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Sweet & Salty Guinness Chocolate Marshmallow Pie

  I don't know about you, but I've got a pretty cool dad.

  My dad can make a killer omelet, knows his way around hot oil, can drive a tractor, gives a darned good bear hug, and knows how to listen.

  When Father's Day comes around, I always want to give him just the right thing, or make him the best card.  I want it to be perfect, I want him to know how much this family cares about him.

  I definitely believe that food preparation is a universal language.  The way you present it, the amount of time you put into it, how much you spend on ingredients...it all says a lot.  Whether or not the recipient knows all this, what's important is that they love it.  Nothing is more heartwarming than watching a person go for seconds or thirds of something you spent the day slaving over.

  Food is meant to be shared.

  I wanted to convey all that in a single Father's Day dessert that could last a two-hour road trip in a cooler and feed at least 10 people, and I had two days to think it up.  My brain is usually bursting with ideas, but never within the right context, it seems. 

  When I'm hard up on inspiration, I browse.  Sometimes that means perusing our shelf of cookbooks, but more often it means searching through some of my favorite blogs, gawking at gorgeous pictures and recipes.

  Leave it to Heather of Sprinkle Bakes to inspire me.  This lady is phenomenally artsy, just filled to the brim with talent and ideas.  While perusing her impressive recipe archive, I came across the perfect dessert for my dad.  The title Sweet and Salty Guinness Chocolate Pie with Beer Marshmallow Meringue hit me right between the eyes.

  This is a bit of a St. Patrick's thing, but I didn't think anyone would complain.  If you really want to go all out, dye the marshmallow green and throw in some peppermint extract or something.  Possibilities!

  Now, I don't like beer.  This is probably okay, since, you know, I'm 17.  But I actually went back for seconds here.  Not to say that the Guinness flavor is lost, it's quite present, but it just compliments the marshmallow and chocolate so perfectly!  Plus, the crust is to-die-for.  That will be definitely be going into other pie creations.  I wasn't the only non-beer-liker who fell for it, and those who are fans couldn't get enough.  Definitely a win-win!

  This guy came up with top marks, and I've already got recipe requests on facebook just because of the picture I posted and the small mention I made of it on Sunday

  I'm not gonna lie, this is a labor of love; I recommend that you dedicate an afternoon to it the day before you plan to serve it, so it has a chance to chill overnight.  It is entirely worth it though, especially if you're making it for your daddy.

  Many thanks and kudos to Heather for her creativity, this pie more than fit the bill.

Sweet & Salty Guinness Chocolate Marshmallow Pie
Yield: two 8 or 9-inch pies

Ingredients for the crust:
  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

Ingredients for the Guinness chocolate filling:
  • 8 large egg yolks (be sure to reserve 4 of the egg whites for the marshmallow topping!)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 14.9 oz. can Guinness Draught, divided
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 7 oz. high quality bittersweet chocolate, evenly and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

Ingredients for the beer marshmallow meringue topping:
(Note: This marshmallow meringue is really gooey and not your average dry, fluffy meringue.  It's more like melted marshmallow fluff.)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 jumbo marshmallows cut into quarters with kitchen scissors (or about 18-20 large, cut in half)
  • 3 tbsp. beer reduction, used from the 14.9 oz. can listed in the chocolate pudding ingredients (divided as instructed within the recipe)

To make the crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a medium bowl, mix together crushed pretzels, graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and brown sugar.  Stir together with a rubber spatula until well incorporated.  Divide mixture between two 8 or 9-inch pie plates, pressing down into an even layer with a flat-bottomed ramekin or heavy glass (you may let the crust go up the sides, if you wish). Bake for 10-15 minutes, until set.  Cool completely before filling. 
Once the crusts are cool, make the Guinness chocolate filling.  Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a non-reactive bowl.  Pour 1 cup of Guinness into a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan (reserve the rest for later use in the marshmallow meringue beer reduction). Add heavy cream and whisk to combine.  Set over medium-high heat and cook until very hot, but not boiling.  Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until completely melted.  Add the egg mixture in a very thin stream, whisking constantly, so you don't scramble the egg.  Whisk in cornstarch and return to heat source.  Whisk over medium heat until thickened (pudding may appear separated).

Divide mixture between pie pans, quickly smoothing the chocolate onto the crust with a rubber spatula.  Refrigerate while making the marshmallow topping. (Note: you may find that a slight separation of the beer will occur.  I fixed this by periodically laying a single layer of paper towel over each of the pies, allowing it to soak up the extra moisture.  I did this about three times.)

For the beer reduction in the marshmallow meringue, place the reserved Guinness in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until reduced to 3 tablespoons (this will take about 10-15 minutes). Note: within the first few minutes of boiling, the Guinness will bubble and foam up like crazy.  Slide it off the heat quickly before it boils over and stir it a bit.  Slide it back onto the heat when you've calmed it, and from there it will simmer down contentedly.

To make the marshmallow meringue, whisk sugar, egg whites, water, and salt together in a large metal bowl.  Set bowl over a simmering pan of water (your heat should be around medium-low, and the bowl should not be in direct contact with the water); whisking constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot to the touch (be sure the water never comes to a boil, or your eggs will cook).  Remove bowl from simmering saucepan and stir in marshmallow pieces.  Let stand for 3-5 minutes, until the marshmallow pieces have softened.  Return bowl to simmering water and beat together using a hand-held mixer for several minutes, until mixture thickens and is combined (remember, the texture is like melted marshmallow fluff, not your usual meringue!).  Remove bowl from simmering water and add beer reduction.  Continue to beat mixture until it has cooled slightly.

Preheat oven to broil.  Divide marshmallow mixture between the two pie pans and, if desired, create a swirl pattern with a small off-set spatula or butterknife.  Place under hot broiler, leaving the door open and rotating the pans as necessary (if it's more comfortable for you to do one pie at a time, that's totally fine).  Watch constantly - it's easy for the marshmallow to burn! Remove from oven when nice and toasty.

Let cool, then cover and refrigerate pies until well set - about 3-4 hours, but preferably overnight.  This is important, as it helps the marshmallow meringue to solidify.  

Use a warm knife (dipped in hot water then wiped dry) to achieve cleanly cut slices of pie, dipping and wiping clean between each slice.  Store covered in the refrigerator.

Sources: Sprinkle Bakes