When Annie Mole of London Underground Blog fame made a comment on a post earlier this week about Animunch, she knew not what damage she had just unleashed on Londonist's waistline. Mentioning Anthony Worral Thompson's Snickers Pie recipe, she set off the creaky cogs in the cranium of our beloved Editro. "I think you should make this, take photos and do a taste test," he said, before revealing the true motivation for this. "...and then give us all a piece."
The wonders of Google's cache meant that we were able to grab the recipe on Monday, despite the BBC's link going down (one assumes deliberately). Whether this was good fortune or not remains to be seen but, as another Londonist writer remarked, "If we were Glasgowist you'd have to deep fat fry it too."
Without getting into a debate about the rights or wrongs of the recipe, we're just going to cook it. Here's how we fared...
First off, it's a trip to Waitrose. Londonist's sub-conscious, in a pathetic attempt to lower the fat content, managed to get the hand to divert towards a tub of Benecol's soft cheese sort of non-specific lump instead of the real thing, but otherwise there were no problems getting hold of the ingredients.
Packet of puff pastry - £1.29
140g/5oz mascarpone - £2.49 for the 250g tub
110g/4oz soft cheese - £2.79 for the 200g tub
50g caster sugar - already had, and negligible cost
3 eggs - 55p (based on cost of £2.15 for dozen)
5 Snickers bars - £1.25 (for a pack of six 54g bars, roughly equivalent to 5 normal size 62g bars)
So all in all, a cost of £8.37ish to make this monstrosity.
1: Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6
Easy, job done.
2. Roll pastry to 3-4mm thick and use to line a 20cm/8in fluted tart tin.
A minor panic, as Londonist hunts through the cupboards thinking the rolling pin has disappeared in the recent house move. However, soon after the rolling pin is located, Londonist reads the packet of puff pastry and realises it's ready rolled. Brilliant. No such panic regarding the fluted tart tin as, unlike the man at The Grauniad, Londonist knows there is one of these available, having used it to make a tart with which to tempt Gordon Ramsay (but that's another story). The only question is whether it's an 8" tart tin. With no ruler or tape measure to hand, we use a bit of lateral thinking and grab the nearest 7" single, on the basis that the tin should only be a little bit bigger than the record. The tin appears to be somewhat bigger than required but Londonist is a Nigel Slater devotee and reckons our Nigel wouldn't be bothered by a couple of extra inches.
3. Beat the mascarpone, soft cheese and sugar together in a large bowl, until smooth.
4. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
Easy enough with an electric whisk, a kitchen gadget that doesn't gather dust in the Londonist household.
5. Add the Snickers bars and fold in.
The bars are supposed to be roughly chopped but the buggers are so hard that we can't use our mezzoluna so end up chopping them with our normal chopping knife in a much neater fashion than we'd like. It looks like an awful lot of Snickers bar to eggy cheese mixture, and we regret not stealing a bar to consume in a more conventional fashion.
6. Pour into a lined tart tin, and spread to the edges.
7. Place in the oven for 10 minutes, then lower to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for a further 25 minutes until golden and set.
The pie takes only a total of 30 minutes to get to the golden brown stage, probably due to the greater surface area exposed in using a larger tart tin (that whole measuring-with-a-single thing did have a purpose, after all). Despite not having a photo with which to compare our version of the pie, we're confident we've followed the simple instructions as expected.
Allow to cool before serving.
So, the moment of truth. Thanks to the wonders of the mind affecting the taste buds, we'd been tasting peanuts and sugar all day, in anticipation of the sugar and fat fest awaiting us. Mindful of our duties to be open-minded, however, we tried to put away all prejudices as the fork approached the mouth. And... well, here's what the man at The Grauniad had to say:
How does it taste? It tastes insane. Quite apart from anything else, it's got peanuts in it. It tastes like a quiche made with Snickers bars, Snickers bars which, in this critic's opinion, gain nothing from being baked in the oven for half an hour.
Despite ourselves, we're inclined to disagree. The egg and cheese mixture may evoke quiche nightmares, but the immense amount of sugar from the caster sugar and the Snickers bars mean it tastes more like custard than quiche. And do you know what? It actually tastes ok. The trick is to think about it in a different way. Rather than thinking that the Snickers bars raises the sugar content to insane levels, to our tongues, it's more like the egg and cheese moderates the sweetness that you normally associate with the chocolate bars. If anything, it's not as sweet as the plum and almond tart recipe by Jamie Oliver we've cooked recently. The fat content may be questionable but, hey, the Inkycircus girls have just told us that fat is "officially not bad for you".
So, the final verdict: spit or swallow? Swallow, definitely.
To see all the step-by-step photos, have a look at this Flickr set.