When pastry chef Niamh Larkin was tasked with reinventing David McIntyre’s favourite childhood treat, she knew she’d have to come up with something really special. Here’s what she did.
As pastry chef at 45 Park Lane, I’m used to conjuring up sweet treats for our guests, be it something new for the menu or a special welcome gift for a particular guest. When the team talked about creating a whole new take on afternoon tea though, I knew we were in for an interesting ride.
The American dream
The breakthrough idea came when our executive chef David McIntyre, who’s known for his sweet tooth, waxed lyrical about the cakes and sweets he enjoyed as a child. Suddenly our new concept of CUTcakes & Tea, an all-American take on afternoon tea, was born.
For the love of s’mores
As David reminisced, it became clear that s’mores had to make it to the menu. He spoke with such fondness about watching marshmallows being toasted around a campfire and squashing them between graham crackers and covered in melted chocolate.
All new to me
I love that the word s’more orginates from ‘some more’ because they’re so delicious you’ll always want some more! When David first mentioned making s’mores though, I remember thinking I haven’t even tried one, I’d only seen them in films. Obviously I started experimenting pretty quickly.
Our own take on a great
My version of this recipe is most definitely s’mores elevated to a whole new level. It’s not easy to get that mix of crunch versus gooeyness right, but David was delighted with the result and didn’t mind testing them as the recipe evolved!
I use what we affectionately call our ‘10-year-old’ chocolate sauce because that’s how long it took us to perfect it. Its secret lies in the addition of Tia Maria and crème fraiche. In the recipe shared below, I’ve used ready-made marshmallow and the chocolate of your choice, at CUT at 45 Park Lane though we insist on making our own. For the crackers, I advise getting them really thin and cooking for a little longer than you think they need to guarantee a good crunch.
Recipe Makes 24 crackers for 12 s’mores
Ingredients: • 96g whole wheat pastry flour • 120g all-purpose flour • 50g caster sugar • ½ tsp salt • 1 tsp cinnamon • 1 tsp baking powder • 1 large egg • 50g vegetable oil • 85g honey • 35g semi-skimmed milk • Additional milk for glaze • 12 marshmallows • 1 small piece of milk or dark chocolate
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with the oil, honey, and two tablespoons of milk. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients to create a firm dough, adding more milk if necessary.
Wrap the dough and chill for around an hour then preheat the oven to 150°C.
Divide the dough in half and, working with one piece at a time, gently knead until it holds together. Roll each piece to a thickness of 1/16” and place on parchment paper.
Brush both pieces of dough with milk and bake for ten minutes, rotating the baking pans after five minutes.
Remove from the oven and use a pizza wheel or sharp knife to cut the sheets of dough into 3″ x 2″ rectangles; don’t separate them, just cut them.
Return to the oven and continue to bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
Leave the crackers in the oven but turn it off and keep the door open for five minutes. After the majority of the oven’s heat has dissipated, shut the door and let it cool down for 20 minutes with the crackers inside to ensure they are crisp. Remove from the oven and cool the crackers on a wire rack.
Individually toast the marshmallows until golden brown. You can do this over a gas hob, barbecue or a campfire.
Place a piece of your chosen chocolate on top of a graham cracker followed by a toasted marshmallow and another cracker. Squeeze together and enjoy while it’s warm!
Top tip: Your crackers can be stored for up to a week if well wrapped, or in the freezer for a couple of months.
We hope you have fun making s’mores at home, or you’re more than welcome to enjoy the whole CUTcakes & Tea experience here with us at 45 Park Lane. Either way, please share your #CUTcakes moments with us on social media.
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