Saturday, September 1, 2012

coffee s'mores pie.

I have had this pie on my list of things to make this summer since the middle of May.    It took me until today to finally make it.  Why it took me three and half months to make it I don’t know, perhaps it was that too many weekends were spent traveling, or I was overly enamored with the fruit at the farmers market that that took precedence over all chocolate desserts, or maybe it was because I never seemed to have all the ingredients at home at the right time but, I finally got it together and made it before the unofficial end of summer arrived.  This is the pie to bring to a Labor Day BBQ or to share with friends while enjoying one of the last alfresco evenings; it reminds everyone of the flavors of their childhood but with a grownup spin.  (S’mores always makes me think of finding sticks in the backyard with my siblings and loading them up with marshmallows to burn over the dying flames in the grill as the sun set behind the trees.)  This pie is quick and easy to make, it involves no baking and no fancy equipment.  The flavor is familiar, marshmallow, chocolate, and graham crackers but the familiar gets upgraded up with the addition of coffee and a touch of sea salt. It begs to be cut into fat wedges and served with tall glasses of ice cold milk - the perfect finale to summer. 

Coffee S’mores Pie
Recipe adapted, barely, from Bon Appetit

Graham Cracker Crust

9 whole graham crackers, ground finely in a food processor
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons Nutella
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon sea salt

Coffee Ganache

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped finely or chips
2 tablespoons ( ¼ stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons espresso powder
½ teaspoon sea salt


2 large egg whites (new eggs!)
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup sugar

Graham Cracker Crust: Mix graham cracker crumbs and remaining ingredients in a small bowl to blend.  Press mixture onto bottom and up sides of a 9 inch metal or glass pie dish; chill until crust is firm, about 30 minutes.

Coffee Ganache: Place chocolate, butter, and salt in a large bowl.  In a pot bring cream, coffee, and 2 tablespoons water to boil.  Pour hot cream mixture over chocolate and butter and stir until ganache is smooth.  Pour into chilled crust; smooth top.  Chill until set, about 1 hour.

Meringue: Using an electric mixer with clean dry beaters on medium speed, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until light and frothy.  Add sugar in 4 additions, beating for 1 minute after each addition.  Continue beating egg whites until stiff and glossy.

Spoon meringue over coffee ganache.  Swirl decoratively with a spatula or the back of a spoon.  If you have a kitchen torch, toast meringue until golden brown in spots.  Pie can be made 8 hours ahead and kept chilled.

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