Peanut Butter Torte

I love peanut butter. As a child, any treat that had peanut butter in it was good in my book. I just couldn’t have enough. Given this though, it was kind of surprising looking through everything I’ve posted here, that not once have I made a peanut butter dessert! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ To address this clear emergency: a peanut butter torte.

This treat was largely inspired by Susan’s beautiful peanut butter torte which had me drooling for peanut butter like Pavlov’s dog. I wanted this dessert to be absolutely sinful to eat, so from bottom to top: a graham cracker crust, an inner chocolate ganache crust, peanut butter mousse with spiced nuts and chocolate, a top layer of chocolate ganache, drizzles of caramel, toasted peanuts, and creme chantilly. Whew!

So did it deliver? Oh did it ever. This is definitely a dessert for the peanut butter lover. Crunchy, creamy, smooth, sweet, dark, toasty, chocolatey, peanutty–just a whole lot of adjectives that don’t capture how delicious this was. I was sad to see the last slice go–I could eat this everyday if my arteries would allow it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • 1 Graham cracker pie crust
  • Crust ganache
    • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Peanut Butter Mousse
    • 1/2 cup peanuts
    • 1.5 tsp sugar
    • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
    • pinch nutmeg
    • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
    • bit of honey
    • 1.33 cups heavy cream
    • 2/3 cup + 3 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar
    • 8 oz cream cheese
    • 1 cup peanut butter (I like it chunky–use what you like)
    • 1.5 Tbsp whole milk
  • Topping
    • Ganache
      • 4-6 oz bittersweet chocolate
      • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • Caramel
      • 1/2 cup of sugar
      • 3 Tbsp butter
      • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
    • Creme Chantilly
      • 3/4 cup heavy cream
      • 2 Tbsp sugar
      • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Begin by preparing and blind baking your graham cracker crust at 325°F for about 18 minutes. Let it cool off a bit.

While the crust is cooling, work on the first layer of ganache. Either in a double boiler or in the microwave (working in 30 second increments so you don’t burn it), melt the chocolate with the cream, stirring until fully mixed and silky smooth. Spread this over the inside of the pie crust, being sure to leave the upper edges of your crust uncovered.

Let the pie crust (and ganache) cool down. If you’re in a hurry (I was), set the crust in the freezer for 10 minutes before moving to the fridge.

In all likelihood, you won’t be working with raw peanuts, but here in Florida, its peanut season, so I just couldn’t help myself to a bag of blanched peanuts (so no added flavors beyond the peanut itself!). So if you’re also working with raw nuts, roast them for about 10 minutes in the oven (I did this at the same time as my pie crust). Give these time to cool off before you chop them up coarsely.

Once you do chop the nuts, toss them in a bowl with the chocolate chips (chop them, too), sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and since my peanuts were plain, I added a squirt of honey. Set this aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks start forming, at which point, you should add 3 Tbsp of the confectioner’s sugar so that after a bit more mixing, you get medium-firm peaks. Scrape this out into a good sized bowl and refrigerate until we need it later.

Now, switch to your paddle attachment on the mixer and beat the cream cheese and remaining 2/3 cup of confectioners sugar until the cream cheese takes on a smooth, silky texture.

Once the cream cheese is well beaten, add in the peanut butter and milk, beating this until fully mixed into the cream cheese.

At this point, you’ll want to get the whipped cream back out of the fridge. Fold (not beat or mix) a bit of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture to lighten things up a bit and to fluff up the texture some.

Once reasonably incorporated, fold in the spiced nut mix you prepared earlier. Finally, fold in the rest of the whipped cream, working the mousse only as much as absolutely necessary.

At this point, you should get the pie crust out of the fridge and fill it with the mousse. Set this in the fridge for a bit before you cover with plastic wrap (so that the mousse can firm up and prevent it from sticking to the plastic wrap). Let this chill for several hours (until it is set) or, like me, overnight. Also, if it seems like you have a little more mousse than should comfortably fill your pie crust, help yourself to a very generous bowl cleaning. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So now, the mousse has set and you’re good to continue onto the next step. At this point, its really all about how you want to dress up the top layer. I wanted to drizzle caramel on top, and seeing how this would require a bit more time to cool down than anything else I had planned, I started with that by making a tried and true caramel sauce.

Simply warm the sugar up in a dry sauce pan on high heat until it goes from odd chunks to almost entirely melted down (figure between 5 and 10 minutes), at which point, you should drop the heat a bit, add the butter (be careful! It will froth up and you risk burns!) and whisk it into the caramel. Once totally mixed, remove from the heat, let rest for a few seconds, and then whisk in the cream. When this is totally mixed, let it cool down for a bit before you transfer to another container and set it aside in the fridge to speed up the cooling off.

I also wanted to have more chopped nuts, so again, we do just what we did before: roast some raw peanuts for 10 minutes, let cool off a bit, and chop them up coarsely. Set these aside.

Finally, I also wanted a chocolate ganache layer on top, so repeat what we did for the crust: in either a double boiler or a microwave, melt the chocolate and cream, stirring until shiny and totally smooth.

