Since this is a global blog, I should probably explain what s’mores are – I definitely hadn’t heard of them before moving to the U.S. Traditionally made by kids around a campfire, a s’more is simply a toasted marshmallow sandwiched with a piece of chocolate (usually Hershey’s) between graham crackers. For those in oz, graham crackers are similar to shredded wheatmeal or digestive biscuits. The heat from the toasted marshmallow melts the chocolate to make an oozy, delicious treat that makes you want “some more” (get it?!!). S’mores are now found pretty commonly on restaurant dessert menus and in different forms such as cupcakes, ice cream, and even dessert pizza (I’ve had one and it was pretty good)!
I chose s’mores for the May modern retro challenge because there were 3 components for me to play with. I decided to make a s’mores tart and came up with an adult’s (read: alcoholic) version.
Graham crackers = graham cracker and ginger tart shell
Hershey’s milk chocolate = dark chocolate and grand marnier ganache filling
Marshmallows = homemade orange and grand marnier marshmallows
I made the tart shells and chocolate filling a day in advance. The mixture for the tart shell was crumbly and hard to work with. I was making individual tarts, and it wasn’t until the third one that I discovered an easy way of molding them (see recipe for further details). The chocolate filling was a cinch, although I wished I had spiked it with more grand marnier (I’ve made that adjustment in the recipe).
The marshmallows required cooking sugar syrup to a certain temperature, and then whipping them into egg whites (similar to making a meringue). I didn’t realize until it was too late that my trusty sugar thermometer had run out of battery! For those of you who haven’t cooked with sugar before, there are various different stages of sugar done-ness, and a few degrees here or there can mean success or failure of a dish. I was feeling pretty worried, but luckily a quick google search told me how to check the different stages without a thermometer. Ten minutes later, I was happily scooping the marshmallows on top of my tarts.
I love desserts that can be made in advance and require minimal work before serving. It makes it so much easier, especially if you are cooking a meal also. Just before serving, I used a blow-torch to brown the tops of the marshmallows to give them a campfire taste, and they were perfect! We made tea to serve with dessert, but the tarts were finished even before the tea arrived…