We’re all for bringing back the “pot luck” style of entertaining especially as a more budget friendly way of getting together. And yes, we’re still being cautious of large gatherings and sticking closer to home with those we love to spend time with. If you’re in charge of dessert (my favourite!) here’s a great recipe for S’mores Tart shared by Alina Fintineanu aka The Luxe Baker…and by the way, did you know it’s National Dessert Month?You may recognize Alina as the wonderful Romanian-Canadian who competed on season five of The Great Canadian Baking Show. Not only is she a talented baker but did you know she’s also champion chess-player? Her family moved to Canada from Romania when she was just 10 years old. Like many parents they hoped to open more opportunities for the family that they may not have had back in their home country. Another fun fact we’ve learned about Alina is she’s actually an orthodontic dental hygienist for her day job. That’s how she quickly was given the title of the “Rogue Tooth Fairy” on the baking show.

With bonfire season drawing to a close, Alina has developed a show-stopping S’mores Tart recipe that you can make in your oven, made with a Graham cracker crust, chocolate ganache and topped with Italian meringue.

S’mores Tart (Serves 8)

Graham crust:
1 3⁄4 cups Graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp granulated sugar
8-9 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1⁄2 tsp salt

Chocolate ganache:
340g dark chocolate (55%)
240g whipping cream, (35%)
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

Italian Meringue:
225g granulated sugar
90ml water
3 large egg whites, room temperature

To make the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine crust ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together well using a rubber spatula until crumbs are moistened by the butter. Press into 14×5 inch fluted rectangular tart pan.* Bake for 9-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the ganache:
Place chocolate (chop finely if necessary, I used small callets which do not require chopping) in a medium bowl, and add the softened butter. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until just before boiling. Pour into chocolate/butter, and cover bowl with a plate. Let sit for a few minutes to allow cream to melt the chocolate. Stir well using a rubber spatula until ganache is well blended and smooth. Pour onto cooled graham crust. Let set 4 hours at room temperature or pop into the fridge for faster setting.

To make the Italian meringue:
Wipe down your stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment with a slice of lemon to remove any grease or dirt. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water on medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites on medium-high to soft peaks, and continue whisking. When the sugar in your saucepan has dissolved, increase your stovetop to high heat and bring the sugar syrup to a boil, continuing until the temperature has reached 248F. With the stand mixer running, very carefully and steadily pour the hot syrup along the side of the bowl to prevent splattering/burns. Once all the syrup is poured in, increase the speed to high and continue whisking for several minutes or until the bottom of your mixer bowl feels room temperature to the touch. Meringue should be glossy and thick. Transfer into a piping bag fitted with your desired tip, and pipe over the surface of the tart. You can also spoon the meringue evenly onto the tart, and make little peaks across the surface. Using a torch, very carefully torch the surface of the meringue. Serve at room temperature.

Tip: you will need to take your time and be patient pressing in the crumb. Use the heat from your fingers to help bind it into the tart pan. Feel free to use the 9th tbsp of butter to help if you’re finding it too difficult to press together.