Peanut butter torte. This was one of the desserts that I had bookmarked since I bought this cookbook, so thanks to Elizabeth of Ugg Smell Food for picking it. I managed to make this relatively early in the week - Wednesday for the majority of the cake, then I put the ganache on Thursday night. Why did I do this so early, you ask? Because it served a higher purpose - bribery. You see, I've had some pretty horrid projects at work that require lots and lots of maintenance help. This involves them contorting around an adhesive pump for 3-4 hours at a time. Let me tell you, this does not make them (or me!) happy.
Even worse, we've had to do this twice so far this calendar year. Two days, two maintenance guys, and lots of headaches and followup issues. I seriously walk into the maintenance shop and one of the electrical guys asks who I'm going to s**t on today. He's joking, but the point is there - I'm not making their jobs any easier. So after this second time, which was last Tuesday, I vowed that I would thank them with baked goods. Because really, who doesn't like baked goods?
Not only that, but the Peanut Butter Torte sounded like the perfect thing. My coworkers would kill me if they knew what went into this (two cups of heavy cream! over a cup of peanut butter! butter! Oreos! sugar!), and I've already been warned that I'm not helping certain people in the office on their diets... So yeah, who wouldn't care? Maintenance guys! They'll inhale anything, the unhealthier, the better!
And boy, was I not wrong. I dropped it off for the half dozen maintenance guys (along with applesauce spice bars, also from Baking - ohmygod so good), left for 20 minutes, and when I came back - maybe 1/10th of the torte was left! And only a third of the bar cookies! Dang! Thus, I only have photos of the whole torte, not of individual slices. But they all assured me that it was delicious, almost beating out the cheesecake that one of the guys' daughter made for them once. I am, once again, their favorite engineer. Score!
So not only did this dessert make my entire apartment smell like peanut butter (totally not a bad thing at all), it died in serving a higher cause. What more could you ask for of a dessert?
Last week: Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake
Next week: Florida Pie
Peanut Butter Torte (from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours)
1 ¼ c. finely chopped salted peanuts (for the filling, crunch and topping)
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
½ c. 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
Small pinch of salt
2 ½ c. heavy cream
1 ¼ c confectioners’ sugar, sifted
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ c salted peanut butter – crunchy or smooth (not natural; I use Skippy)
2 tablespoons whole milk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
Getting ready: 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. Crape 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 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 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.