Sugar, Butter, Flour
“Waitress” was served up on the Broadway in 2016 featuring music & lyrics by Sara Bareilles and book by Jessie Nelson, based on the movie of the same name. It tells the story of Jenna, a waitress at Joe’s Diner who is also the baker of the pies sold at the diner. Baking serves as her escape from an unhappy and abusive marriage, and becomes especially important when she plans to use her skills to get her and her unborn baby out of that life by winning a pie contest. Along the way, she falls for her new doctor, and learns about herself, and finds the strength that she never knew she had.
It’s a moving and impowering story. The music is beautiful and catchy, with great harmonies and so much heart. Jenna is certainly now a bucket list role of mine, and I really hope I get the chance to play her some day and tell her story.
Jenna is not only a great baker, but she’s a super creative one too. Her pies are anything but ordinary. They are so fun and fastastical that a cookbook of her pies was actually released (and according to my friends who have baked from it, they’re very good). So naturally I had to make a pie to honor this beautiful show.
Like Jenna, my mother also taught me how to bake. There is something so special about the mother daughter relationship, especially when sharing a special skill and talent. My mom’s pies have always been the highlight of any holiday celebration. With Thanksgiving coming up, I wanted to take one of the classic pies my mom taught me how to make, and then give it a creative spin. The first pie my mom taught me how to baked was a pumpkin pie, which, based on all the pumpkin recipes we’ve released, you’ve probably guessed is my favorite. So I hope you enjoy my Pumpkin S’mores Pie.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray pie dish with baking spray. Set aside.
2. While the butter melts, run the graham crackers through the food processor until finely ground.
3. Mix the butter and graham cracker crumbs until they are the consistency of wet sand. Dump the mixture into the pie plate and spread evenly into the dish and up the side to form the crust. TIP – Use a measuring cup with a flat bottom to press the crust into formation to keep from getting your hands too messy, and to help keep the crust even in thickness.
4. Bake pie for 7 minutes. When the crust comes out, immediately top with the chocolate chips for the crust and let sit for 5 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees.
5. While the crust is baking, mix the eggs and sugar together. Add in the salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove. Add in the pumpkin puree and evaporated milk to complete the custard filling.
6. After the chocolate chips have set in the crust for 5 minutes, pour the custard into the crust. TIP – If the custard has almost reached the top of the crust, but you still have more custard, DO NOT overfill the crust. If there is extra, just discard it – you’ll destroy the crust if you overfill it.
7. Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. After 15 minutes, without opening the oven, lower the temperature to 350 degrees and cook for an additional 40-50 minutes. To test the pie for doness, give it a light shake. If the pie is jiggling, it’s not done. If it’s not jiggling or it’s very slight, poke the center with a butter knife. If the knife comes out clean, the pie is done.
8. Let the pie cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips for the topping in the microwave in 20 second intervals. You can top the pie however you like with the chocolate. I prefer to pipe it in a grid pattern, but a drizzle works to, or whatever your heart desires.
9. Set up double boiler. In the top bowl, whisk 2 egg whites, cream of tartar, and 1/2 of the sugar for the topping. Whisk continuously over the double boiler for 3-5 minutes until the egg whites are thick, frothy, and opaque.
10. Move egg white mixture to a metal or glass mixing bowl, and mix using an electric mixture with whisk attachment, starting on low, slowly increasing the speed as the egg whites expand. Slowly add in the remaining sugar while mixing. After stiff peaks are achieved, add in the vanilla and mix in on low.
11. Top the pie with meringue. You can do this as you wish. You can cover the whole pie, or pipe it out. I like to pipe the meringue into cute little dolops with a tip that has lots of ridges so when I toast it in the next step, there are patterns and it’s more visually appealling.
12. Using a kitchen torch, toast the meringues. Make sure you read the saftey tips and warnings on the torch to make sure you use it safely and properly. Serve and enjoy!
Yields 1 pie. Serves 8. Approximately 460 calories per serving.