Nothing like toasty marshmallows to usher in cozy season! # 146: S’mores Pumpkin Chocolate Tart
Welcome to cozy season! I may include chocolate in every single bake for the next month. (Sorry, not sorry.) The sun is setting before 5pm now, so pour yourself mug of tea and list out all the ways to incorporate chocolate ganache into your life.
My company has an early Thanksgiving celebration each year, complete with a dessert contest that brings out my inner competitiveness. When I need a showstopper, I always pull out my fluted tart tin. It’s blue and fabulous and has never let me down. Two past award winners were my banana cream tart with a chocolate crust and a bakewell tart a la Mary Berry. Tarts are always elegant no matter what you put in them!
As with most of my sweet crusts, I snuck some cinnamon in. Chocolate and cinnamon were meant to be together and I don’t want to get in their way.
Make sure to pop your butter back in the fridge after you cube it – you always want cold butter for crust shenanigans. Besides the chemistry behind the cold butter releasing steam while baking and creating a more flaky consistency in the pastry, it’s just plain easier to work with.
I did two parts regular cocoa, and one part dutch-process for two reasons:
- In pastries that don’t need to rise, dutch-process cocoa is a perfect way to add in a richer chocolate flavor
- I had one tablespoon of it left in my cocoa jar and I really wanted to clean it out. Don’t you just love the feeling of using the exact amount that’s left?
Crumbly chocolate goodness.
Try to wait patiently while its chills for an hour, then roll roll roll. Rolling it out then gently fitting it into the tin will give you a more consistent and even crust.
Keep the trimmings! You can bake then in fun shapes for garnishing or just munch on them while your filling is baking. (Obviously I went with option 2. Yum!)
Since the crust didn’t pack as much of a chocolate oomph as I wanted, I painted it with some ganache. Just microwave some dark chocolate and have cream and mix til luscious.
Next time I might have to just quadruple the ganache and sprinkle crushed candy canes on top and call it a day!
Pumpkin custard is one of those glorious things that only uses one bowl and one whisk. I didn’t have any ginger on hand (classic late night baking struggle) so I improvised a bit with pumpkin pie spice which includes ginger. It’s hard to over-spice it so I’d say lean in the direction of too much. Way better than having a bland pie! Pumpkin itself without it’s spices has very little sparkle.
Since I was covering the top in marshmallow, I wasn’t too concerned with getting it perfectly smooth.
Despite 30 minutes of chilling before baking the crust, it still shrank! I have to have a word with my butter..
For the marshmallow, use fresh egg whites. I tried to use ones that had been frozen, defrosted and set out to room temperature and they failed utterly. I’ll never know why, since that method has worked in the past! They just wouldn’t whip. Had to dump it out and scrupulously clean and dry the bowl before starting over again. Sigh.
Boiling hot sugar syrup (including corn syrup) and melted gelatin are the secrets to a happy marshmallow texture. Even though the hot gelatin smells terrible, your marshmallow will still be delicious and sweet! Plus you’re adding vanilla later so I promise it’ll be yum.
Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble…
2nd times the charm! Get the egg whites frothy, pour the hot sugar syrup in slowly while they continue to whip, then melt the gelatin that’s been softening and pour it in slowly as well. Splash in some vanilla and whip til the outside of the bowl is cold. Hopefully you should end up with a bowl of opaque white marshmallow fluff!
**quietly sings Christmas music to self**
I always find that I want a taller pint glass, instead of folding the bag down to the edge. Either way, enlist the help of a glass because filling a piping bag requires at least four hands.
I really wanted to pipe a design a la Thida Bevington, but marshmallow is a bit softer than buttercream and you can’t quite see the individual piping lines. Ah well.
The design came out a bit more once toasted!
Swirls on swirls.
Sadly, no slice pictures of this happy mound of pumpkin and sugar. I couldn’t cut into it until after the judging, and afterwards it had been devoured before I had a chance to get near it. Which of course means that I’ll have to make it again! 100% okay with that.
Marshmallow recipe from: https://www.davidlebovitz.com/pumpkin-pie-recipe-with-toasted-marshmallow-topping/
Pumpkin custard recipe adapted from: https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/pumpkin-cream-pie-in-chocolate-crust
Chocolate crust recipe from: https://prettysimplesweet.com/chocolate-tart-dough/