S’mores Tart
S’mores Tart

According to some of my American friends, s’mores are made of vanilla marshmallow, Hershey’s milk chocolate and Graham crackers. A classic camping snack. Roast the marshmallow on a campfire, put it on a piece of chocolate and sandwich it between two crackers. The heat of the marshmallow melts the chocolate and you get one big gooey party in your mouth. It’s a little difficult to obtain these ingredients where I live. Every time I try to replace them with similar alternatives, I get disapproving looks from my friends. Yet, I keep trying.

The inspiration for the design of this tart came to me through a memory. A memory of a trip to Egypt about a decade ago. After a long day, travelling from Cairo to Alexandria by train, touring the city streets, visiting the grandiose Bibliotheca Alexandrina and eating the most delicious fish, we decided to head to the port to see the sunset. The place was crowded. Everyone sat and waited for the sunset, just like us.

What caught my attention wasn’t the number of people, but the blocks they were sitting on. Concrete blocks that stretched across the harbor, sinking into the Mediterranean Sea. A beautiful and curious sight at sunset time. With this memory in mind, I scattered the marshmallow cubes into the crust and poured chocolate ganache over it.

Blocks of cement in Alexandria

This post is actually an upgrade to an old post: S’mores tartlets. In that post I tried to stay true to the original s’more as much as possible. This time I took a chance on different flavors. Not that there was a problem with that old post, I just wanted to try a different version. That’s what’s nice about writing a baking blog, you can always go back to old recipes, try them again and improve upon them.

The tart is indeed constructed from crackers, marshmallow and chocolate. Only that the marshmallow has a banana-cinnamon flavor and the chocolate is dark instead of milk. Instead of graham crackers, I baked a crust from short pastry (much more work but so much worth it). In addition, I added a caramel layer at the bottom of the crust to hold all the marshmallow cubes in place (and to add yet another nontraditional flavor). In the words of an American who tasted the tart: it’s like an upgraded s’more!

Blind baking

Blind baking

S’mores Tart

S’mores Tart


Gelatin mass
10 g gelatin powder
50 g water

Banana-cinnamon marshmallows
35 g honey
125 g sugar
80 g banana (pealed)
60 g gelatin mass
55 g honey
½ tsp cinnamon

Crust
175 g flour
20 g almond powder
65 g powdered sugar
2 g salt (½ tsp)
1 tsp vanilla paste
100 g cold butter (cut into cubes)
40 g eggs

Caramel
45 g heavy cream 
¼ tsp coarse salt
90 g sugar
75 g soft butter cut into cubes

Dark chocolate ganache
200 g dark chocolate
225 g heavy cream

Equipment
A round ring, 20 cm diameter and 2.5 cm height
A square ring, 20×20 cm
Thermometer
A hand blender


Banana-cinnamon marshmallows

Gelatin mass:  Sprinkle gelatin powder over the water, mix well and keep in the fridge for at least half an hour. Cut into small pieces before use.

Put 55 g honey and then cinnamon in the mixer bowl and set aside.

Put 35 g honey and then sugar in a saucepan. Mash the banana with a fork and add to the saucepan. Heat briefly over medium heat while mixing with a spatula just until combined. Remove from heat and grind the mixture with a hand blender to a smooth texture. Return to medium heat.

As soon as the temperature reaches 100° C (210 °F), the mixture will start to bubble vigorously. It will become difficult to get a good read on the temperature. That’s why, once the temperature passes 100° C (210 °F), remove the saucepan from heat. Add the gelatin mass and mix until it’s dissolved. Transfer the hot mixture to the mixer bowl. Whisk on high speed for about 10 minutes until the mixture is pale and thick.

In the meantime, lightly butter the square pan and then place it on a lightly buttered baking tray. When the mixture is ready, pour it into the ring. Flatten the surface with a spreading spatula if needed. Allow the marshmallow to set for a couple of hours or even a whole night before you cut it.

Pass a knife between the ring and the marshmallow to release the ring. Cut cubes the size of 2×2 cm. I recommend cleaning and buttering the knife once in a while for a cleaner and less sticky cut.

