Monday, January 31, 2011
Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...My favorite dessert are, for the most part, European and barely sweet. I love those made with lemon, nuts or fruit and if you wrap them in a crisp and crackly crust, I'll follow you anywhere. That being said, there are also a handful of other, less classic, desserts that can cause me to fall from grace. This Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte is one of them, and, when it's in the house, my fall from grace is not a stumble, it's a free fall. I can't resist this torte. I really love the peanut and chocolate combination and when it's used as it is in this recipe, developed by Dorie Greenspan, just a bite has been known to make my socks go up and down. While there are several steps required to make this torte, they are simple and quite easy to do. I don't make it a habit to rewrite recipes of this caliber. Pastry chefs are exacting in their measurements and execution, and I have no problem following them, if the flavors being proffered are to my liking. I did make a substitution here that I want to talk about a bit. It has to do with chocolate crumbs that are used to make refrigerator pies or cheesecakes. Many of the better recipes use chocolate wafer crumbs to line pie plates or spring form pans. If you live in an area where they are available, no harm, no foul. If they are not available, most of you already know you can use Oreo cookies, sans filling, as a replacement. The problem is that there is rarely a conversion table to tell you how many cookies are required to do that. I did a quick test to determine quantities of each that are necessary for an equivalence conversion. As it turned out the magic number is eleven. Eleven Oreos, stripped of their filling, equal 1 cup of crumbs when ground. It takes about 20 famous chocolate wafers to yield that same amount. Greenspan's recipe uses Oreo cookies to make crumbs. I had none in the house, so I had to fall back on my supply of chocolate wafers. It was a novel twist. I hope you'll try this recipe. It really is perfect for a special Valentine's Day dessert, Here's the recipe.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Dorie Greenspan
1 box chocolate wafer cookies, processed into fine crumbs
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt
1-1/4 cups salted peanuts, finely chopped, divided use
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips or finely chopped semisweet chocolate
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash of ground nutmeg
2 cups heavy cream
1-1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (not natural)
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1) To make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet. Combine chocolate wafer crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl. Toss with a fork to moisten crumbs. Press into a thin layer covering bottom and sides of springform pan to within 1-inch of rim. Freeze crust for 10 minutes. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before filling.
2) To make crunch: In another small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of chopped peanuts, mini chocolate chips, sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss with a fork to mix and set aside.
3) To prepare filling: In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip 2 cups of cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in 1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar and whip until cream holds medium-firm peaks. Transfer cream into a separate bowl and refrigerate until needed. Wipe out (do not wash) mixer bowl, replace whisk with paddle attachment, and beat cream cheese with remaining 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in peanut butter, whole milk, and 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts until well combined. Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about 1/4 of whipped cream to lighten mousse. Still working with spatula, stir in crunchy peanut mixture from step 2 above, then gingerly fold in remaining whipped cream. Scrape mousse into crust, mounding and smoothing top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.
4) To make topping: To finish torte, put chopped bittersweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave bowl over water just until chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove bowl from saucepan. Bring reserved 1/2 cup of cream to a full boil. Pour cream over chocolate and, working with a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until ganache is completely blended and smooth. Pour ganache over torte, smoothing with a metal icing spatula. Scatter remaining 1/2 cup peanuts over top and chill to set topping, at least 20 minutes. When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the springform pan. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.
You might also enjoy these recipes:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars - The Parsley Thief
Peanut Butter Pecan Biscotti - Joy the Baker
Peanut Butter Chocolate Macarons - Annie's Eats
Peanut Butter Brownie Pie - What's Cookin' Chicago?
Peanut Butter and Jelly Truffles - A Mingling of Tastes
Peanut Butter Crunch Truffles - Piece of Cake