk in egg and a pinch of salt until combined and pour into graham cracker crumb crust. The crust will be about half full. Cover the pie with foil and bake until filling is softly set and trembles slightly in the centre when gently shaken, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool pie to room temperature on a rack (filling will firm as it cools) about one hour.
For the marshmallow topping, sprinkle gelatin over ¼ cup cold water in a large, deep, heatproof bowl and let stand until softened, about one minute. Set aside. Stir together sugar, corn syrup, a pinch of salt and the remaining ¼ cup water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then boil until thermometer registers 260 degrees. When it reaches that temperature, remove from heat. Immediately begin beating the water and gelatin mixture with an electric mixer at medium speed, then carefully pour in the hot syrup in a slow stream, beating continuously. Avoid hitting the beaters and side of bowl with the hot syrup. When the syrup has all been added, increase beater speed to high and continue beating until mixture is tripled in volume and very thick, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and beat until combined, then immediately spoon topping onto centre of pie filling; it will slowly spread to cover top of pie. Chill uncovered for one hour, then cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap or foil, oil side down, and chill at least three more hours. At this point, pie can be chilled for up to one day.
Just before serving, brown the topping. Preheat broiler. Cover the edge of the pie with foil. (I forgot this step, and the sides of the crust got a little dark.) Broil pie 3 to 4 inches from the heat, rotating pie as necessary, until marshmallow topping is golden brown. Don’t leave the pie to go and do anything else, because it will darken in a hurry. Serve immediately.
By the way, after you've made the marshmallows, you'll find baked-on crystallized sugar in the saucepan, which will seem impossible to remove. After the marshmallow has been poured on the pie and it's been set aside to cool, simply pour some water into the saucepan and put it back on the stove at high heat. If your beaters got crystallized sugar on them too, put them in the saucepan at the same time. As the water boils, the crystallized sugar will dissolve. Clean as usual.