Sunday, November 22, 2009

Oven-Free S'mores Pie

Firstly, may I acknowledge the well-established fact that I am a terrible blogger?  My sincere apologies to you, hungry reader, for the unkept promises of pie.  Here's the Reader's Digest version of what happened:

Once upon a time, Meg was unemployed and anxious.  She started a pie blog as a creative outlet and a fun excuse to bake tasty things.  Alas! she neglected to consider that having immense amounts of free time does little good when one can't afford baking supplies.  But, lo, what should appear on the horizon but a job at yonder Bi-Mart?  And so, we leave our pie-baking cheese-devouring heroine in a new predicament: all the flour and fruit in the world but never the time to use it!

Wouldn't Reader's Digest be about 1000 times better if they wrote each article like a fairy tale?



Maybe not so much.  On with the pie!  Today's featured pie comes at the request of the dashing foreign love of my life.  Apparently Australia hasn't discovered the wholesome, squishy deliciousness that is s'mores-- can't imagine why a continent threatened by raging wildfires wouldn't embrace that one...  Thankfully, things are a little moister here in the Pacific Northwest, so we've indoctrinated him quite thoroughly.  In honor of his poor deprived Aussie brethren, however, I give you the no-bake outback friendly s'mores pie.

Buy this:
  • Pre-made graham cracker crust
  • 1 pkg. chocolate Jell-O Cook & Serve Pudding (4-serving size)
  • 1/2 tub of Cool Whip
  • 1 c. mini marshmallows
  • 1 regular size Hershey bar
Do this:
  • Prepare pudding as directed on package, stirring constantly.
  • Once pudding begins to thicken in saucepan, stir in Cool Whip.  Continue to stir until Cool Whip has melted completely.
  • Carefully pour pudding into pre-made crust.
  • Sprinkle marshmallows across top of pudding.
  • Place pie in the refrigerator and allow to chill for 30-45 minutes.
  • Remove pie from refrigerator and press chunks of the Hershey bar into the surface.
  • Replace pie in refrigerator and allow to chill for 2 hours.
As a former teacher-in-training, I feel almost preternaturally compelled to explain my choices in putting this little puppy together.  In fact, it kind of bothers me to give such bare-bones directions without immediately describing at length why a person would want to buy or do these things.  So, here are the footnotes, in all their transparent glory!

The first important question is the issue of crust.  I think a graham cracker crust really just makes sense for this pie, since graham cracker flavor belongs in s'mores.  What's unusual, though, is my endorsement of pre-made crusts.  Under most circumstances, pre-made pie crusts are really not my cup of tea; they send the tacit message that the eater need only enjoy the filling, and that the crust really only exists as a formality.  Now, I'm a girl who loves my filling, but to me, the best part about pie is the interplay of filling and crust-- an interplay that loses depth and nuance when you rely on clunky pre-made dough.  However, crumble crusts are my big exception to this pickiness.  I honestly think pre-made crumble crusts taste exactly the same as handmade ones, and they're a hell of a lot less work for those of us without food processors.

Next up is the Jell-O pudding-- this one is deeply negotiable to me.  If I were better-versed in pudding (and less lazy), I might consider doing this from scratch, but the Cook & Serve variety is pretty darn good.  I think the instant variety tastes a little wonky and the consistency isn't as satisfying, plus Cook & Serve is not exactly a huge step up as far as preparation complexity is concerned.  I cut in half a tub of Cool Whip to lighten the filling up a bit, as well as to take up a bit more space inside the pie crust.  If you dig a richer, more chocolatey pie, you could just as easily make 2 packages of filling and leave out the Cool Whip.

Also, it is mandatory that you pronounce "Cool Whip" like this.

Last note of importance is one of explanation: why wait to add the chunks of chocolate?  This was a trial-and-error discovery.  If you break up your Hershey bar and press in the chocolate while the pudding is still hot, the chocolate chunks melt and start looking all zombie-fied, instead of looking clean and crisp.  More than anything, it's aesthetic, but taste-wise it's also nice to maintain the solid chocolate chunks to contrast with the squishy filling and marshmallows.


S'moresy and delicious!

All said and done, this is an almost retardedly easy pie that people really can't get enough of.  I've seen a few restaurants offer various iterations of this idea, often with restauranty flourishes like chocolate mousse across the top.  Call me crazy, but I think this one is best simple and straightforward, with all the tasty s'mores flavors and none of the burnt marshmallow adhered to your tongue.

I've been struggling to rate this pie honestly, because my many layers of guilt complexes tell me that easy undertakings aren't allowed to yield fabulous results.  Yet, try as I might, I can't convince myself that there's anything wrong with the finished product of this pie.  Short on time, I made one for our wedding reception (we had a pie table instead of a cake) and despite my embarrassment from bringing something so simple, it was one of the first to run out.  Bottom line, this pie is lightning quick, hard to mess up and easy to gobble down.  In my book, that earns it a full five decimal places of pi: 3.14159.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for extra Thanksgiving week posts!  Projects on the horizon: Tim Tam cheesecake, Peach Glac√© pie, and a bonus recipe for my mom's top-secret Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies!

4 comments:

  1. YAY!!! I've been waiting for another post =)

    Loving the cooooool whip clip! Hamish and I often randomly said it like that whilst walking around the shops :P

    Alas, it is true.... we know only of the legend of the smore in Australia. Hamish and I went to the USA food store on the weekend (as you probably gathered with the Cherry Pepsi) and they had a smores kit... we were tempted... maybe next time!

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  2. I started laughing cuz I didn't even need to see the video to know what you "wher" talking about.

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  3. Watching pushing up Daisies with my roomie... you should update. She's also contemplating law school at Gonzaga... at which point you should be best friends...

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  4. Oh that pie was delish last night.

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