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Strawberry S’mores Inside Out Pie

July 8, 2013

I’m a total sweet tooth.  My husband would say that I think about dessert morning, noon and night.  When we go out to a restaurant, the first thing I do is check out the restaurants dessert menu to see what I should be saving room for.  Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with that.  But, ok, maybe others aren’t into the sweets like I am.  Because I love my sweets, I am always looking for new, simple and tasty desserts to make at home.  Something that I won’t have to slave away in the kitchen to do.  And something that won’t take hours to prepare.

Recently, while looking through Pinterest, I saw an amazing recipe for a chocolate strawberry no bake pie.  The idea behind the pie was very similar to my chocolate banana cream pie that my husband and I love so much.  I was so excited that I showed the simple recipe to my husband who rejected it right away as something he wouldn’t necessarily want to eat.  After talking about it, he gave me a couple of suggestions on how to take the same basic premise and use it to create a dessert that he would eat.  Something I’m calling a strawberry s’mores inside out pie.

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To make this as simple as possible, I used as many pre-made ingredients as possible.  What went into this pie was a pre-made graham cracker crust, one package of Jell-O chocolate instant pudding and pie filling, one package of strawberries, milk, and a couple of pieces of Hershey’s milk chocolate bars.  After all, this can’t really be called a s’mores pie without the graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows.  I will say a couple of things though, if I wasn’t looking for this to a quick and easy recipe, I would have made my own homemade graham cracker crust with crushed up graham crackers and melted butter instead of using a store bought crust, and I probably would have used half milk, half Cool Whip topping to make the pie filling rather than straight milk on its own to have a much more stable and set pie filling.

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Let’s start with the strawberries.  When strawberries are ripe and in season, I love to eat them.  In fact, it’s the only berry I actually like.  So, take a package of strawberries, rinse, hull and then slice them.  The strawberries will be part of the pie filling, so cut them to a thickness that you can actually handle.

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Next, 3 cups of milk for one package of the Jell-O chocolate instant pie and pudding filling.

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Pour the entire contents of the package into the bowl of milk and whisk vigorously for 2 minutes, following the instructions on the package.  You’ll feel the milk start to thicken up and after a couple of minutes, you’ll have pudding.  The package indicates that after 5 minutes, the pudding will set up.  Now, as I mentioned earlier, when I make this pie again, I’d use 1 cup of milk and one cup of Cool Whip rather than 3 cups of milk.  The milk will help to turn the Jell-O into pudding, but the one cup of Cool Whip will help to thicken, and stabilize the pie filling so that it’s not as runny in the pie and more set.  This will come into play when you cut into the pie so that the pudding mix sets and holds rather than being loose the way pudding is.  But, my husband isn’t a fan of Cool Whip, so we tend not to buy it at our house.  The other thought would be to use 1.5 cups of milk, cutting the milk in half to create a thicker, more stable pudding mixture.

Alright, strawberries are cut, pudding is made, it’s time to assemble the pie.

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We start with the graham cracker crust.  Again, if I had more time, I’d make my own crust since it’s fairly simple to do, but will add about 10-15 minutes to bake and set and then some more time to cool down.  The reason for making homemade crust is that you can add enough melted butter to ensure that the crust stays together and isn’t so crumbly.  With a pre-made crust, the crust tends to not be very thick and does tend to crumble when you cut through it.  With your pudding ready to go, spread a thin layer of chocolate pudding into the well of the graham cracker crust.  The reason for starting with a pudding layer first rather than strawberries is that you don’t want the graham cracker crust to absorb all of the moisture out of the juicy strawberries creating a mushy, soggy bottom of the pie!

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Once you have your bottom layer of chocolate pudding down, it’s time to cover that bottom layer of chocolate with slices of strawberry to create a layer of strawberries.  Since you’re covering this up, you don’t need to be exact and cover every square inch of chocolate pudding, you just want to create a nice layer of strawberries.448

Next, spoon more of the chocolate pudding right over the strawberries covering up the strawberry layer entirely.

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Now it’s time to repeat.  You have chocolate pudding on the bottom, then strawberries, and now more chocolate pudding, so now it’s time for another layer of strawberries.  Having 2 layers of strawberries makes for a nice surprise when you cut into the pie and find 2 layers of strawberries.  And who doesn’t like the combination of sweet juicy strawberries with chocolate?

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Alright, time to finish off the pie filling by topping the 2nd layer of strawberries entirely in chocolate pudding.  When you look at the pie, all you should see is chocolate pudding.  You shouldn’t be able to see the strawberry layer inside the pie filling.  You can smooth out the top layer of the pie using a spatula.

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It’s finally time for the marshmallows.  This is a s’mores pie after all, and you can’t have s’mores without the marshmallows.  I just randomly sprinkled marshmallows over the top of the pie.  Conceivably, if you really like marshmallows, you can cover the entire top of the pie with marshmallows.

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What’s a s’more without the toasted marshmallows?  After all, you want to get that campfire, melted marshmallow feel, right?  Since we’re making a pie, the easiest way to  recreate the melted marshmallows over a campfire feel is with a butane torch.  Careful torch the marshmallows right over the pie.  When the marshmallows have taken enough heat from the butane torch, you’ll see their exterior crack a little and then you’ll hear a little “whoosh” sound as the marshmallow almost seems like it’s bursting from the inside out due to the heat.

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After that, the surface of the marshmallow will quickly burn, and if you’re careful, actually catch fire!  But they’ll look exactly like marshmallows toasted over an open flame! Wah lah!

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And to reiterate the fact that this is a s’mores pie.  I took a few of the miniature Hershey’s milk chocolate bars and split them and placed them right on top of the pie.  There you’ve got it, everything you need to make this a s’mores pie – graham crackers, chocolate (including Hershey’s milk chocolate bars), and toasted marshmallows!

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And since I had some leftover strawberry slices, I threw a couple of them on the top of the pie as well, just so there’s a bit of pop in color in case the brown of the chocolate is unappealing, but also so the strawberry layers hidden inside the pie filling aren’t a surprise.  The sliced strawberries on top kind of serve as a foreshadowing of what’s to come when you take a slice out of the pie.

Using a lot of pre-made ingredients, you can throw together this strawberry s’mores inside out pie in about 15 minutes.  It’s quick, easy and something everyone can help make.  The strawberries work here because it’s summer and the strawberries are cool, refreshing and sweet, but the s’mores pie would work just as well without the strawberries in it.  And toasting the marshmallows with the butane torch just helps to add a little layer of flavor to the marshmallows and a little authenticity to the feeling of it being s’mores.  Throw this pie together, serve it to your guests and soon they’ll be asking for s’more!

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