I honestly never think of s’mores that much, and didn’t really know about them at all growing up. The UK doesn’t have the best barbecue weather, and although toasted marshmallows were always a family favourite, I don’t think adding chocolate or biscuits ever really crossed our minds. So why then, did I suddenly have an urge to create a s’mores tart you might ask?
I started thinking a lot about toasted marshmallows, which then developed into the whole s’mores tart thing after going to a barbecue party for one of Su’s colleagues in Singapore. When we whipped out our big bag of marshmallows and started toasting them over the coals, a lot of people were somewhat confused. Apparently this tradition never really made it to Asia, or at least to the majority of people at that party!
Anyway, as I was extolling the virtues of roasted marshmallows to everyone while playing the classic game of ‘How Dark Can I Get My Marshmallow Without Them, The Stick, or My Hand Catching Fire’ (coming to all good stores Feb 2018), I thought about how little we eat toasted marshmallow at any other time. From there it was a thought process to go, marshmallows are tasty > what goes well with marshmallows? > chocolate and biscuit > s’mores! > how could s’mores be easier to handle? > s’mores tart! Well, maybe that’s overthinking it, but whatever.
The first problem I really had was what to make the base from. I know Graham crackers are traditional, but I couldn’t get any and to be honest, I don’t think they’re all that great. Instead, I was thinking more like a digestive biscuit, which is an oat, bran and brown sugar biscuit from the UK. A little bit cereal-y maybe, but a good staple. These are the biscuits we use in the UK for cheesecake bases and the like, and that’s what I initially went for. Unfortunately, I found that when adding the chocolate to my s’mores tart, the base absorbed too much moisture and got soggy.
The answer, I found, was to make the base one big biscuit (you can thank my mother for that idea). Doing this gives you a robust base which is much more resilient to the chocolate custard, which sets before affecting the biscuit. As for the chocolate custard filling, I went straight for Alain Ducasse’s bittersweet chocolate tart recipe, which is just perfect and needs no other explanation.
The second major hurdle here was the marshmallow topping. It took me a while to find the right best way to get the right amount of marshmallow on top of the s’mores tart. In the end, there are two ways to do it, I’ve written my favourite in the recipe, using marshmallow fluff, but you can also use the real thing. Using actual marshmallows lets you achieve a nice pattern on top, but I found they wouldn’t stick to the chocolate properly and would fall off when slicing. Marshmallow fluff gives a much better spread, and works more consistently, but isn’t readily available in many places.
Notes on Cooking
You’re probably going to have some biscuit base mixture left from making your tart cases; don’t throw it away! Shape into circles about 4 cm across and 0.5 cm thick and bake alongside the tart cases. Enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee.
For toasting the marshmallow fluff, you can either use a blowtorch or the grill (broiler) in your oven. If using the latter, put the tart on a high shelf and don’t take your eye off it as it will be done in about 30 seconds. It’s a good idea also to rotate as you go, so you get even browning.
Finally! You don't need to wait for barbecue weather to get your hands on some tasty s'mores; now available in tart form!
- 150 g wholemeal flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt uniodized
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 30 g oatmeal
- 20 g bran
- 100 g dark brown sugar
- 50 g unsalted butter cold, in small cubes
- 4 tbsp milk
- 180 mL double cream
- 120 mL whole milk
- 340 g dark chocolate
- 1 whole egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 150 g marshmallow fluff or marshmallows
Combine the dry ingredients, sieving the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and bran.
Add the butter to the mixture and rub through with your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
Begin to add the milk, a tbsp at a time, stirring in well until the dough begins to come together in a soft ball.
Wrap the dough in greaseproof paper or cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Take small pieces of the dough and carefully press into either one 25 cm, or four 8 cm, tart cases. Try and make the tart shell as thin as possible, while making sure there are no gaps or cracks.
Refrigerate the case(s) for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 190oC.
Bake for around 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack, and then the fridge to allow the biscuit to harden.
Preheat the oven to 120oC.
Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat.
Add the chocolate and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth.
In a bowl, whisk the egg with the egg yolks, before whisking in around a quarter of the chocolate cream.
Pour this chocolate custard back into the chocolate cream in the saucepan, whisking thoroughly until well combined.
Add the custard into the cooled tart shell(s) and bake for around 30 minutes for a large tart, and 20 minutes for smaller ones. The custard is done when it is set around the edges but slightly wobbly in the centre. Cool on a wire rack before refrigerating for 2 hours.
Take the marshmallow and distribute liberally across the top of the tart(s).
Scorch the marshmallow with a blowtorch or under a grill (broiler) until golden and dark brown.