Thursday, March 25, 2010

Firestarter: S'more Tart

A recent edition of a design magazine that I subscribe to featured a gorgeous kitchen on the cover- and sitting on the kitchen’s stainless steel island (that I much covet) was the cutest tart on a cake stand. I eagerly flipped to the article to read up about the kitchen and came across more pics of the tart. I couldn’t decide what to salivate over more- the beautiful, amazing kitchen or that tart. I’ve mentioned more than once that I have a monkey on my back when it comes to making tarts. I’m not sure why they so appeal to me – who can explain an addiction? The article featured more pictures of the loft owned by a Chicago chef and his wife, who is trained and certified in pastry (an editor by day and pastry chef in her free time). Hence the fabulous kitchen - go figure.

The article’s author wrote of enjoying a meal with the chef and wife which culminated with a s’more tart. I went to the mag’s website to see if they might have an adjunct article with more pics or maybe even the tart recipe but there was nothing. So I scoured the internet for s’more tart recipes until I came across this recipe  on Epicurious. It looked promising so I decided to give it a go since we were having a snack day on St. Paddy’s Day at work. Don’t ask me what snacks have to do with St. Patrick but it seemed like a good way to commemorate the occasion.

I dutifully baked the tart according to the Epicurious recipe and piped out the marshmallow topping as it appeared in the mag pics that sent me down this rabbit trail in the first place. According to the Epicurious recipe, you just top the cooked tart shell and chocolate filling with the marshmallow and pop it back in the oven for 12 minutes or so to give it a toasted, s’morey finish. Well, after about 5 minutes in the oven my carefully piped out marshmallow topping started running together and completely dissolved into a puddle. And the graham cracker crust was browning way too much and was in jeopardy of turning as hard as a brick. 

I pulled the tart out and decided to try to salvage it by using a brulee torch to toast the marshmallow. After setting the marshmallow puddle on fire (I had to fan it with a dish towel to extinguish the flame), I gave up on the toasted s’morey look. Turns out putting a small blow torch to a dish still piping hot from the oven isn't really a great idea. At that point it occurred to me that I had been a fool to put the tart back in the oven and could have set the marshmallow with the brulee torch in the first place and would have avoided the whole debacle. Lesson learned…

So I cut off the worst of the burned parts and brought approximately ¾ of a s’more tart to work on St. Paddy’s Day to contribute to the festivities. Fortunately, my co-workers liked it and polished it off. I wasn’t crazy about it, though. It didn’t taste like the s’mores that I remember as a Girl Scout. Not that my Girl Scout days lasted very long as badges and pins do nothing for me and I’ve never much been interested in camping - especially not in Northwest Florida with its rainy summers and mosquito hoards. But I liked the s’mores from those days so I was more than a bit disappointed with my tart results. After a few bites, I realized the bittersweet chocolate (I used El Rey’s Mijao at 61%) didn’t taste like the Hershey milk chocolate bar sections we used for s’mores when I was a kid. I made a mental note to use milk chocolate next time.

A day or two after making the tart, I got the the weekly email update from the design mag and lo and behold, there was a link to the recipe for the s’more tart that had graced the cover of the last printed issue. Another reader was similarly entranced with the tart and had the genius idea to write in and ask for the recipe- what brilliance! Why don’t I ever think of these things? Chelsea Jackson, the baker featured in the article with her chef husband, was kind enough to provide the recipe she used to assemble her s’more tart. As I quickly perused the recipe, I saw that it called for a mixture of 3 parts milk chocolate and one part bittersweet chocolate. And she finished the marshmallow topping with a torch. The fact that at least I was right in the end was small consolation.  I’m going to give the s’more tart another try at some point and am definitely going to use Chelsea’s recipe next time. In the meantime, above you'll see a pic of the tart I made using Epicurious’s recipe. This piece is from the small part of the tart that I didn’t set aflame…

1 comment:

  1. When you do it again, send a piece to Atlanta. That looks divine! And I love that you have a brulee torch... fabulous.