This week's Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) recipe was chosen by Elizabeth of Ugg Smell Food: Peanut Butter Torte. Aside from the Oreo cookie crust, this was actually a no-bake recipe. It came together rather easily, with the most time consuming parts being chopping up the peanuts and the chocolate. You could easily save time by using mini chocolate chips and a food processor to chop the peanuts. Special thanks to my cousin, Shannon, who joined me this week in the kitchen and helped make this torte.
We made a few changes to the recipe, mostly because of what we had on hand. Instead of salted peanuts, we used unsalted. So instead of using unsalted butter, we used salted. And because we figured the peanut butter was going to be a little salty, we omitted the "pinch of salt" that the recipe calls for. Some TWD bakers said that the torte was too salty, but I didn't find this to be a problem at all.
It also seems that many found the 24 Oreo cookies inadequate for creating the crust. While my Oreo cookie crust was a little on the thin side, I did not have trouble covering my entire pan (including the sides) with the Oreos. If your favorite part is the crust, you'll definitely want to use more than 24 Oreos to thicken up your crust.
Initially, I wasn't sure if it would be better to use creamy or crunchy peanut butter (even though I normally love the crunchy). After tasting this torte, I would say that you should definitely use the creamy peanut butter. Aside from the layer of peanuts on top of the torte, there are also nice little bits of peanuts and chocolate in the filling. So I guess if you like things super chunky, you could use chunky peanut butter, but in general I wouldn't recommend it.
This torte is filled with a light and airy peanut butter mousse. The peanut butter flavor is prominent, but not overpowering, and sandwiching it between a layer of Oreo cookies and chocolate ganache is ingenious. I didn't really taste the espresso powder or spices in this torte, but I'm sure they added a nice subtle flavor that my palate just isn't sophisticated enough to recognize ;)
Because this dessert is basically no-bake and comes together rather quickly, it would be great for entertaining. Dorie says that you can get 6-8 servings out of this torte, but those would be really big slices. You could probably get something closer to 10 decently sized slices out of it, or 8 larger slices.
Peanut Butter Torte
from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
1 ¼ cups finely chopped salted peanuts (for the filling, crunch and topping) (I used unsalted peanuts. You should only finely chop 3/4 cup. The remaining 1/2 cup is used to top the torte and should only be coarsely chopped.)
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
½ cups mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped semi sweet chocolate)
24 Oreo cookies, finely crumbed or ground in a food processor or blender
½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (I used salted butter)
Small pinch of salt (I omitted this)
2 ½ cups heavy cream
1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ cups salted peanut butter – crunchy or smooth (not natural; I use Skippy) (I used creamy/smooth)
2 tablespoons whole milk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch Springform pan and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Toss ½ cup of the chopped peanuts, the sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chops 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 spring form pan (they should go up about 2 inches on the sides). Freeze the crust 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 or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in ¼ 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 if you have one, or continue with the hand mixer, 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, ¼ 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 mousse 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 ½ 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 ½ 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.
Yield: 6-8 Servings