Piece of life
It’s the time of year when ghosts, monsters and spooky decorations invade the front of our houses. My daughter seems to, somehow, be used to it [but she hardly stops to look]. On the other hand, my son is fascinated. It’s crazy how children love to be frightened… although he is afraid, he can’t avoid getting close and seeing them. So, every day he wants to visit the “Halloween houses,” and, believe me, we spend a lot of time there.
This year will certainly be different, and the pandemic will not allow us to celebrate as usual. When I explained to the kids that we probably could not do trick-or-treating tours this year, the disappointment in their eyes broke my heart. So, when the government authorities announced that it would be allowed, and I saw the neighbourhood houses being prepared for a safe candy distribution, I told myself that we could have some trick-or-treating tours anyway.
It will still be limited, and I will plan activities at home. Above all, we’ll do a little treasure hunt [following “Minimo and Nutrimini” guide]. We’ll have a Halloween cartoon evening, appreciating all kinds of candies at ease and that Chocolate-Marshmallow pie dressed up for the event.
About the Chocolate-Marshmallow Pie
I’m not a big fan of cake design… but I like to satisfy my kids. So, I tried to make small decorations on my cakes, especially for special festivities like Halloween. For this year, I wanted to make a marshmallow, and while snooping around, I found a recipe from Ricardo for a chocolate bar with a maple syrup marshmallow. It was very tempting. His recipe inspired me to create my chocolate-marshmallow pie. For the marshmallow, I changed almost nothing [glucose instead of corn syrup], but I added lemon zest to soften the sugary taste a little bit. Of course, the result is sweet [we’re talking about marshmallows, I can’t take the sugar out], but it helps to give it a fresher taste. On the practical side, do not be hopeless when preparing the marshmallow. It takes a while before it starts to set. Consider about 10-15 minutes before getting the texture you want. For the dough, I just prepared a shortcrust pastry with some almond powder and lemon zests [next time I try it with a French shortcrust pastry, I guess the result will be even more delicious].
Finally, we coated it with melted dark chocolate [you can use milk chocolate, but it will be sweeter], and to bring the Halloween magic to the pie, I added a small marshmallow spider web. I recommend using commercial-ready marshmallows; the homemade ones won’t give you that web aspect [be careful, it sticks; I found my fingers full of it, making the cutting a little more complicated]. Add a few spiders for decoration, and the game is on.
- Pie mold (mine is 35×12,5 cm rectangular)
- Hand beater (or a beater equipped with wire whip)
For the dough
- 150 g flour
- 30 g almond powder
- 80 g butter diced
- 60 ml water
- 1/2 zest lemon
- 1 pinch salt flower
For the marshmallow
- 10 g gelatin powder
- 50 ml water
- 180 ml maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp glucose syrup (or corn syrup)
- 1/2 zest lemon
- 50 g commercial marshmallow
- 100 g dark chocolate
For the dough
- In a bowl, mix the flour, the almond powder, the zest and the salt.
- Add the cold butter, diced. Start to stir and gradually add the water until you got a homogeneous and smooth dough.
- Roll it out with a rolling pin and press it into the mold
- Set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Bake the dough only: cover the dough with parchment paper and pour in baking balls (or dried beans), bake for 15 minutes, then, remove the balls and the paper and bake again for more than 15 minutes, until the dough gets a golden-brown colour. Let it cool down.
For the marshmallow
- While the pie dough is cooling down, prepare the marshmallow.
- Pour the gelatin into a container with the water and let it hydrate for at least 5 minutes.
- In a saucepan, pour half of the maple syrup and heat it until it starts to smoke. Then, add the rest of the syrup and the glucose, stirring it to well dissolve. Let it simmer for about 1 minute.
- Remove it from heat and pour it into a container. Add the gelatin and stir until they are well incorporated. Add the lemon zest.
- Whisk during 10 to 15 minutes. The mixture will swell and change its texture and color. You will get into the right consistency when the mixture forms stiff peaks.
- Then, pour the marshmallow into the pie crust. Keep aside the marshmallow into the crust for about 30 minutes, so it sets down.
- Melt down the chocolate in the microwave oven (or in bain-marie), then, let it cool down a bit (about 5 to 10 minutes, so it will not melt the marshmallow). Pour it over the marshmallow and gently spread it over the whole surface (I use the back of a large spoon).
- Let the chocolate cool down completely (I leave it overnight, but a few hours is enough).
For the spider web
- Melt down the commercial marshmallow in the microwave oven. Using a fork, spread marshmallow strands over the top of the pie (attention, it sticks everywhere)