Nicole hosted a late summer BBQ a few weeks ago and cooked up an absolute feast for us. This girl is definitely a true cook – no recipes in sight. She tastes and adjusts as she goes, and just uses whatever she thinks will work together. I so admire this; I rely on recipes (probably too much) whenever I’m cooking and I rarely just wing it, for fear I’ll mess something up and still have to eat it because I have guilt about wasting food. But I digress.
First of all, Hsien & Katie showed up with stocked cooler/portable bar to get things rolling.
For dinner we ate fish tacos with white corn tortillas, mango and black bean salsa, and tomatillo salsa. On the side was a quinoa salad with arugula and roasted tomatoes and peppers and a cute little bowl of gazpacho. Unfortunately there aren’t recipes for anything, because Nicole doesn’t use them, but I did suss out the marinade for the fish is lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper. I think I can handle it!
I brought dessert, and to bring this summer of S’mores to a close, it had to be S’mores Pie. I had it made in the shade with this pie until I got to the marshmallow topping. In my first attempt, I think I let the syrup part get too hot, and then tried to add it too quickly to the gelatin/water mixture. Not to be deterred by the clumps and pseudo-marshallow flying all over my kitchen walls/cupboards/floors, I just started over. I made sure to take the syrup off the heat as soon as it reached the correct temperature, and I ever so slowly added it to the gelatin/water mixture.
I covered the pie and chilled it, and right before serving, we ran it under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top. Of course this made the marshmallow all gooey again, so when I sliced into it, it kind of ran all over the place, because I was too impatient to let it sit for a few minutes to cool off. Drat. However s’mores are supposed to be messy, so this is how I justified it!
If I made this again, I would totally do little s’mores tartletts, or assemble in ramekins, so everyone had there own little s’mores pie, and slicing wouldn’t be an issue. Everyone liked how the topping caramelized and got a little crunchy – kind of like a creme brulee type of thing.
Source: Smitten Kitchen
Graham Cracker Crust
5 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp sugar
7 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used 70%), chopped
1 cup whipping cream
1 egg, at room temperature for 30 minutes
1 tsp gelatin
1/2 cup cold water, divided
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
- For crust, melt butter in a microwave safe bowl, then add graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Mix everything together, and press into a pie plate. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes, then cool to room temperature (about 45 minutes).
- For chocolate filling, place chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Heat cream in a microwave safe bowl until hot (about 1 minute). Pour hot cream over chocolate, and let sit for 1 minute, then whisk until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in egg and a pinch of salt, then pour into graham cracker crust (I strained mine just in case). Try the best you can to cover the edges of the pie crust with tin foil (so they don’t get too brown), then bake for 25 minutes. Let cool for 1 hour.
- Okay, marshmallow time. Set up a big bowl and add 1/4 cup cold water and sprinkle gelatin on top. Get your hand mixer out, plugged in and ready.
- Get a saucepan on the stove over medium heat and add remaining 1/4 cup of cold water, sugar, corn syrup and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and stir until sugar is dissolved, then heat until the mixture reaches 260° on a candy thermometer.
- As soon as it reaches 260°, take that pan off the heat toute de suite!
- Start beating the water and gelatin mixture, then SLOWLY start adding the hot syrup. If you get any clumps, you’re going to fast, but don’t fret, you can just pull out the clump later.
- Once all the syrup is added, continue to beat for 5 minutes until the mixture has tripled in volume and is really thick (like marshmallow fluff). Add the vanilla, and beat in, then pour marshmallow topping on top of the pie.
- Chill uncovered for 1 hour, then cover with a piece of plastic wrap that you sprayed with non-stick spray so it won’t stick, and chill for 3 more hours.
- Before you’re going to serve, run the pie under the broiler for a few minutes until it gets toasty and brown (watch it carefully, this happens very fast). Let sit for 10 minutes (learn from my mistake) before slicing and serving.