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By The Book: Helen Fletcher’s S’mores Tart

February 12th 02:02pm, 2013

For the second book in our local cookbook series, I baked from Helen Fletcher’s European Tarts: Pastries Like a Pro; Divinely Doable Desserts with Little or No Baking. During an interview with Fletcher, who was featured in February’s Cook’s Books, she impressed me with her kindness and humility; but what really wowed me was her resume. When I was assigned her book, written by a woman who bakes pastries for Tony’s and is basically St. Louis’ version of Julia Child, I figured me and my kitchen were in for some failures.

Boy was I wrong. This recipe for the S’mores Tart literally took me six minutes to make. Granted, I cheated by buying a graham cracker crust (rather than making my own with Fletcher’s recipe), yet, even if I made it, this would still be an easy recipe.

And if it hadn’t been easy (some of her other recipes look more challenging), she includes links to the book’s website for how-to photographs. Not only did Fletcher hold true to her cookbook’s promise that this was a “divinely doable dessert with little or no baking,” the dessert tasted decadent and delicious.

I mean, marshmallows, heavy cream, chocolate and peanuts? This couldn’t have tasted bad.

My only concern? Fletcher claims that the pie serves 10 to 12. Fletcher might want to add a note there – “Pie serves 10 to 12 if you don’t allow yourself to stand in front of your open fridge with a fork in hand in the middle of the night. In that case, pie serves three.” 

S’mores Tart
10 to 12 servings

A true delight for young or old, this is quickly made and quickly eaten! I have been told that s’mores don’t have nuts in them. All I can say is, mine does!

Plain Graham Cracker Crumb Crust (recipe follows)
¾ cup, whole, shelled peanuts (85 g. or 3 oz.)
2 cups mini-marshmallows (85 g. or 3 oz.)
1 cup 40% cream (heavy cream)
12 oz. milk chocolate (340 g.)

• First, make the crust.
• Place the peanuts and marshmallows evenly in the crust. Set aside.
• Bring the cream to a boil, submerge the chocolate, and set aside for 5 minutes.
• Stir to melt the chocolate, whisking to smooth completely. Pour over the peanuts and marshmallows, which will rise to the top. Chill to set. Release.

9-inch Graham Cracker Crumb Crust

½ cup unsifted powdered sugar (55 g. or 2 oz.)
1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs (buy them in crumbs or run the crackers through a food processor) (170 g. or 6 oz.)
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (114 g. or 4 oz.)
½ tsp. vanilla
1 quiche pan

• Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Add the crumbs, mixing well. Add the butter and vanilla and toss with a fork until the crumbs are completely coated.
• Spray the bottom of the quiche pan and press 2/3 of the crumbs (200 g. or 7 oz.) evenly over the bottom of the pan. Distribute the crumbs evenly against the sides. Press firmly against the sides.
• Add the remainder (160 g. or 5 2/3 oz.) to the bottom of the pan and press firmly.

What’s your favorite no-bake dessert and why? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a signed copy of European Tarts: Pastries Like a Pro; Divinely Doable Desserts with Little or No Baking. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Jason whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won him a copy of Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars. Jason, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew. 

By Julie Cohen

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7 Responses to “By The Book: Helen Fletcher’s S’mores Tart”

  1. Amy Wallerstein Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I always remember the Grasshopper Pie recipe I made often after making it in Junior High Home Economics class. An easy no-bake recipe that got me started in loving food.

  2. Beth Ashmore Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Every summer, I have to make a frozen peanut butter pie. It has an Oreo cookie crust, a peanut butter filling with cool whip and condensed milk,and it’s topped with crushed peanut M&Ms. Not very sophisticated, but delicious on a hot summer night

  3. Colleen Dempsey Dotson Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    OK, I am telling you a BIG secret here! hahahahah I am a baker. I would even say a semi-professional baker as I often get paid for my efforts. People RAVE about my lemon meringue pie with graham cracker crust. They BEG me to bring it to events! The truth is, I use a premade shell and 2 jars Trader Joes Lemon Curd and I even cheat for the meringue! I use canned meringue powder which just gets mixed with water and whipped for a few minutes. People SWEAR its the most delicious and fresh lemon pie they have ever tasted! The closest I get to baking with this is hitting it for a minute with a torch to make it look like I baked that meringue to brown. hahahahah so now you know… shhhhhhhh its our secret ;)

  4. Cherie Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Oreo Pie is always a big hit with us. Crush 24 to 30 cookies and mix with melted butter and press onto the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Beat a cup and a half of milk and 2 packages of vanilla-flavored (or chocolate-flavored) pudding together until thick (approximately 1 to 2 minutes). Carefully stir in whipped topping and blend well. You can also add in a package of cream cheese here, but we usually leave it out because of the calories and we find that it really doesn’t add much to the pie. Crush or chop at least 12 more Oreo cookies and fold into the pudding mixture. Spoon onto crust. Garnish with Oreos and refrigerate for at least four hours.

  5. Joe Says:
    February 15th, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Peanut butter pie! Graham cracker crust, peanut butter and marshmallows get melted together and folded into a tub of whipped topping. chill and grate dark chocolate over! Super easy and very addictive. I also like it semi-frozen. My mom made an oreo pie like Cherie described and called it “Kansas Dirt Cake” which we always had on Kansas day growing up. Very fond memories of that dessert!

  6. Lisa Says:
    February 18th, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Rice Krispie Treats. They are not especially elaborate or fancy, or trendy, but they are one of the first things that I cooked with my young daughter. Over the years, she has gone from merely watching to now being able to make them almost entirely on her own. I am especially proud when she tries out variations, from adding peanut butter, to trying different types of marshmallows, or adding nuts, dried fruit or other cereal. I love that she now has a recipe, simple as it may be, that she feels comfortable experimenting with and it is my hope that this is an early stop to a lifelong love of cooking.

  7. Earen Hummel Says:
    February 18th, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Fruit salad (blueberries, kiwi, oranges, strawberries, melon, pomegranate…) tossed with simple syrup made with honey, rose water, and a cinnamon stick. Add finely chopped mint or basil for the finishing touch. Perfect for hot summer days.

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