At Bourbon Steak DC, Executive Pastry Chef and DC native Amanda Khan loves to create “throwback desserts” inspired by her childhood, so a nostalgic play on a campfire classic is a no-brainer.
“When we were kids, my grandparents used to take my brothers, cousins, and I on a camping trip every summer,” she says. “I have fond memories of us roasting marshmallows for s’mores over the campfire at night.”
For this recipe, however, Khan got her inspiration not from her American childhood but her Parisian education.
“When I was in school in Paris, I went to a restaurant where the dessert was a riff on s’mores, and I was so impressed with how the chef was able to be creative and make something completely different,” she recalls. “It inspired me to create my own take on s’mores.”
Khan is not the only American chef to transform this nostalgic camping favorite into a fine dining dish. In 2017, Bon Appétit reported no fewer than 11 restaurants offering their play on the combo of marshmallow, graham cracker, and chocolate, including iterations in the form of sliders, tortes, and even a whole cast-iron skillet delivered to the table, perfect for sharing (or not, as the case may be.) For her version at Bourbon Steak DC, Khan transforms roasted marshmallows into a smoky, creamy ice cream she drizzles with decadent homemade hot fudge.
This dessert is a cinch to recreate at home — provided you’re armed with an ice cream maker and a trusty kitchen blowtorch (seriously, get one: you can have crème brûlée any night of the week). You’ll also need to make a quick stop at Home Depot to source two hardware store staples – PVC pipe and acetate – to mold the ice cream before plating.
“The acetate is meant to contain the ice cream away from the PVC pipe, so you can pull it off without it actually touching the ice cream,” explains Khan. “The whole point of this step is just to get the ice cream in the shape of a marshmallow.”
At the restaurant, the marshmallow ice cream and fudge are served with milk chocolate mousse, sheets of praline-infused chocolate, and graham cracker streusel, all assembled under a smoke-infused cloche for the perfect dramatic unveiling. At home, simply toast some graham cracker crumbs in butter to sprinkle over the top, and you’ll be ready to go to town on this s’mores-meets-sundae.
Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream (Makes 1 quart)
170 grams small marshmallows
375 grams whole milk
180 grams heavy cream
83 grams granulated sugar
.75 grams kosher salt
75 grams egg yolk
Place the marshmallows on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil. Burn as much of the marshmallows as you can with a kitchen torch. Cover with aluminum foil. Flip, remove bottom aluminum and burn again.
Bring the milk, cream, sugar and salt to a scald. (A scald is when you heat milk just before it boils, then cool slightly.) Beat the egg yolks in a separate mixing bowl, then slowly temper in the cream mixture, whisking constantly.
Place the toasted marshmallow into a blender, and strain the cream mixture over the top. Blend until smooth.
Strain, let cool, and process through an ice cream machine.
If you like, to make marshmallow-shaped servings of ice cream, line PVC tubes with strips of acetate (both available in your local hardware store or online.) After the ice cream has come out of the ice cream machine, transfer to a piping bag and fill the acetate-lined pipe with the ice cream, then smooth over the top. Freeze until ready to serve.
Homemade Hot Fudge (serves 8)
262 grams heavy cream
261 grams corn syrup
113 grams dark brown sugar
32 grams cocoa powder
2 grams salt
261 grams Manjari (64%) Valrhona chocolate, chopped, divided
5 grams vanilla extract
44 grams butter
Heat the cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and salt, and half the chopped chocolate in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Stir frequently until the chocolate is melted, then reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add the butter, vanilla, and remaining chocolate. Stir until smooth.
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