Peanut Butter Cup Pie
Week Two: Herb Has A Dream Pie
My brother-in-law had a dream to one day eat a giant peanut butter cup the size of a pie, and far be it from me to let a man’s dream go unfulfilled. Ok, so it’s not remotely as noble as racial equality, but it is arguably tastier. Honestly, this wasn’t a hard sell for me, peanut butter cups (along with Junior Mints) are my favorite candy. It’s hard to beat that flavor combination, I mean, I try all the time, but it remains my firm favorite.
Oh, and on a non-pie note, if you are a peanut butter cup fan (and, don’t kid yourself, you clearly are) get to the nearest Trader Joe’s immediately and try their brand. You’ll never go back to Reeses. Thank me later. You can just send peanut butter cups.
This pie was pretty much a no-brainer content wise — chocolate cookie crust coated with bittersweet chocolate, filled with peanut butter mousse, and topped with semisweet ganache. On my personal scale of difficulty, I’d say this one was fairly easy to pull off with amazing results. Dream big!
PEANUT BUTTER CUP PIE
Chocolate Wafer Crust
2 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (1 18oz package. If you can’t find the plain wafer cookies, you can “de-middle” sandwich cookies such as Oreos — fun!!)
1 stick butter
1/3 cup sugar
1-2 oz grated semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (I like Scharffen Berger, though you can use whatever you like.)
Heat oven to 350°.
Place wafer cookies in a plastic zip bag and work out your aggressions with a rolling pin until cookies have been reduced to fine crumbs. Melt the butter and mix thoroughly with 2 cups of crumbs (there’ll be some leftover in the bag), and sugar. Press firmly into the bottom and sides of a greased 10″ pie pan. Bake at 350° for 10 min. Remove from oven and immediately cover with grated chocolate, it will melt then set up later. Let cool completely before adding filling (can be done in the refrigerator).
Peanut Butter Filling
8 ounces cream cheese (I’ve been thinking Mascarpone could substitute here, although I have yet to try it)
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
Using mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, cream together the cream cheese, peanut butter, half and half and sugar until light and fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes. In a separate bowl, whip together the cream and vanilla until it holds stiff peaks. Mix approx 1/4 of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture by hand using a spatula, then carefully fold in the remaining whipped cream and gently spoon into the pie shell, evening out the top when you are finished. Freeze for at least 2 to 3 hours. Two hours before adding the ganache layer place pie in the refrigerator. This step (along with the crust) can, and probably should, be done a day in advance. Just keep in the freezer (wrapped) overnight.
12 oz heavy whipping cream
8 oz semisweet chocolate (once again, Scharffen Berger — I swear I’m not shilling for them. Some people advocate chocolate chips for ganache, but I find them to be too waxy for a great result. Basically, with only two ingredients this layer is all about the chocolate, and you won’t regret the dense, complex flavors you get from a higher quality brand.)
Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium/low heat until steaming, but not boiling. While cream heats, chop chocolate into small pieces (fine) and place in medium heat-proof mixing bowl. When cream is steaming, pour onto the chocolate. Mix until thoroughly combined and allow to cool for a couple of hours at room temperature or about one hour in the refrigerator. You want the ganache to set up a little so it’s no longer liquid (or hot, as that will melt the peanut butter mousse), but not so set up as it would be difficult to spread on the mousse.
Spoon the cooled ganache onto the chilled peanut butter mousse layer (working it onto the edges of the crust) and spread smooth. Chill for at least 2 hours, then try not to eat the entire pie at once, we tried that, it hurts.