Now, with all of the components ready, its time to assemble the torte! Spread the chocolate over the surface of the mousse, working somewhat quickly as the cool mousse will chill the ganache and it will firm up, so shape it and smooth things out to your liking before this happens. Its not going to be a 30 second process, but don’t walk away during this process and come back 15 minutes later or something. I left a little space around the crust so that you can see what’s underneath it all.

Then, I drizzled the caramel in a zig-zag on top of the ganache and spread the chopped nuts over that. At this point, things were looking pretty good, and I even had some sunlight for a decent photo. I also had a hungry onlooker who has a nose for peanut butter. He just happened to be coincidentally inching closer when I would be eyeing the camera and not the dessert. No ulterior motives. Just coincidence. Licking his lips to keep them moist, of course.

Give this a little more quality time in the fridge to firm up the top layer before you serve. I decided to squeeze some dollops of creme chantilly around the edges before I did (very easy to make: whip all ingredients in a stand mixer for a few minutes until firmish peaks form), so I grabbed a few more photos.

So finally, cut a slice, taking care not to make a mess of that pretty looking top layer and using some elbow grease to break through the chocolate layer down at the crust level, and dig in!


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25 Responses to “Peanut Butter Torte”

  1. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) Says:

    Peanuts, peanut butter and chocolate — what’s not to love???

  2. Meeta Says:

    WOW! You’ve got me drooling over this mike. It looks great! What a reward after all that work to make this.

  3. Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy Says:

    Wow! You’ve taken a great dessert and made it even more fabulous! I love your little tweaks, especially the caramel sauce. The whole thing looks amazingly decadent!

    I’m so glad I inspired you to make the torte. You did an excellent job with it! :)

  4. Peter Says:

    This sounds fab, Mike. You know what does it for me here? The spices in here…the X-factor for the flavour.

  5. noble pig Says:

    Oh geez it’s beautiful! I really could use that for breakfast Mike. Just love it.

  6. RecipeGirl Says:

    Major droolworthy post!! I might have to stay away from this one until I have a day where I feel like blowing my diet!!

  7. Zenchef Says:

    I love peanut butter!!.. I could devour this in a flash.
    Can you fedex me the leftovers pleaase?

  8. brilynn Says:

    I actually wasn’t a big peanut butter fan as a kid, but I love it now, this looks awesome!

  9. We Are Never Full Says:

    put peanut butter and chocolate together and i’m there. this is like the giant version of a reeces pb cup!

  10. Deb Says:

    Much better than a Reese’ Cup!!!!

  11. Kevin Says:

    That looks so good! I really like the sound of that peanut butter mousse.

  12. Sandie (Inn Cuisine) Says:

    Ahh…so this is what filled up the graham cracker crust. Bravo! Once again, my husband would fall down and kiss my feet if I made this torte for him—the man in crazy about peanuts and peanut butter. Besides, you had me hooked at chocolate ganache.

    Nice job with the photos including the mixer as well. Personally, I think it’s hard to get photos of a mixer (especially a mixer in action) to turn out well. (Did you have to Photoshop these at all?)

  13. Nora Says:

    OMG, this is utterly gorgeous, makes me want to leaving my laptop now and get cranking in the kitchen. the dangerous part is that I have all the ingredients handy….hmmm…. alas, I am off to meet Gordan Ramsay soon (wooo-hooo!_. I am an unashamed Gordan Groupie… :-)

    Have a great weekend, Mike.

    p/s: love your homemade Graham cracker pie crust

  14. pam Says:

    Okay, you are just going to have to come to Tennessee and make this for me. Now.

  15. nina Says:

    My golly, I am in awe of this masterpiece. I will have to read this again and again and again…and then attempt it……

  16. Aparna Says:

    We just love peanuts and peanut butter here, so this is our kinda stuff.
    I’m putting on wieght just looking at the torte. :) :(

  17. Ivy Says:

    Wow, so many things in one recipe and each one is drool worthy. I love all the ingredients you have used and thanks for your clear cut instructions.

  18. White On Rice Couple Says:

    Your hungry onlooker is so handsome! Looks like you have a “live studio audience” too!
    Mike, this chocolate ganache and PB combo is more than drool worthy! What would be the term to describe this? I don’t know, am at a loss for words. I need to look it up in my thesaurus and let you know later….

  19. heather Says:

    wow! chocolate and PB is such a classic, perfect combination! This looks delicious! i love the picture of your whisk with the caramel sauce. and, your pupper looks like he would be so excited if that torte just…ooops… fell on the floor ๐Ÿ˜‰

  20. Jen Says:

    I’m not even sure I can say anything… it just look so good!!!

  21. the caked crusader Says:

    That looks great! And thanks to your graham cracker crust recipe last week I can replicate it exactly!

    I haven’t ever made anything with peanut butter. I’ve printed this off and added it to my rapidly expanding “to bake” list!

  22. grace Says:

    even the slobberiest of all slobbery dogs can’t hold a candle to what that slice of torte is doing to me. good heavens to betsy, what a decadent treat.

  23. aforkfulofspaghetti Says:

    Nooooooooo…… Don’t do it to me!

    Now I’ll just HAVE to make that!

  24. katie Says:

    Will you marry me?
    (mon mari won’t mind… really)

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