Peanut Butter Torte

Chocolate and peanut butter, combined together in one glorious creation. There’s not much better. Put me in front of a candy machine with a fistful of change and I’ll go for a Peanut Butter Cup every time. Even if you’re not a peanut butter fan it doesn’t matter because chocolate makes it better, showing peanut butter off like a frilly male dancer featuring his lady compatriot in the midst of a heated tango contest.

That’s a photoshop moment begging to be fulfilled, but I just don’t have the time. How about this, instead:

Peanut Butter Torte - Thumbs Up
Our Web Admin shows his appreciation for chocolate and peanut butter with a definite thumbs up.

For our Independence Day celebration, I put together Dorie Greenspan’s Peanut Butter Torte. Aside from the wonderfulness of chocolate and peanut butter, the best I can describe this is if Mr. Stay Puft and and Willy Wonka had a love child, this torte would be the product of that union.

Too much?

Peanut Butter Torte

Anyhoo, this rich dessert took me by surprise. The base of it is obviously peanut butter, as well as cream cheese. Based on those two ingredients, my first impression was that the body of the torte was going to be quite dense, but it’s actually incredibly light and almost fluffy by adding 2 cups of (whipped) whipping cream and sifted confectioners’ sugar.

Here’s the montage:

Peanut Butter Torte - Montage

You’ll see this in the instructions below but, first you whip up the whipped cream. Next you beat the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar together, and add the peanut butter and some chopped peanuts. Lastly, you mix in that whipped cream (gently, by hand so as not to undo the whipping of the cream and mash everything into a dense paste). When that’s all done, you get this:

Torte Mixture

And this goes into a simple butter and Oreo crust.

Peanut Butter Torte
Adapted from Baking, From My Home to Yours

1 1/4 cups finely chopped salted peanuts
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
24 Oreo cookies, ground into fine crumbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups slated peanut butter – crunchy or smooth, not natural
2 tablespoons milk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Toss 1/2 cup of the chopped peanuts, sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl. Set aside.

Put Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in another small bowl and stir until crumbs are moistened. Press crumbs evenly over bottom and up the sides of the springform pan (they should go up 2 inches). Freeze crust for 10 minutes, then bake crust for 10 minutes, transfer to a rack and let it cool completely.

Whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks (see photo above to get an idea of what that should look like). Beat in 1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar and whip unitl the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Scrape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Wipe out bowl and beat cream cheese with remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until mixture is satiny smooth. Beat in peanut butter, 1/4 cup of the chopped peanuts and the milk. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir in about 1/4 of the whipped cream, just to lighten the mousse. Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream. Scrape mousse into the crust mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. (The original recipe says to refrigerate for 4 hours, but the mousse inside was just way too soft and goopy — give it a little longer to set.) Cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.

To finish the torte: Put the chopped bittersweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan.

Bring the remaining 1/2 cup of cream to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and, working with a spatula, very gently stir together the ganache until it is completely smooth and glossy. Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing it with a spatula. Scatter the remaining 1/2 cup peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping – about 20 minutes. (Do not leave off the peanuts — the added crunch really makes the torte.)

When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the springform pan. Refrigerate until ready and serve.

We quite liked this, though I thought there could have been more chocolate. My preference is to have a balance of chocolate and peanut butter and, in this case, the peanut butter ratio is a little higher than I would have liked. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike it, I just think the chocolate and peanut butter should have been an even balance. Still, peanut butter fans will be very happy with this dessert. It’s a good casual treat this summer that won’t disappoint.

Peanut Butter Torte - Slice

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