I recently read about W.H. Auden’s theory that a writer’s mind has three personality types. They aren’t necessarily the same personality types, so I’ve been trying to figure out who mine are. I believe that one of my personality types is a strict, elderly schoolteacher, fond of rules, lectures, and corporal punishment, constantly pursing her lips and shaking her head disapprovingly. When I was a teenager, one of my friends referred to me as “Mommy,” because I was always the one to scold her “wrongdoings” and also to offer sound advice. I’d like to think that I’ve tamed the schoolteacher a bit as I’ve gotten older, but she often rears her judgmental head.
The second personality housed within my mind is a petulant, stubborn, and mischievous child, probably left over from my own petulant, stubborn, and mischievous childhood. This personality is the one who caused me, this weekend, to pout and whine and thrash about when it came time for me to take a shower, to sulkily stomp up the stairs to take said shower, and to hide on the floor next to the bed for twenty minutes instead of taking a shower. At which point my husband came up, found me hiding, and led me into the bathroom.
Because I’m a food writer, I’d like to think the third is an extremely fat chef. In my head, that personality is male, but that’s probably just because I’ve internalized the sexism in the culinary field. In any case, he is jolly and eats with unabashed zeal. He also has a jiggly double chin and a German accent. Go figure. I blame him for thinking that instead of dipping each Oreo into a glass of milk, it would be a good idea to just dump a package of Oreos into a bowl and pour milk over it, then eat them with a spoon.
RELAX. I DIDN’T ACTUALLY DO IT. Geeze.
Anyway, thanks to Fat Chef, I decided I needed more s’mores in my life, so I created this tart. I contemplated using mini marshmallows on the top, but since I try to do things from-scratch as much as possible, I made my own marshmallow topping. I still used Hershey’s milk chocolate and Honey Maid graham crackers for the filling and crust, because I’m a purist. No, they aren’t paying me to say that. Use whatever brands you want. I’m just saying.
By the way, the marshmallow topping is basically the same recipe used to make homemade marshmallows (see my S’mores Marshmallow Pops post). You have to work quickly and you will get hella sticky. I opted for this over a meringue, though, because I can always taste the egg whites in meringue, and marshmallows don’t taste like egg whites, obvi.
I also did something amazing because I’m a freaking genius. I put liquid smoke up in hurr. And smoked salt. Who says you can’t have a campfire taste right from the oven? Not Fat Chef! He’s like, “Ja! Wir stecken liquid smoke aus in hier!” (I’m sorry, high school German teachers. I don’t think we covered this sentence in class. Additionally: I’m sorry, Germans. Your country is beautiful.)
Make like Fat Chef and scarf down this tart with vigor.
- 8 sheets (125 grams) graham crackers
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- heavy pinch of smoked sea salt (or regular sea salt)
- 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 6 ounces (170 grams) milk chocolate, preferably Hershey's, chopped
- ½ cup (115 grams) heavy cream
- ¼ cup (60 grams) whole milk
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 large egg, beaten
- pinch of smoked sea salt (optional)
- 1 quarter-ounce packet (2½ teaspoons or 7 grams) granulated gelatin
- ½ cup cold water, divided
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (164 grams) light corn syrup, divided
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375°F. In a food processor, process graham crackers, sugar, and salt until fine. Pour in melted butter and pulse until mixture clumps together. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 14-inch fluted tart pan. Place tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
- Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
- Place chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine cream, milk, and liquid smoke. Heat over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Pour over chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk together chocolate and milk until combined and smooth. Cool for 10 minutes, then whisk in egg.
- Pour chocolate filling into cooled graham cracker crust. With tart pan still on baking sheet (to catch any drips that may occur), place in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until filling is set (it will just slightly jiggle in the center). Place tart pan directly on a wire rack to cool. If desired, sprinkle the top of the tart with a pinch of smoked sea salt while it is still hot.
- While tart is cooling, make the marshmallow topping. Pour ¼ cup cold water into a heatproof bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the top. (Do not stir; gelatin will soak up the water.)
- Pour ¼ cup (82 grams) corn syrup into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Bring a saucepan half-full of water to a simmer.
- In another saucepan, combine the remaining ¼ cup of water, granulated sugar, and remaining ¼ cup (82 grams) corn syrup. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling. Check temperature of the sugar syrup with a candy thermometer frequently. When temperature of the sugar syrup reaches about 200°F, place bowl of gelatin over the simmering water to melt it. Pour melted gelatin into mixing bowl with corn syrup and turn the mixer speed to low.
- When sugar syrup reaches 240°F, remove from heat and immediately pour into the mixing bowl with the corn syrup and gelatin. Whisk on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, then add vanilla. Beat for another five minutes, until white, fluffy, and glossy. Immediately spoon onto cooled tart, spreading over the surface with a spatula or your fingers. Let rest for 10-20 minutes.
- With a kitchen torch, toast the marshmallow topping (alternatively, place the entire tart under the broiler until the top is lightly browned). Allow to sit for 10-20 more minutes to fully set up. Serve at room temperature, or place in the refrigerator and serve chilled. Cut into bars or wedges, coating your knife with oil between cuts it won't stick to the marshmallow. Separate each piece from the next or the marshmallow will meld back together!