Today is reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club* and I have a real fun recipe for you guys. This month I was assigned the “Make Myself at Home” blog written by Catherine. She is a stay-at-home mom who loves to bake, take photos, and design kid-friendly recipes for her adorable toddler, Angelina. She writes about her life in the Tampa Bay area as a mom, crafter, adventurous cook, and dreams of one day attending culinary school on her quest to find her inner domestic goddess. I wish her luck and know she will be successful in whatever direction life takes her.
When we are assigned our blogs, I immediately pop over to see their site. I had the instant recognition of a kindred soul when I saw her photo of her Converse sneakers … I live in mine! This was going to be a fun adventure.
It didn’t take me long to narrow down my recipe options – Catherine had written a piece in honor of National Pi Day (http://makemyselfathome.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/happy-pi-day/) that I knew all of you would love. A luscious peanut butter pie lightened with whipped cream so it is more like a mousse is accented with a chocolate topping. It is like a peanut butter cup on steroids!
But of course I can never leave a recipe completely as is, especially if there is a way to add more chocolate! So I am giving you several options to choose from. You can make it as simple or as fancy as you like. Remember to use the highest quality ingredients you can find and afford. When you are making a simple recipe with few ingredients, the quality needs to be extra high.
The first option you have it to make the pie with either a graham cracker crust or one made with chocolate wafer cookies. I like them both, but for Chocolate Monday you can guess which one I chose, LOL. If you can’t find chocolate wafer cookies you can make your own using this recipe or use Oreo cookies and scrape out the filling.
Then I added another layer of chocolate, this time a ganache that you can spread into the baked and cooled crust before you add the peanut butter filling. If you want you can make this with either dark or white chocolate, I think they both would be absolutely delicious. When chilled it is like a fudge layer that will thrill all chocoholics.
I have given you three options for topping the pie. You can swirl a little chocolate in for a marbled effect that is beautiful when sliced. You can chill the filling to firm it up, spread on a layer of melted chocolate and sprinkle the top with chopped peanuts. Or you can drizzle the top with the melted chocolate and sprinkle with chopped nuts and mini chocolate chips. No matter how you choose to finish the pie, it will be a hit at any party.
Please take a look at Catherine’s blog, Make Myself at Home. I know you will enjoy her stories, recipes, photography, craft projects and overall love of life.
Happy Chocolate Monday everyone!
* I belong to a fun group of bloggers called The Secret Recipe Club. Each month we are assigned another member’s blog and we can choose any recipe from it that sounds like fun to make. We don’t reveal which blog we were given or what we are making from it. Then on a specific day we all post our recipes. It is fun to see which recipe was chosen and how other people have interpreted it. If you have been in a cooking rut, this in a terrific way to stretch your culinary horizons. If you are interested in joining click here for more information.
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
If you choose to marble the pie with the chocolate (topping option 1) remember that less is more. Make a decorative but simple design on the top of the pie and using a table knife, skewer, or even your finger (clean of course), swirl it through the filling, a quick squiggle in one direction and then another in the opposite direction. If you do any more than this the pie will look muddy instead of marbled.
Kitchen Skill: How to Cut a Cream Pie or Cake
When you try to cut creamy pies and cakes (think cheesecake for example) you know how difficult it can be to get clean slices. The pros have a tried and true method that you will love.
Fill a tall container or pre-heated thermos with boiling water. Use a long, very sharp straight-edge knife. Dip it in the water, wipe it off with a towel and make your first slice. Dip the knife again, wipe it and make your second cut. Dip it again and make a third cut – this will make it easier to remove the first piece! Keep dipping and slicing until the entire cake is cut. Then use a pie or cake server to transfer the slices to your serving plates.
- 1/3 cup butter (do not use margarine)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1-1/4 cups finely crushed graham crackers or chocolate wafer cookies
- Chocolate Ganache Layer (optional)
- 1-1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
- 8 oz good-quality semisweet or white chocolate, chopped finely
- Peanut Butter Filling
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 2 tbsp sifted powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 to 2 tbsp milk
- About 1 cup coarsely chopped lightly salted peanuts
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Make Crust: Melt the butter in a heatproof bowl in the microwave and stir in the sugar. Add the graham crackers; toss to mix well. Spread evenly in a 9-inch springform pan or pie plate. Press onto bottom and sides to form an even crust.
- Bake for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the edge of the crust is slightly browned. If you are using a chocolate crust, be careful not to overbake and burn it. Cool on wire rack before filling.
- Make Ganache: (optional) Heat cream over medium heat until just below the boiling point. Look for small bubbles forming around the edges of the pan.
- Meanwhile, place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and set aside for about 1 minute to soften. Stir gently with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until completely smooth. Do not use a whisk because you do not want to introduce any more air than necessary. If you need to, you can place the bowl over a saucepan with simmering water in it to finish melting the chocolate pieces.
- Set aside to cool slightly and then pour into the cooled crust. Set in the refrigerator to firm up while you make the peanut butter filling.
- Make the Peanut Butter Filling: Chill a medium mixing bowl and beaters (or use an immersion blender) for the whipped cream.
- In another bowl beat cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Add the 1 cup powdered sugar, milk and vanilla; beat until combined.
- In the chilled mixing bowl beat whipping cream and the 2 tbsp powdered sugar until soft peaks form (mixture will form a peak when beaters are lifted, but they will collapse fairly quickly). Gently fold about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture until completely incorporated. Fold in remaining whipped cream until smooth and no streak remain.
- Spoon peanut butter filling over the ganache layer (if using) and smooth top. If you are using Topping Option 1, swirl it in now.
- If you are using Topping Options 2 and 3, cover and chill about 2 hours or until set.
- Make the Topping: Melt chocolate chips with 1 tbsp milk. Add more milk as needed for a spreadable consistency.
- Yield: about 8 servings
- Topping Option 1: Drizzle a little of the chocolate over the top and swirl it in for a marbled look. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or until completely set. You can drizzle any remaining chocolate over the top if desired.
- Topping Option 2: Gently spread melted chocolate over the top of the chilled pie and sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Return to the refrigerator and chill until set.
- Topping Option 3: Chill the pie and drizzle the chocolate over the top in a decorative pattern. You can sprinkle a few chocolate chips among the peanuts as well.
- Make Ahead: You can assemble this pie up to a day ahead. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Set on the counter for about 20 minutes before serving.