Friday, November 22, 2013

Refrigerator Chocolate and Pumpkin Porter Pie with Pumpkin Marshmallow Meringue - You'll Eat it Faster Than You Say It!

Did you hear??????  It's Pie Week!
I'm becoming a one-trick pony during these theme weeks, what with lemon and berry and pumpkin marshmallows.  But I just can't help myself.
As such, during this Pie Week I basically had to involve mallows in my pie.  And for some reason, I felt compelled to look for ideas that also involved beer.  I'm not sure why The Fates directed me that way, but as usually, they knew better than I, and before I knew it, I was calling Four Peaks to make sure that I could still get my mitts on a six pack of their pumpkin porter.
I've already mentioned my almost obsessive love for Four Peaks here, where I made not one but two recipes with their signature beer, Kilt Lifter.  So it wasn't a stretch for me to decide that I needed to use the porter for this round of reindeer games.
What I found was a lovely recipe that used Guinness to make a chocolate pudding as the base for a marshmallow "meringue" topping, which was then torched to s'more-y goodness.  Basically, this is a boozy s'more pie with a touch of salt, thanks to the addition of pretzels in the crust.  Perfection, really.  Since Guinness is more appropriate for St. Patrick's Day than Pie Week in November, I not only used the more seasonal pumpkin porter instead of Guinness but also opted to use my own pumpkin marshmallows as the topping.  
THIS is a pumpkin pie I can get behind, people.

Since the recipe made two pies, I was a little concerned about what I'd do with two entire pies in the house.  Husband doesn't like chocolate OR marshmallow, and HRH has informed me that the "marshmallows at Nana's" are better (goodbye, college tuition).  That would leave me with two pies all to myself.  Bad news.
Fortunately for my waistline, we met our new neighbor this weekend, and to welcome him to the neighborhood and feed his friends who had worked hard all day getting him unloaded and moved in, I offered a pie to them.  Young pups that they were, they happily accepted.  
Note to self: make recipes that net two pies more often and give them to neighbors.

Pie Week continues tomorrow, too.  If you haven't caught all the amazing pies this third round of Pie Week has already offered, swing by to see how you can be the talk of the Thanksgiving table.  I have to say that this is a wonderful bunch of ladies who love cooking, baking, and making homemade goodies that will taste so much better than anything you can ever buy in a store.  And since pie is truly So Exciting, several of them are making multiple appearances.

Friday (that's today!)
Refrigerator Chocolate and Pumpkin Porter Pie with Pumpkin Marshmallow Meringue
(inspired by and modified from Sprinkle Bakes)
**makes two pies - share with a friend

For the crust:
  • 2 cups pulverized pretzels
  • 2 cups pulverized, freshly made and cooled graham crackers*
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350°.  In a bowl, combine the pretzels, graham crackers, and butter with a spatula until just combined.  Press equal amounts into two pie pans.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Allow to cool completely in a coonhound-proof receptacle (like the microwave).

*Yes, you can use store-bought graham crackers.  But before you do, I recommend that you read what Jenni has to say at the link I provided.  I adore her recipe and her perspective, which can be applied to so many other foods (hence why the pretzels was the only non-homemade item in this recipe, although if I'd have had time.....  

For the chocolate pudding:
  • 8 large egg yolks (the fresher the better)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup Four Peaks Pumpkin Porter (or your favorite local pumpkin porter - buy local; it tastes better)
  • 2 1/4 cups organic cream
  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
In a non-reactive bowl, whisk together the yolks and sugar; set aside.  
Place a 3 quart saucepan on the stove and whisk together the porter and cream.  Heat over medium to medium-high heat until hot but NOT boiling.  
Remove from heat and stir in chocolate.  Once the chocolate has melted, whisk in the egg and sugar mixture, drizzling only a little at a time (you don't want to have scrambled eggs here - that would be horrible).  Then, whisk in the cornstarch and return to the heat.  
Stir over heat until the mixture has thickened.
Pour the chocolate mixture immediately into the cooled pie crusts.  Put the pies in the refrigerator, and allow them to set completely before moving on to the next step.

For the marshmallow topping, you're going to make a half batch of pumpkin marshmallows.  If you want, you can use the rest of the can of porter as part of the pumpkin water.
As usual, this recipe was practically stolen from Jenni at Pastry Chef Online.
  • 1/2 cup cold water mixed with 1 Tbsp chilled pumpkin puree
  • 2 1/4 Tbsp powdered gelatin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (confession: I always use a full tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin spice syrup
  • splash water
Combine the "pumpkin water," salt, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a mixer.  Sprinkle gelatin over the mixture and stir to combine, being careful to get rid of any lumps.  Set aside.
Bring sugar and syrups - and the water-  to a boil.  Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 244° (the soft ball stage).  
When the syrup mixture reaches about 235°, turn on the mixer, using the whisk attachment, to low or medium low.
As soon as the syrup reaches the proper temperature, remove and pour into the mixing bowl, continuing to whisk on low/medium low.  
Gradually raise the speed of the mixer.  Continue to whip until the mixture has about tripled inside (read: you're fearful it will overflow) and it starts to come off the sides of the bowl in small threads.
Using a large spatula liberally coated with pan spray or olive oil, pour the marshmallow cream into the pie pans, right over the chocolate pudding, carefully spreading it out evenly (as necessary).  Take a pause to lick the spatula before throwing it in the sink.

Place the pies back into the refrigerator until the marshmallow topping is set.
Before serving, bust our your creme brulee torch and have a go at the topping, making sure to get it a lovely, rich brown.  Allow the pie to sit for a few minutes in case it got a little melty.
To slice, use a large serrated knife that has been sprayed with olive oil.  It may be necessary to wipe or wash off the knife between slices; the marshmallow IS sticky.
Enjoy a slice with your favorite pumpkin porter or glass of milk.

Full disclosure: my love for Four Peaks Brewery and its beers is my own opinion, and while I'd love for them to shower me with free Peach Ale, they have not compensated me for my words at all.  I am happy to rave about them because they make a solid product, and I adore buying locally.


  1. That topping looks awesome! I should give my neighbors extra baked goods like that more often.

    1. We don't have a lot of nice neighbors, but there are a few who may get some holiday goodies!

  2. This looks amazing. I was sold at the graham and pretzel crust, never mind the other two great layers. Yum!

  3. I love the sound of ALL of it - chocolate, pumpkin, marshmallow & beer. Very unique spin on MallowQuest2013, Allison! (And lucky neighbors.)

    1. All the IMPORTANT food groups are obviously represented here. ;)

  4. I'm sorry - the husband doesn't like Chocolate? And HRH doesn't think YOUR mallows are the best? I think you need a new family... I'll volunteer for that duty if you give me this pie every week forever!! Deal? Good.

    1. HRH was very nearly put up for sale on Craigslist for her telling me that store bought mallows are better than mine. And yes, I make the dessert; you make the dinner. Done? Done.