19 May 2011

holy blogging absence (and a s'mores tart)

Oh hi guys... I guess I didn't realize it had been so long since my last post! Sorry about that. No excuses, really. Just busy living and not blogging about it. (Also, I temporarily lost the camera cord, so I hadn't uploaded photos or used the mac mini in, like, forever.)

Anywho. Did I ever tell you about the S'mores Tart? It's something I sort of invented after I was left with a crapload of ganache (from an inside-out German chocolate cake - also delish). I had already been making my own graham crackers and graham crust with Smitten Kitchen's graham cracker recipe (my new fav to eat raw, since there are no eggs!). So I realized that I had some graham dough and some ganache and both of those things obviously needed to get together. The logical next step was to make some marshmallowy topping, toast that sucker, and dig in. Plus I bought a torch that I had yet to use. (I freaking love torching desserts. You have no idea.) Since it is a perfect summer dessert, why not share now!?

Graham Crust
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen (who adapted it from someone else)

2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (375 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour (a swap of 1/2 cup with whole wheat flour or 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour works well here, too)
1 cup (176 grams) dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt (4 grams)
7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces or 100 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup (114 grams) mild-flavored honey, such as clover
5 tablespoons (77 grams) milk, full-fat is best
2 tablespoons (27 grams) pure vanilla extract

Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Pulse or mix on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and pulse on and off a few times or mix on low until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and dust it lightly with flour, then turn the dough out onto it and pat it into a rectangle about 1-inch thick. Wrap it, then chill it until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.

Butter and flour or spray a removable bottom tart pan, and preheat your oven to 350°F.  

Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a round large enough for your tart pan, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary. Place dough into tart pan (I mostly had to smoosh mine in, so don't worry if it's not Martha Stewart perfect). Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge or 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer. Poke some holes into the bottom of the dough, or use some pie weights. Bake the crust about 20 minutes, until barely firm to the touch.

Use the left over dough for graham crackers, as illustrated in the link. Or eat it. 

Ganache Filling
I used this recipe from Martha Stewart. It makes enough for about 3-4 smores tarts....

1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
2 1/2 cups heavy cream

Chop chocolate finely and place in large heat-proof bowl.

Bring cream to a boil over medium-high heat; pour directly over chopped chocolate. Allow to sit 10 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to gently stir chocolate and cream until well combined and smooth. Let sit at room temperature until cooled and just thickened, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Stick it in the fridge, and after a few hours (or days in my case) it will be about the perfect consistency for schmearing into a graham tart shell. So, schmear in to your cooled tart shell. Chill this until you are ready to spread the marshmallow topping on top, so it doesn't get melty.

Marshmallow Topping
You could commit pastry blasphemy and just buy some marshmallow fluff, but you know that kind of thing does NOT enter my house anymore... So I adapted this recipe from, again, Smitten Kitchen. (Yes, I know that's a S'mores pie, but my tart is a bit different.)

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz package)
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Vegetable oil for greasing 

Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water in a large deep heatproof bowl and let stand until softened, about 1 minute.

Stir together sugar, agave syrup, a pinch of salt, and remaining 1/4 cup water in cleaned 1- to 1 1/4-quart heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then boil until thermometer registers 260°F, about 6 minutes.

Begin beating water and gelatin mixture with an electric mixer at medium speed, then carefully pour in hot syrup in a slow stream, beating (avoid beaters and side of bowl). When all of syrup is added, increase 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 center of pie filling; it will slowly spread to cover top of pie. Chill, uncovered, 1 hour, then cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap (oiled side down) and chill 3 hours more.

Once it has been chilled, whip out your torch and brown that 'mallow! Or I guess slide it under the broiler, but torching it is sooooo much cooler.