Last week I was on the hunt for a torch. We’re talking a mega torch for singeing things like meringue or warming up the bowl of a mixer to get butter to room temperature faster. I’d say a torch, mixer, whisk, zester and a spatula are the top tools I use in the kitchen. Luckily my lemon tarts have been topped with a mix of whipped cream and lemon curd instead of meringue lately but boy had I been missing one!
I did a bit of research and after visits to Target, Walmart (ugh I hate Walmart), and William Sonoma and lots of blank stares, I had a chat with my chef. Now, I always knew hardware stores were a pastry chefs best friend, and had even called one up but I guess confused the lady too much to get a straight answer but my chef confirmed that they have small butane torches!!!!! For as low as $14! This is the one I got from Home Depot. I’ve been feeling like a major badass using it, so almost every recipe I’ve made since getting it has involved something being torched. tehehe
Which brings me to the desert of this post: Mini Pumpkin S’mores Tarts! A graham cracker crust filled with pumpkin custard then topped with a layer of chocolate ganache and a mile high mound of meringue.
They’re kind of amazing- creamy, marshmallowy, and then a great hit from the chocolate. There are a bunch of steps that go into this dessert, but they’re all not hard and the end result is totally worth it.
I found this recipe over at How Sweet Eats and turned them mini and simplified a couple of the steps. To speed it up a bit, I used mini graham cracker crusts that I found at the store already made. Pretty snazzy, eh? And just under $3 for 6!
Pumpkin S’Mores Tarts
Recipe adapted from How Sweet Eats.
This can be made as one large pie, or 6 small!
My apologies- half of this recipe is in cups, the other half in metric. Mostly because the easiest way for me to do ganache and Italian Meringue is in metric: Ganache is half chocolate, half whipped cream by weight. Italian Meringue: double the weight of the egg whites in sugar plus a little water.
Graham Cracker Crust:
1/2 cup (114g) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups (170g) graham cracker crumbs
4 ounces (115g) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
2 ounces (55g) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (240g) pumpkin puree
1/4 cup (80g) sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons (20g) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
pinch of cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Ganache (see note above):
100 g chocolate chopped
100 g heavy whipping cream
Italian Meringue Whipped Topping (see note above):
100g egg whites
200g granulated sugar
Let’s get started! If you are not using premade graham cracker crusts, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter and press into a tart pan with a removable bottom. Chill.
For the custard, whip together the mascarpone and cream cheese in an electric mixer. Add the pumpkin puree and condensed milk. Then add the vanilla and powdered sugar and spices. Pour into the prepared crusts making sure to leave a little room for the ganache. Chill.
Moving on to the Ganache! Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat the heavy whipping cream until it just starts to boil. Pour over chocolate and let sit for 15 seconds or so for the chocolate to start melting (don’t wait too long, you want the chocolate to still be pretty hot when you pour it over the custard). Using a whisk, make small circular motions around the sides, moving toward the center. The chocolate and cream will magically come together in an awesome mass of chocolaty goodness. Use a spoon or pour the chocolate over the custard. Smooth to the edges. Allow to set in the fridge while you’re making the Italian Meringue.
Time to get your torch ready! 😀 In a small saucepan, measure 200g granulated sugar. Add enough water to where the mixture is wet and looks like sand. Stir it around so every sugar granule is wet (about 1/2 cup or so of water). Measure the egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer and start whipping them to soft peak. Heat the sugar/water mixture to soft ball stage (240F). Take off the heat at 240 and add to the whipped egg whites with the mixer on low. And as my chef says, dump them in, no slow stream is necessary. Just avoid the whisk and bowl as much as you can. Whip on medium-high until the mixing bowl is body temp (barely warm, no longer hot), and the meringue is white and glossy.
Mound the meringue on top of the chocolate, using a spoon to make fun peaks. Torch that sucker! and Enjoy!