Wednesday, June 29, 2011

S'mores Pie
(aka Recreating a Restaurant Recipe 101)

Awhile back, Patrick and I had a fabulous dessert at Black Angus called S'mores Seduction.  It looked a little something like this (image found here):

It was absolutely delicious, the perfect blend of chocolatey brownie, graham crackers, toasted marshmallow, and vanilla ice cream.  I knew it was something I had to try to recreate.  Now, I've never recreated a restaurant recipe on my own before.  Previously, I've only searched online to recreate a recipe, but I figured this was a simple enough dish that I could do it on my own.

I started by thinking about the different layers of the dish. The bottom was a graham cracker crust.  Then there was a delicious brownie layer.  On top they had layered rectangles of Hershey's chocolate bars, marshmallows, and graham crackers.  Finally, they topped it all with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The dish that is served in the restaurant is good for say 2-3 people.  I wanted to make this dish for a dinner party I was attending, so I decided to scale it for 12 people.  After thinking about how to best serve the dish, I bought the following ingredients ( I also used two eggs, 2/3 cup canola oil, and water I already had):

Here's the recipe I developed:

S'mores Pie

2 ready-made graham cracker crusts (the big size, I think 9")
2 brownie mixes (I used Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate)
2 eggs
2/3 c. vegetable oil
2/3 c. water
1 milk chocolate bar (I used Hershey's)
12 marshmallows
3 graham crackers
vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  In a large bowl, add the 2 brownie mixes, 2 eggs, oil, and water. 

Using a spoon, stir 40 times until just combined.  Pour half of the batter into each of the graham cracker crusts.
Thanks to Hannah for being my fabulous hand model :)
Bake for approximately 40 minutes.  The batter will be slightly undercooked.  This is a good thing.

Take the pies out of the oven. They should look like this:

Let stand for 10-15 minutes.  The pies will fall a bit, but that just means the brownie portion of the pie will be ooey-gooey goodness. :)

Preheat the broiler on your oven (if your oven has a hi/low broiler option, you want the hi broiler).  Break the chocolate bar and graham crackers into 12 rectangular pieces.  Place 6 pieces of chocolate around the edge of each pie.  Top each piece with a marshmallow.  Then stick a graham cracker in behind each marshmallow (a la a tombstone-- hmm this could be a good Halloween recipe... You could write R.I.P. in frosting on each graham cracker.  Just a thought).

Stick in the oven under the broiler for 3-5 min. just until the marshmallows get gooey and golden brown.  (Note: to help facilitate the gooey-ness, I kept the pies in the oven for awhile as it was cooling down after baking. The reason for this was that we didn't eat it immediately, but I think it was actually unintentional genius on my part.)

When you're done your pies should look something like this:

And, in case your mouth isn't watering yet, here's a gratuitous close-up of the marshmallows: :)

Mmmm, tasty, golden deliciousness.

To finish off the dish, I cut each pie into 6 pieces and topped each with a scoop of ice cream.  It got rave reviews from all.

I'm pleased with how my first attempt to recreate a restaurant recipe turned out.  However, Patrick and I agreed that next time we make this, we'll make the following modifications:
  • We'll make this in a 9x13 glass pan next time.  The sides of the graham cracker crust just crumbled away, and they aren't needed.  Plus, the 1/6 of the pie I made was probably way too much for one person.  A rectangular pan would allow you to cut pieces in a variety of sizes.  I'm thinking you could easily get 16 reasonable servings out of that. (Note: you might need less batter, and/or need to bake it for a different amount of time.  I'll have to play around with that.)
  • Instead of using big marshmallows, I think we'll just sprinkle mini marshmallows all around the dish.  That way the marshmallow flavor is more evenly distributed.
  • The chocolate bar was probably unnecessary.  Although it made the pie look more like a s'more, I think we'll leave it off next time.
So there you have it.  If you decide to try or tweak the recipe, I'd love to hear how it goes.  Do you have any restaurant recipe recreations that have worked well for you?

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