Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Pie In The Hand...

fig1. dinner al fresco. fig2. neighbor girl with chickens. fig3. the spice house. fig4. nutella on every table at jam 'n honey.

It is happening.  It is almost May.

It is hands down gorgeous, but it is almost MAY.  MAAAAAAAY.  Which is a hop, skip, and a jump away from SUMMERRRRRRR.  The only thing I have planned so far is buying a bike and seeing Alien outside with a bunch of fellow movie geeks (I love you guys).  I'm not really asking where spring went, because we're in it.  We're winning the spring thing all over the place. But I missed winter.  Winter flaked out on us (hah!).

Wait.  I just remembered.  I'm seeing Fiona Apple, too.  Let us not forget to cater to our inner 90's child.  Let's also start bike gangs.

Do you know what I want to do?  Go spring camping.  I want to open up the camp season as the first camper after a long "winter" of no tents, fires, or hiking boots.  Still chilly enough to bring jackets and coats and enjoy the warmth around the fire pit, I want to CAMP.

And I want to bring marshmallows and chocolate.  And graham crackers.  Maybe peanut butter and Nutella.  Yeah... that'd be great.  S'mores.  Mmm...

When was the last time you had one?  Was it when you went camping?  Were you in your kitchen, watching the microwave blow up your marshmallow?  Over the stove's flame?  At a wedding at their s'more bar?  Oh hell... that's a great idea.  S'more bars should happen everywhere and more often.

Something about the chocolate with the delicate marshmallow and the toastiness just gets to me.  It brings me back.  Girl scouts.  Family camping trips in the woods.  Bon fires in back yards.  Nostalgic moments when nothing mattered more than making the decision to go perfectly toasted or ball of fire with my marshmallow.

I made these.  Well... sort of.  I made the grown up version of s'mores.  They're less messy (which may or may not be a good thing), but have a wonderful grown up flavor.  Plus... they're cute and completely encapsulated.  I had to type that last word slowly.  I don't think I've ever typed it before.

Hand pies are work.  I'm not going to lie.  Everything needs to be chill(ed), the measurements need to be exact or the dough will be too dry and crack.  And you have to ensure you've made the right size or your ingredients won't fit.  Trust me.  I know what's up.  That said... you can totally do this.  Get your friends involved.  Get the kids in on it.  Fun and work.  Maybe we should whistle.

Beautiful pie dough is cut into circles, then topped with deep, rich, earthy chocolate, baby marshmallows, and graham cracker crumbs.  Put on the top circle and sprinkle with a rich sugar, like turbinado or brown.  Gives it roundness.  Gives it something extra.  Gives you more sugar.

The crust gets flaky and light while holding the richness of the inside together.  I love a soft and flaky crust... and this totally fit the bill.  The marshmallow becomes more of a background flavor and will shrink down when baked inside the pies, so add as many as will fit into each one.  You will love yourself.

They're best when they're warm.  When the chocolate is still melted and you can pull them apart and have a mini-moment of happiness when the chocolate pulls away from the crust.  You know the moment I'm talking about.  You do the same thing with fresh cookies, reminding yourself of the commercials for chocolate chip cookies from when you were younger.  Same.  Moment.  But right in your face.

Even though I went simple, I think next time I'll try different fillings.  Nutella.  Banana.  Peanut Butter. Crushed Peanuts.  Preserves.  Or something more savory, like leeks and gruyere cheese.  Or mushrooms and goat cheese.  Get crazy.  Hand them out to friends.  Bring them to picnics.  Bring them to outdoor movie nights.

Well this begins my summer.  You know I'll be good for more of things like this.  What are you getting into?  Any great concerts on the books?  Have a trip you're taking?  You should bring these.  And invite me.  I want to go camping too.

S'more Hand Pies
Adapted slightly from Always with Butter

The Crust:
400 grams flour
pinch of salt
200 grams of cold unsalted butter, cubed
just less then 100 ml of ice water

The Filling:
graham cracker crumbs
mini marshmallows
chocolate (darkness of choice), crushed or in chip form
1 egg lightly beaten with splash of heavy cream
turbinado sugar, or brown sugar

In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt.  Sprinkle the cubed butter over the top of the flour, then place the lid back on a pulse until pea size crumbs form.  Place into chilled bowl.  Drizzle in 2/3 of the ice water into a well in the middle of the flour mixture.  Use a twisting motion with your hands to incorporate the water, being gentle not to mash down the dough.  Add the last bit of water and mix by hand until a dough ball has formed.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it just comes together.  Pat into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface until it is 1/4 inch thick.  Using a circular cookie cutter (in the size that you want), cut an even number of circles out of the dough.  Press the remaining dough bits together, pat back into a disk, and chill for 20 minutes.  Repeat until all the dough has been used for circles (remember: even numbers!).  

Once all circles have been cut out, make your s'mores.  Take a circle, brush the edges with the egg and cream wash, then top the center with the graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate bits.  You can put as much or as little in the middle as you like.  Place another circle directly on top, and pinch down the edges with a fork.  Cut 4 slits in the top of the pie, brush with more egg wash, and sprinkle with your dark sugar.  Place on the prepared cookie sheet.  Repeat with the rest of your hand pies - as many as will fit on the sheet.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  The pies will be delicately golden.  After they have sat for a few minutes, you may serve them to hungry friends and campers.  


  1. totally on the same page. went camping this weekend, and we only had the marshmellows. still good, but.. s'mores would've been the best thing ever.

    1. I am jealous of your spring camping. Cori and I are trying to plan a trip to the cabin next month. Not quite camping... but there is a cool fire place and it is in the woods. S'mores will be all around, I'm sure!

  2. WOW. Just, wow.


    We grilled in our back yard this weekend and I was sad that I didn't have s'mores supplies. Can't wait until next time, and for camping, too!

    1. Katherine.

      Get yourself to the grocery store. Grab marshmallows, grahams, and chocolate. Don't think. Just purchase.