Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
Last weekend I offered to bring dessert to a holiday party for my high school friends. It had to be good, it had to be fun, and it had to look like I didn’t try too hard.
In honor of our childhood, I went for this decadent grown-up version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup. And I’m happy to report that it got a unanimous blog-worthy nod from everyone there. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you…combining chocolate and peanut butter in a dessert is usually a very, very good idea.
If you’re thinking that this pie looks a little tricky, trust me, it’s really not hard to make. It’s got an easy chocolate wafer crust (a chocolate version of a graham cracker crust), a peanut butter filling that’s simply mixed and folded together, and a chocolate ganache topping that’s made in the microwave.
All I can tell you is that if you walk into a party with this dessert, you’ll be very popular. It’s as good as you’re imagining it to be.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
Adapted from Food & Wine
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I use Ghirardelli)
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
8 ounces Nabisco chocolate wafer cookies (about 32 cookies from a 9-ounce package), finely ground in a food processor (2 cups)
Peanut Butter Filling
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (1 small tub)
1 cup peanut butter (I use Skippy Natural)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup well-chilled heavy cream
Chocolate Topping with Peanuts
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (such as Ghirardelli)
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped
Make the chocolate crust: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium glass bowl, combine the chocolate and butter and microwave at high power in 20-second intervals until the chocolate is just melted. Stir well, then stir in the cookie crumbs. Press the cookie crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the rim of a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom.* (Be sure not to make the crust too thick in any one spot, especially around the rim. Keep it thin throughout, otherwise it will come out too hard.) Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then cool on rack.
Meanwhile, make the peanut butter filling:In a large bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the peanut butter, sugar and vanilla extract until blended. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the chilled cream until firm. Fold one-third of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture to loosen it, then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Spoon the filling into the crust, smoothing the surface. Refrigerate uncovered for about 1 hour.
Make the chocolate topping: In a medium glass bowl, combine the chocolate with the heavy cream and microwave at high power in 20-second intervals until the chocolate is just melted and the cream is hot. Stir the chocolate topping until blended, then let cool to barely warm, stirring occasionally. Spread the chocolate topping over the chilled peanut butter filling and sprinkle the chopped peanuts around the edge of the pie. Chill uncovered in refrigerator for 3 more hours.
To serve: Carefully remove the rim from the pan by gently pressing upwards on the bottom while holding the rim in place. (If using a springform pan, run a thin knife around the crust to loosen it, then remove the springform ring.) Use a sharp knife to cut the pie into wedges. Run the knife under hot water and dry it between each cut. Serve chilled or slightly cooler than room temperature.
*You can find a tart pan with a removable bottom for about $10 at any kitchen shop. I’ve even seen them at my local hardware store. If you can’t find one, you can also use a 10-inch springform pan and bring the crust about 1 inch up the rim (or for a 9-inch springform pan, bring the crust about 1 ½ inches up the rim).
*This pie can be made a day ahead, then covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.