My nephew, Jack, is rocking in my dad’s recliner when Henry the Wonderdog launches over the armrest and licks the tip of Jack’s nose.
“HENRY TRIED TO BITE ME!”
We tell him nooooooo, Henry was just trying to kiss him.
“HENRY KISSED ME!”
I tell him he should feel special, because Henry doesn’t go around kissing everyone. This doesn’t help.
Finally, Jack asks for the only thing that will take away the pain.
“Are we having pie?”
This Peanut Butter Torte is pie taken to the extreme–big flavors in ridiculous quantities–and it’s illegal in states that frown on The Devil’s Threesome: Oreos, peanut butter, and cream cheese. There’s also butter. Ganache. Chopped peanuts. If I didn’t know it was a Dorie recipe, I’d swear Emeril. This is a recipe that goes over the top, then takes a hot air balloon and a rocket.
So, how is it?
Straight out of the fridge, it softens fast, gets hard to slice, and the peanut butter-cream cheese filling has an odd twang to it that makes two bites plenty. I divided it into Rubbermaids, shoved it in the freezer, and forgot about it for a few days.
Put it in the freezer. Seriously. The texture and flavor are much, much better. The filling mellows and becomes more like ice cream. Frozen, it’s Jack-worthy.
Peanut Butter Torte
From Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”
- 1 1/4 cups finely chopped salted peanuts (for the filling, crunch and topping)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate)
- 24 Oreo cookies, finely crumbed or ground in a food processor or blender
- 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- Small 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 salted peanut butter–crunchy or smooth (not natural)
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
- Preheat the 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, the sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chips together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Put the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in another small bowl and stir with a fork just until crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Freeze for 10 minutes.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely before filling.
- Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in 1/4 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Scrape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
- Wipe out (do not wash) the bowl, fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, 1/4 cup of the chopped peanuts and the milk.
- Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about one quarter 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 the mouse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.
- To Finish The Torte: Put the chopped 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 cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and, working with a a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and glossy.
- Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing it with a metal icing spatula. Scatter the remaining 1/2 cup peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, about 20 minutes.
- When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the springform pan; it’s easiest to warm the pan with a hairdryer, and then remove the sides, but you can also wrap a kitchen towel damped with hot water around the pan and leave it there for 10 seconds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.