Crust

Put flour, almond powder, powdered sugar, salt and butter cubes in the mixer bowl and keep in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Remove from fridge. Using the paddle attachment, start mixing at low-medium speed until the batter reaches sand-like consistency. Make sure the butter chunks are as small as possible at the end of the process without melting the butter.

Add vanilla and eggs all at once and keep mixing at medium speed until the dough starts to form but is not yet completely uniform. Remove dough parts from the bowl and combine. Cover dough with plastic wrap. Roll out the dough a little bit. Keep in the fridge for at least an hour. (It’s always better to prepare the dough in advance, the dough keeps for up to a week in the fridge and for about two-three months in the freezer.)

When the dough is stiff and cold, remove the plastic wrap. In a cool room, flour the work surface, place the dough on top and dust it with flour as well. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Keep turning the dough throughout and make sure it doesn’t stick to the surface. Roll out the dough to a 3-4 mm thickness.

Please note (!) If at any point the dough starts to soften, put it back in the fridge until it is stiff again.

Fonçage: Spread some butter on your finger and butter the inner side of the baking ring so that the dough sticks to it. Place the ring gently on top of the dough and cut a larger circle around the ring. Place the ring on a parchment paper and place the dough gently on top of it. Lift the edges of the dough, gently push the rest of the dough down and attach the edges to the sides of the ring, starting from the bottom of the ring to the top. Gently press down on the sides so that the corners at the bottom form a right angle. (It’s not the end of the world if the dough gets torn accidentally. Just attach the sides that have been torn apart and move on). Go over the top of the ring with a sharp knife and remove the excess dough.

Blind baking: Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork and put back in the freezer until the dough is stiff again (about half an hour). Line the crust with parchment paper. Fill the crust with pie weights or dry chickpeas. Keep in the freezer. Preheat the oven to 160 ºC (320 ºF). When the desired temperature is reached, remove the crust from the freezer and set it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the sheet in the oven and bake for 17 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and gently remove the parchment paper containing the pie weights (be careful not to break the crust in the process). Put the crust back in the oven and bake for another 10-12 minutes until the crust begins to brown. Set aside to cool.

Brush the top of the crust against a flat mesh sieve to straighten the edges and give it a cleaner, sharper look.

Caramel

Bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from heat, add coarse salt and set aside.

Add about half of the sugar to a small cooking pot. Make sure the bottom of the pot is covered completely. Start warming on medium heat. Important!  Do not mix with a spatula while heating, just tilt the pot occasionally to mix it a little.

When the sugar starts to dissolve and some spots begin to darken and bubble, lower the flame and sprinkle the rest of the sugar, gradually, on the bubbly spots. Do this until the rest of the sugar has been transferred into the saucepan. Keep on low heat until all the sugar has melted and transformed into a light brown liquid (towards the end of the process you can use a spatula to gently mix sugar spots that are not yet dissolved to speed things up).

Remove from heat and gradually add the warm heavy cream while mixing with a whisk all along (be careful from the hot steam). Add the butter cubes and stir until melted. Blend with a hand mixer for a smooth texture. Transfer the caramel to a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Keep in room temperature for half an hour until it cools slightly.

Putting it all together!

Spread the caramel over the bottom of the crust. Flatten the surface with a teaspoon or a small spreading spatula. Grease your fingers lightly. Separate the marshmallow cubes, one by one, and set each one inside the crust. You don’t have to use all the marshmallow cubes. Keep at it just until the crust looks full enough. It’s important to leave small gaps between the cubes to let the chocolate ganache sip in and fill that space.

Dark chocolate ganache

Break the chocolate into small pieces and put them in a measuring pitcher. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour over chocolate, making sure all the chocolate is covered. Mix a little bit with a spatula and then use a hand blender to blend it to a uniform consistency.

Pour the ganache in a thin stream over the marshmallow cubes until they are all covered in chocolate. Be careful not to overflow the crust. Keep pouring the ganache until the tart is full. Keep the tart in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving. It’s best consumed the same day or the day after.

Yum

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