Two years ago, I embarked on a PieQuest. My PieQuest began with reading magazines. This recipe comes from Spirit magazine from Southwest Airlines but unfortunately, it didn’t quite turn out like it did in the picture.
S’mores Delight Pie is originally from Perfect Pies: The Best Sweet and Savory Recipes from America’s Pie-Baking Champion by Michele Stuart. Unfortunately, when I made it following the recipe instructions, it didn’t turn out even close to the intended result.
This pie is almost a s’more cream pie. The idea is a graham cracker crust coated with hot fudge sauce and filled with marshmallow-flavored-and-studded custard. On top, hot-fudge-dipped graham crackers, whipped cream/marshmallow cream and toasted mini marshmallows.
If that sounds like a lot of work—it is. The hot fudge sauce is made from scratch and requires 5 hours’ cooling. The custardy filling, which you can make while the hot fudge sauce cools, has to be refrigerated for an hour and a half before assembling the pie. And then you refrigerate for another 12 hours. And then you top it and broil it.
So basically this is an 18-hour pie. That might be worth it—once—if it turned out amazing. Or even turned out at all. It didn’t.
For starters, I don’t think the hot fudge sauce was supposed to actually be chilled before you poured it in the crust. The directions do say “pour” not “scrape out of the bottom of the bowl and spread,” as fully chilled hot fudge sauce requires.
Another problem with this recipe was in the “marshmallow vanilla cream.” How long do you think it would take just over six and a half cups of a cold liquid to heat to bubbling on medium heat in a medium saucepan, while whisking constantly? Here’s a hint: not four minutes.
However, the directions said, “Place saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly until the cream starts to bubble and thicken, about 4 minutes.” (And yes, my stove was already warm.) After 10 minutes of constant whisking, the milk had barely begun to froth. Was that what they meant by bubble?
I’ve made puddings before. I know what it means for something to bubble and thicken. This wasn’t it. And yet I’d diligently followed the directions, and I’d cooked it for two and a half times the recipe’s direction. Torn, I decided to pull the “marshmallow vanilla cream” from the stovetop. It was the wrong decision.
I cooled the filling with an ice bath and stuck it in the refrigerator for as much time as I had (another error: I only allotted an “insignificant” 14.5 hours to making this pie). Then I assembled the pie. Because the graham cracker crumb crust apparently isn’t enough graham, the hot fudge layer on the bottom of the cake is topped with graham crackers. Do you know what happens when you pour a not-thick-enough pie filling on top of graham crackers?
I’ll tell you: they float. I was too afraid to find out, but I worried that not only did the graham crackers float, but that they’d pulled up the hot fudge sauce and the graham cracker crust underneath. I closed my eyes, spread the hot fudge sauce on the top layer of graham crackers (again, chilled hot fudge sauce isn’t something you can dip a graham cracker in, at least not to coat it for a pie, so this looked pretty ugly already), and stuck it in the fridge to hope for the best.
The next day, I took a peek at the pie-fail I was hoping to bring to a potluck. I tilted it to one side—and decided to make cookies.
After nearly 24 hours in the refrigerator, I knew it was time to give up hope my s’more pie soup would magically turn into a cream pie. Unwilling to throw good food after bad, I decided to forgo the “fluff whipped cream” (another 30 minutes of effort and cream and marshmallow fluff) and just top with the mini marshmallows and broil.
It looks good here. I’m creative like that. Just take a look at this filling:
This is what we call a “Bake Fail.” I think “epic” is overused in Internet slang, but it might actually apply here. The only part of the pie that actually worked out was the store-bought crust. And you know what? That’s probably good, since the other recipe from this book featured in the magazine was a traditional pie crust: and it called for so much shortening that it crumbled at the slightest touch.
Could this pie work? Yes, if you have two days before you want to eat the pie, and you trust yourself more than the directions. But barring that, make this s’mores pie, which is faster (and tastier in my experience), or try this alternative: s'mores delight. Not only easier, but faster and foolproof. What’s not to love about this?