Cooking and baking are dangerous hobbies. One, because there are actually a lot of pointy and sharp things in my kitchen. I don't do well with pointy things. I actually passed out after cutting my thumb in sculpture class once. The wound required no more than a band-aid, but in my head I was convinced I was down a digit for sure. While unconscious I hallucinated about colorful monkeys and eventually came to in my very alarmed teacher's lap. So....not good with pointy things. There's that. There's also the deliciousness. There are things out there full of flour, sugar, and butter and they are fun to make and fun to eat. But if you eat as your hobby you have to rename your website Egg & Reinforced Iron Crossbeam. And that doesn't have the same ring, does it?
My husband is blessed with one of those (unfair) amazing metabolisms that allows him to look like a cross country runner no matter what he eats. Now, between the two of us, he is the one more likely to be mistaken for a rabbit for his affection for fresh garden produce, so it's not really like he overindulges his sweet tooth anyway. But when I bring out a dessert like this one I often get the question, "how does your husband stay so thin?" This question assumes that I make stuff like this for our family all the time. But I don't--as much as I love to bake, these desserts are usually special occasion treats to be shared among many. This particular one I've been wanting to make ever since I first received Baking: From My Home to Yours as a Christmas gift a few years ago, and my sweet friend's 40th birthday provided the perfect opportunity. Without further ado, meet Dorie Greenspan's Peanut Butter Torte:
Oreo crust, fluffy peanut butter mousse filling studded with spiced peanuts and chocolate chips, bittersweet ganache topping and a sprinkling of peanuts. Oh yes. I had a blast making it and a blast enjoying it with some great people.
Though it does have cream cheese in the filling, this felt lighter to me than a cheesecake (though still very rich). I think I prefer it to Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake for that reason. This recipe has several chilling steps, so make sure to allow enough time for those. I made a few changes to the original recipe, substituting my own favorite ganache for the topping and increasing the cookie crust to suit my pan size. Enjoy--the next tasty recipe I'm posting features this year's first garden vegetables and not even a little bit of chocolate. ;)
Peanut Butter Mousse Torte (adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours)
For the crust:
- 30 chocolate sandwich cookies, finely crumbled or ground in a food processor
- 5 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- small pinch of salt
For the filling:
- 3/4 c. finely chopped salted peanuts
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
- 2 c. heavy cream
- 1 1/4 c. confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 c. peanut butter (not natural--I used Jif)
- 2 T. whole or 2% milk
For the ganache topping:
- 1/2 c. heavy cream
- 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 c. roughly chopped salted peanuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 1/2-inch springform pan.
- Toss 1/2 c. chopped peanuts, 2 tsp. sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chocolate chips together in a bowl and set aside.
- Put the cookie crumbs, melted butter, and salt into another bowl and mix with a fork until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up 2" on the sides of the springform pan. Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.
- Place the crust on a baking sheet (to catch drips) and bake on center rack for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip 2 c. cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in 1/4 c. confectioners' sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Scrape the cream into another bowl or container and refrigerate.
- Wipe out the mixer bowl and beat the cream cheese with remaining 1 c. confectioners' sugar until satiny smooth. Beat in peanut butter, remaining 1/4 c. of the finely chopped peanuts, and milk.
- Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold in about one quarter of the whipped cream to lighten the mousse. Stir in the spiced peanut mixture, then gently fold in in the remaining whipped cream.
- Scrape the mousse into the crust, smooth the top, and refrigerate at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
- For the ganache topping: Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring 1/2 cream to a boil. Pour over chocolate chips, allow to sit for 30 seconds, then stir until smooth and glossy. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then pour and spread over the top of the chilled torte, and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.
- Remove springform pan sides when ganache is firm, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
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