Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, mMMMMmmmMMmmmM
So last weekend was my wife's 40th birthday, and in honor of her getting really, really old, I made her this artery clogging chocolate peanut butter pie, topped with whipped cream.
To make this tasty, though thoroughly bad for you, treat, you would need to begin with a graham cracker crust. I bought a box of graham cracker crumbs and added 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1/3 cup of butter. So that's:
1 1/4 cup crumbs
3 Tbls. sugar
1/3 cup butter (or if you must, margarine, but I wouldn't)
Combine dry ingredients and then add melted butter. I found that the mixture was a little dry and crumbled too easily, so next time I go for this type of crust, I will add a little more butter.
Put the making of the crust into the pie dish (I use glass) and MAGIC CRUST POWERS ACTIVATE, FORM OF PIE CRUST!!! (or you could do it the boring way and use your hand to form a crust in the dish) The next step is your choice; you can either refrigerate the newly formed crust, or bake it briefly in the oven at 350 for 8 minutes.
The baked option will cause the sugars to combine some, and the result will be a harder, and slightly chewy crust. It would be chewier if you use brown sugar, but that is a story for another time.
I did the refrigerated version, and it came out pretty good, but it needs to chill for at least an hour before filling, so the butter can reset and become firm.
Next, bottom layer of peanut buttery goodness. You will need:
1 8oz. container of mascarpone cheese
some peanut butter, or a lot of peanut butter, depending on your taste
At this point I started winging the ingredients a bit, which I am likely to do when cooking, so I don't know the exact amounts. In baking, this is a bad habit because exact measures are needed for successful outcomes, but this is not really baked, so fuck it.
I took the container of cheese (here I will say that if you don't have access to mascarpone cheese, cream cheese will do, but I much rather use mascarpone. It tastes like unsweetened whipped cream, and doesn't have that cream cheese taste, but it the same consistence. I find that cream cheese interferes with the taste of other ingredients. Some times it enhances them, some times not. For this, I wanted the peanut butter taste to really stand out, so no cream cheese here) and began whipping it with an electric mixer.
Once I had worked the cheese for a minute or two, I began adding the powdered sugar. I probably used around a half cup to begin with. Try that and see how sweet the cheese is after mixing that in really well. Remember that the end product is very rich, so overly sweet is probably not a good idea. You could add a little bit more if you think it is needed. Then I added the peanut butter.
Now, I use Smuckers organic old fashioned creamy for this application. I usually use the chunky for pb-n-js. I am picky about peanut butter and belong to the camp of people who believe that it should be made out of peanuts, and not much else. The ingredients listed on this jar read:
"Ingredients: Organic Roasted Peanuts, contains 1% or less of salt."
You can use the peanut butter of your choice, and I will refrain from making threats of bodily harm to any who digress from my preferences.
So I added around 1/2 cup to begin with and mixed that in really well, and began whipping the mixture. I tasted it, and decided it needed lots more peanut butter, so I added another like amount. Then I tasted it again and thought it needed a pinch of salt. To add salt to something like this use like a 1/4 teaspoon at a time. That is tsp, not Tbls, remember that. Always add salt in very small amounts. You can always add more, you can never get it back out.
Once I had this nice and whipped up, it was not very light and fluffy, but more dense, I poured/scrapped the mixture into the crust and put back into the fridge to set. I had to smooth it out in the crust to make sure it covered the whole crust relatively evenly.
Now the next layer, the SALMONE MOUSSE! Just kidding, that will cause an appearance of the grim reaper. No, I made and used a chocolate mousse. I actually made more than I needed for the pie, so I had the horrible situation where I had left over mousse in a container that I kept snaking out of over the weekend. But this is how I made it:
2 4oz bars of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate
2 oz of egg yolk
3 oz of egg white
2 oz of butter
2 oz of sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
To begin, yes I did weigh all my ingredients; including the eggs because this is an area where I have found it is better to not wing our amounts. So I set up a double boiler using a large pot and a medium sized metal mixing bowl. Put enough water in the pot so that that bowl floats on the surface, but is still resting into the pot. If the bowl is too large to rest in the pot, use either a wider pot, or a smaller bowl. I recommend using this bowl method over an actual double boiler because you can fold your ingredients together easier in a bowl than a pot.
Heat up the water in the pot on a medium low heat. Put the chocolate in the bowl and place on the pot, melting the chocolate. DO not over heat. Once the chocolate is completely melted, add the butter and melt that. Once the butter is melted, begin adding the egg yolks one at a time. Remove the pot from the heat before you add the egg yolks, but keep the bowl on the pot, keeping the mixture warm. Work each yolk into the chocolate completely before adding another. I used 5 yolks from large eggs to get to 2 oz. Keep the bowl on the pot to keep warm, and begin whipping the egg whites.
I added the vanilla to the unwhipped whites. It took somewhere around 3 to 4 egg whites to get to 3 oz. It was hard to tell. Then with an electric mixer, start whipping the whites until they form soft peaks. In terms of whipping egg white, sort peaks are where you can create a ridge in the white with the mixer, but not a peak, and the top of the ridge is fairly rounded. Add the sugar at this point and then keep whipping until you form stiff peaks. The whites get a glossy look at this point, and you can really form peaks with them, they are very stiff.
Remove the bowl from the pot, it should be fairly warm. You want to add the egg whites to warm chocolate because it will help to firm the whipped whites, slightly cooking the protein in them. When adding whipped cream, the exact opposite is true, and it will loose its stiffness and volume when added to a warm mixture.
Begin folding the whites into the chocolate. Take a large scoop of them with a rubber scrapper (spatula), and then take the scrapper and run it about 1/3 way around the side of the bowl, and then lift and fold into the center. Repeat this until the whites are mixed in, and continue until all the egg whites are added. If you get small lumps of white, break them up gently and continue to fold mixture until smooth. Now this should have released most of the warmth form the chocolate, and it should be at a better temp for the whipped cream.
Take the whipping cream (heavy or not) and add around 2 Tbls of powdered sugar and a Tbls of vanilla. I threw in an oz. or so of rum to enhance the flavor a tad. Anyone who is avoiding alcohol can of course skip this. Then whip the cream, by hand or with a mixer, until the cream is creating soft peaks, much like the eggs did. Then add the cream into the mixture using the same folding method described above. Once everything is mixed smooth, pour the mixture over the peanut butter base until completely covered. This is fairly thick and can stick up over the top of the crust a little, but not too much. Put into the fridge to cool.
For the topping layer, whip more cream following the directions above, use the same amounts, but this time whip until stiff peaks form, but do not over whip, the cream will break if over whipped.
I piped mine on with a bag and star tip, but if you don't have one, you could just spread it over the chilled mousse. At this point you age good to go. Simple right? You will have a decent amount of mousse left over; just chill it in a container and snack when nobody is looking. You made it, you have earned the right.
So have fun and don't the complexity scare you. I love making difficult stuff and having it come out awesome. This mousse also goes very well for a mousse cake I make once in a while.
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science." - Albert Einstein