Peanut Butter Torte

I have had this recipe tagged to make for several years now.  Every time I thought about making it I changed my mind and decided not too.  Why I changed my mind so many times I will never know, this recipe was not difficult nor was it to time involved.  Now that I have made this recipe it will probably be something that I make quite often.  This torte is like a normal peanut butter pie on steroids.  Chocolate cookie crust, check!  Creamy fluffy peanut butter mousse, check!  Silky smooth ganache studded with crunchy peanuts, check!  What is not to love about this decadent concoction?  If you like nice thick sturdy crust go ahead and add a few more oreos and some more melted butter, but if you are content with a crust just thick enough to get the job done then the amounts given in this recipe are just perfect.
If you want to please the peanut butter lover in your house, I suggest you give this dessert a try soon.  You definitely won’t be disappointed.

Peanut Butter Torte

1 1/4 cup 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
½ 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 cup salted peanut butter – crunchy or smooth (not natural variety)
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.

To make the crunch; toss 1/2 cup of the chopped peanuts, the sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and mini 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 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 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 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 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; its easiest to warm the pan with a hairdryer, then remove the sides, but you can also wrap a kitchen kitchen towel dampened with hot water around the pan and leave it there for 10 seconds.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

~Yields 6-8 servings

Recipe as seen in Baking: From My Home to Yours, Dorie Greenspan pg. 282-283

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