July 22, 2013

A Big Day for a Big Girl

Yesterday marked a big, important day for our girl Maddie. A big, depressing day for her Momma. Our girl turned 20. I hope to avoid saying that out loud as much as possible. I'm thinking "college age daughter" sounds much better than 20 year old daughter. Where is the time going?

On the plus side, we survived the teen years and have 8 whole months before we have a teenager again. I'm going to make the most of it. And while our Maddie gave us a run for our money during those years and was responsible for many tears, prayers and consumed glasses of wine, I could not be more proud of the girl, no woman, that she has grown into. I love her so much, but more importantly, I really, truly like her and enjoy spending time with her. Cooking is one of our favorite things to do together and she couldn't resist helping make her birthday pie. Of course, there was a kitchen torch involved and nobody in their right mind could pass that up.

She chose S'more Pie from the Back in the Day Bakery which is quickly becoming my go to baking cookbook. 

S'more Pie
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
  • 1 recipe Graham Cracker Crust, prebaked (see recipe below)
  • 6 large egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST(makes one 9-inch piecrust):
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (16 crackers)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick), unsalted butter, melted
  • Kitchen blowtorch


  • To make crust:Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚F.
    In a medium bowl, blend together the graham cracker crust crumbs and brown sugar. Drizzle in the butter and mix with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
    Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and about halfway up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly golden. Let cool completely before filling.
    To make filling: Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a heatproof bowl until thick and pale in color. Set aside.

  • In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a gentle boil. Whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot milk into the egg yolks to temper them, so they won’t curdle, then, continuing to whisk, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream.
  • Set the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water) and cook the egg-milk mixture, whisking constantly, until thick and glossy, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and melted chocolate until well combined. Let the filling mixture sit for 2 minutes to cool slightly, then whisk in the butter until the custard is smooth and silky. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the chocolate filling so that a skin does not form and let cool for 30 minutes, or until it reaches room temperature.
  • When the filling has cooled, pour it into the prepared crust. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

  • To make the marshmallow topping: Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar in a large heatproof bowl, set the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water), and whisk constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved and the egg whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes. The mixture will appear pale and opaque. Rub a little of the mixture between your fingers to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or leave in the same bowl if using a handheld mixture). Add the vanilla and, starting on low speed, whip the egg whites, gradually increasing the speed to high, until the marshmallow topping is glossy and forms stiff peaks, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip with the marshmallow topping and pipe it over the entire surface of the pie, making sure it touches the crust all around. Then loosely pile the rest of the marshmallow topping on top and use a spatula to spread it in big, luscious swirls. (If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can do both steps using a spatula.) Toast the topping lightly with a kitchen blowtorch.
  • The pie is best served the same day, but it can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
My notes:
I highly recommend refrigerating the prepared crust with the chocolate layer overnight to make it sturdier for cutting. Our pie actually tasted just as good the next day leftover so don't feel like you have to eat it all the same day, although you may feel it's impossible to resist.

There are quite a few steps to this recipe but you can see from the look of rapture on the birthday girl's face, it was clearly worth it.


  1. Blowtorch? I'm in. Thanks for sharing Jen!

  2. That pie looks AMAZING!!! And the present wrapping is PRECIOUS! I miss you guys <3

  3. Happy birthday Maddie! What an amazing looking pie and from the look on her face, it tastes as good as it looks. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. Happy Birthday Maddie. There's no better bonding place than in the kitchen with your Momma. It was my favorite place to be with my Mom all her life.

  5. A very big Happy Birthday to Maddie! Perfect way to spend the day together celebrating a very special day. Super yummy pie for it also. :)

  6. It is a wonderful day in your life when you "like" your kids as adults, not just love them as your children. Ours are both adults and we LOVE having the 4 of us together with no more sibling bickering. We are in the planning stages of our family Christmas vacation right now.

    No teenagers! Enjoy it while it lasts!

  7. Happy Birthday Maddie!!! Hope y'all had a special day together, Jen. And thanks for posting the recipe! :)

  8. Happy Birthday Maddie! (My Maddie has been begging to have a smores night but due to the heat wave we haven't yet. This pie might be a better solution!) I adore the gift wrapping as well.

  9. how sweet. happy birthday to your beautiful daughter!!

  10. Well- the pie is sweet and beautiful but your daughter trumps the pie! She is a beautiful girl. Happy 20th Maddie. xo Diana

  11. Happy Birthday to your Maddie! My Maddie will be 24 in a few months....I don't like saying that out loud either :)

  12. Happy Happy Birthday to your lovely daughter! Mine just turned 28! How did that happen? :) Kit

  13. She is just lovely...you have much to be proud of. And, you do not look like you could be the mom of a 20 year old!

  14. Happy 20th Maddie! Gosh, that pie looks amazing! ... And I have a 30-year old daughter. That seems totally impossible!

  15. oops! that unknown comment was me :) i had to come back and copy that recipe...headed to the beach next week with my mom and thinking we will HAVE to make it!

  16. happy birthday to the beautiful, brilliant, talented and charming maddie! all those great traits AND she's an accomplished baker to boot. you have a great young woman, jen!

  17. Oh, Happy Birthday to your daughter Maddie! :) Twenty was such a fun age! I think that is so sweet that you two love to cook together as a way to spend time! AND that s'mores pie looks AMAZING~ yum! I think I need to try this recipe! :)

    Our oldest is turning sixteen in two weeks, and I still can't believe it! Where does the time go? I remember being sixteen like it was yesterday! {although sometimes I FEEL like I'm eighty!} ;)

    I hope you are having a beautiful summer!


  18. Happy Birthday Miss Maddie C!


Thank you for taking the time to say hello today! I always love to hear what you have to say.