My kindergartener is a homeschooler. One of his favorite activities is “arts and crafts,” which is always his last task for the day. (Hey, if you know what motivates…) He loves actual crafts, but I really think “arts and crafts” is code for “anything that makes a big mess.” One of his favorite activities is baking. We bake something almost once a week. He enjoys the creativity, and I enjoy that it takes a task off of my to-do list. Most of our treats are homemade. I’m trying to cut back on the pre-made stuff — allergy-friendly food is getting better tasting, but the price tag is still *ouch* — and often, “special” treats aren’t available for multiple-allergy sets. Sure, I can get hubby a gluten-free pie, but it’s still loaded with milk and butter (unsafe for everyone else).
This pie is something I made for Christmas 2012. The original recipe was for “S’more Pie,” and used a graham cracker crust and milk chocolate chips for the pie itself, then topped the entire thing with marshmallow and stuck it under the broiler. It was a nice holiday pie, but the topping made it not particularly conducive to taking to school for a lunch dessert. It also was too sweet for the grownups in the house. Making it allergy-friendly for everyone cut down on the sweetness – I now use Enjoy Life chocolate chips, which are just as chocolatey but less sweet than milk chocolate. Skipping the marshmallow topping makes it a lunchbox favorite. In fact, for Pi Day this year, Matthew’s math class planned to have pies for a treat, and he brought his own mini-chocolate pies (use muffin tins). I’ve included the recipe for the marshmallow topping, though, if you want to make into a S’more treat for summer picnics. Jude enjoys making this — he gets to smash the cookies, and then eat any leftover chocolate chips. What more can a five-year-old ask for?
Chocolate Custard Pie
Free of: dairy, soy, wheat/gluten, peanuts, fish, shellfish
Contains: egg, coconut
1 prepared cookie crumb pie crust, cooled
1 cup So Delicious coconut milk beverage
7 ounces Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (about 3/4 of a bag)
1 egg (at room temperature, beaten)
Preheat oven to 350*F.
6 oz safe crunchy cookies (we use Enjoy Life Crunchy cookies)
6 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted (we use Earth’s Balance soy-free or Mother’s Kosher for Passover brands)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Crush cookies. You can use a food processor, but we usually stick them in a plastic bag and whack at them with a meat mallet. (Or, in today’s case, Damien’s toy hammer. It wasn’t particularly effective, so we switched back to the mallet.)
Add the sugar and melted margarine to the cookies and stir to combine.
Press into a 9″ pie pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until set. Allow to cool before filling.
For mini-pies, press the crumb crust into muffin tins and bake 10-12 minutes, and allow to cool. Fill with the ganache. This makes enough for a 12-well standard muffin tin, or 6 large-cup muffins.
For pie filling:
Preheat oven to 35o*F.
Heat coconut milk in microwave until steaming (about 2 minutes). Pour over chocolate chips, and allow to stand for 1-2 minutes or until chocolate melts. Whisk until smooth. Cool ganache to room temperature.
Add beaten egg to cooled ganache and whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour into pie crust.
Note: it is important that the ganache and the egg are both at room temperature, so you do not wind up making chocolate scrambled eggs! If you need to chill it quickly, stick the ganache in the fridge; to warm the egg, place it in a bowl of tepid water for 5 minutes to bring it up to temperature.
Bake 25-30 minutes, or until the center of the pie is slightly wobbly.
For marshmallow topping:
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz package)
1/2 cup cold water (divided)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup (or light corn syrup)*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Vegetable oil for greasing
Special equipment: a candy thermometer
*Lyle’s Golden Syrup is a great alternative to corn syrup. We use a lot of it here because it is made from cane sugar (and DD is allergic to corn in all forms). It has a slightly golden hue, but once the marshmallow is beaten, the incorporated air is enough to turn them white.
Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water in a glass or metal mixing bowl and let stand until syrup is ready.
Stir together sugar, syrup, and remaining 1/4 cup water in a CLEAN 1 quart heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cover the pot and let boil for 3 minutes. DO NOT STIR THE MIXTURE AFTER PUTTING THE LID ON. (The condensed steam on the lid will wash down the sides so you don’t have sugar crystals in your marshmallow. Stirring may bring the sugar out of suspension and reintroduce crystals.) Remove the lid, and insert your thermometer. Boil until thermometer registers 260°F (hard ball stage), about 6 minutes. If it is a very humid (80-90% relative humidity) or rainy day, boil to 262°F as the marshmallow will absorb a bit of water from the atmosphere while beating.
Begin beating water and gelatin mixture with an electric mixer at medium speed, then carefully pour in hot syrup in a slow stream. Do not scrape the syrup into the bowl, just pour until the pot is empty. (Scraping may introduce crystals.) When all of syrup is added, increase speed to high and continue beating until mixture is tripled in volume and very thick, and the bowl is cool enough to hold your hand on for 5-10 seconds. (This takes about 5 minutes of beating. If you have a stand mixer, you can walk away; if you have a handheld mixer, this is a good place to recruit helpers to take turns once the the syrup is added.) Spread the marshmallow onto the cooled chocolate pie and allow to set for at least one hour. Just before serving, brown the marshmallow, either with a handheld torch or under the broiler for a minute or two — keep watch and do not walk away from it!!!
I’ve included the brands of ingredients we use as a starting point, but I cannot guarantee they are safe for you — they are what works for us. Of course, please check to make sure your ingredients are safe for your allergy set.