Thursday, November 26, 2009

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Torte

For days Adrian was craving for peanut butter and Nutella. I thought I would make a Thanksgiving dessert with peanut butter and chocolate that will "wow" him. And so I decided to make this cheesecake torte with combination of a peanut butter mousse filling and Oreo crust. Unfortunately he told me he thought Oreo was disgusting. Granted Oreo isn't the best food in the world. Neither is it the most healthy thing on the supermarket shelf. But is Nutella? So I decided to go ahead with my plan and vouched to make him begging for more.

Thrice during the making of this torte I encountered ingredients problem: first, the springform pan was broken. Then I forgot to buy Oreo - the single most important ingredient for the crust. For the first time in my life I was thankful for 7-11. The next day when it was ready for the chocolate ganache, I ran out of cream. My foodie Indian neighbor came to rescue. If I were the least superstitious, I may have given up on this recipe. However the taste testing during the making told me to never turn back. At first glance this recipe may seem time consuming and overwhelming. However it is really easy and fun to make.

I used to bake cheesecakes, nothing else but cheesecakes, lots and lots of them. It's been years since I made them. This torte is most likely the best cheesecake I've ever made. After having a slice of it, Adrian and I looked at each other: we both knew the other person wanted more. Adrian even asked what happened if he finished the whole cake. I wouldn't have allowed that to happen without having a share of it, I said.

This recipe is unlikely to make it to the "top healthy foods you must eat before you die" list. It's a Thanksgiving treat for the fat boy/ girl in all of us.


For the crust:

  • 32 Oreo cookies, finely processed into crumbs
  • 5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Small pinch of salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 150C. Lightly grease a 9" springform pan.
  2. Mix cookies crumbs with melted butter and salt. Toss to blend well.
  3. Press the crust mixture into the base and side of springform pan. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

For the crunch:

  • 1 1/4 cups salted peanuts, finely chopped, divided (for the filling, crunch and topping)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp. natural cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. espresso powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  1. Mix 1/2 cup chopped peanuts, chocolate chips, sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon and nutmeg together and set aside.

For the torte filling:

  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups natural creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp. whole milk
  1. Beat cream with sugar until medium peak is form. Keep it in refrigerator until ready to sue.
  2. Beat soften cream cheese until smooth. Add peanut butter, milk and 1/4 cup chopped peanuts. Beat to combine.
  3. Using a spatula, fold in 1/4 chilled cream mixture to lighten the mousse. Then add the crunch and the rest of the cream mixture to the cream cheese mixture. Mix well with spatula.
  4. Pour this mousse over the crust. Mounding and smoothing the top with the back of a spoon. Keep it in refrigerator for overnight (or at least 4 hours). Keep it covered once it's firm.

For the ganache topping:
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

  1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Put chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over the saucepan. Let the chocolate soften and just beginning to melt. Remove from heat.
  2. Bring the cream to a boil.
  3. Gently fold cream to the melted chocolate. Using a spatula, swirl to blend until the ganache is smooth.
  4. Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing with a metal spoon. Sprinkle the top with the remaining chopped peanut butter. Let it chill for at least 20 minutes or until the ganache is firm. Remove from the springform pan and keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

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