Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Ganache

I got this recipe from a dear family friend who I think might be trying to kill us. This pie is a towering monument to peanut butter in its most decadent form: rich, fluffy mousse dotted with chopped roasted peanuts and topped with a dark, intense chocolate ganache. The original recipe was written, presumably, by demons:

“Lies” is because you put 1/4c peanut butter in the crust and 3/4c in the pie, but SOME of us measured out a whole cup all together and are still mad about it. The green arrow is because how do you whip cream before you measure it. Tell me how.

This is an all-killer no-filler situation. There are no eggs or flour, no fig leaf of pretense that this is anything other than a full whipped-cream fantasy tethered just barely to this plane of reality by cream cheese and a prayer. This dream team of creams came here to make your tastebuds an offer they can’t refuse, when you were just trying to have a peaceful, relaxing afternoon in the steam room/at the bocce courts/wherever old mob guys hang out nowadays.

This recipe creates a substance whose ideal unit of consumption is the finger-swipe, and I’m giving you three ways to make it because most of us are not strong enough to absorb it in larger quantities, as its original form dictates. If you dive straight into what would usually be a normal slice of pie it’ll melt your face right off like the Ark of the Covenant. But, I don’t know, maybe some of you are into that.

Behind door number one is a Recipe for Pie as originally intended. It’s the simplest and quickest way to go, and also the most likely to make you say “is my heart supposed to be able to beat this fast? Is this how it all ends? Is that Elvis I can see at the end of this tunnel?”

Behind door number two is God’s Perfect Peanut Butter Cup. This is the Platonic ideal of a pudding cup, silky and unctuous and delicious frozen, room-temperature, or any of the temperatures in between. Freezing takes the sweetness down a notch, and I find individual cups to be a more achievable portion size. If you don’t have ramekins, make the pie in a square or rectangular pan that will fit in your freezer, and slice into bite-size squares once frozen.

Behind door number three are the Frozen Peanut Butter Truffles. I tried freezing the mousse in an ice-cube tray (buy some silicone molds for this. RIP Second Ice Cube Tray, you were the best) to make little peanut nugs which were delicious but very ugly. The idea was to then cover them in chocolate ganache and oreo crumbs, but the chocolate falls off the frozen cream like a cape off of James Brown unless you roll the nugs in crushed peanuts first, which is how you end up with a scene like this:

No! No ganache.
Whatever.

Long story short, only a demented person would do this. I dunked four nugs before I completely lost the will to live. I’ll be over here with my sack of perfectly ugly truffle nugs, and if you can figure out how to make these in a way that looks nice, our operators are standing by. Either way, you, too, could have the kind of lifestyle where you have a Ziploc bag of frozen snickers bites at your disposal 24/7, or for as long as you can make them last.

It’s fine. They’re fine.

So, the 3 ways are dependent on how hardcore you are and the amount of messing around you’re willing to do once things have reached the “edible” stage. I’m a fan of door number two. Just a little extra work makes this a dessert that is not only deeply satisfying but honestly pretty much irresistible. When I first tested this recipe last week I had no idea how a household of two was going to eat it all. As of today, there are… substantially fewer peanut butter cups in the freezer. Fair warning, I miss her already.

Peanut Butter Pie

Ingredients:

For the crust:

25 oreo cookies

4 tablespoons melted butter

For the mousse:

1 cup smooth peanut butter

1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature

1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup milk (OR NOT?)

¼ cup chopped roasted salted peanuts

2 cups heavy cream, whipped with 3 tbsp sugar until thick, to make 4 cups whipped cream

For the ganache:

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream (130g)

4 oz 60% dark chocolate (130g)

For the topping:

½ cup chopped roasted salted peanuts

More whipped cream if you wanted, I guess, you animal

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Blitz your oreos to fine crumbs in a food processor, or put them in a plastic Ziploc bag and beat the crap out of them with a rolling pin
  3. In a bowl combine the oreo crumbs and butter, then press into a 9-inch pie pan, springform, or Pyrex.
  4. Bake until set, about 8 minutes, then take out and cool completely.
  5. If you skipped the above 4 steps and just bought an oreo crust from the store, no one would judge you.
  6. While crust is cooling, whip your cream and sweeten with 3 tbsp sugar, cover with plastic wrap and leave to chill in fridge until you need it. Also don’t forget to chop your nuts.
  7. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with powdered sugar until smooth.
  8. Add the remaining peanut butter. Beat until smooth.
  9. It should feel smooth but spreadable, like room-temperature Nutella. If mixture is too stiff, add milk by the tablespoon to loosen (up to 1/3c).
  10. Add chopped roasted peanuts and beat well.
  11. Fold 4 cups of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture and spoon into the prepared pan.
  12. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. 2 HOURS? WHO HAS THAT KIND OF TIME. WHILE IT’S COOLING, MAKE YOUR GANACHE.
  13. Measure 2/3c heavy whipping cream into a saucepan and heat gently, until warm. Doesn’t need to boil or steam, just needs to be hot enough to melt chocolate.
  14. Add broken up dark chocolate to cream and whisk together to get chocolate to melt. If it needs helping along put it back on the heat while you whisk, but the residual heat from the cream should do it.
  15. Remove pie from fridge, and either A. top with warm ganache and chopped peanuts, chill again until set, and serve, or B. top with chopped peanuts and serve with warm ganache alongside.

Perfect Peanut Butter Cups

Ingredients:

For the crust:

25 oreo cookies

4 tablespoons melted butter

OR

Just the cookies (see below)

For the mousse:

1 cup smooth peanut butter

1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature

1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

3/4 cup chopped salted roasted peanuts

2 cups heavy cream, whipped with 3 tbsp sugar until thick, to make 4 cups whipped cream

For the ganache:

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream (130g)

4 oz 60% dark chocolate (130g)

Method:

  1. For sliced bars, follow crust instructions from pie recipe, above
  2. For pudding cups, forget making a crust and simply generously coat the bottoms of six bajillion ramekins with oreo dust.
  3. While crust is cooling, whip your cream and sweeten with 3 tbsp sugar, cover with plastic wrap and leave to chill in fridge until you need it. Also don’t forget to chop your nuts.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with powdered sugar until smooth.
  5. Add the remaining peanut butter. Beat until smooth.
  6. It should feel smooth but spreadable, like room-temperature Nutella. If mixture is too stiff, add milk by the tablespoon to loosen (up to 1/3c).
  7. Add all chopped peanuts and beat well.
  8. Fold 4 cups of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture and spoon into the prepared ramekins.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you make ganache.
  10. Measure 2/3c heavy whipping cream into a saucepan and heat gently, until warm. Doesn’t need to boil or steam, just needs to be hot enough to melt chocolate.
  11. Add broken up dark chocolate to cream and whisk together to get chocolate to melt. If it needs helping along put it back on the heat while you whisk, but the residual heat from the cream should do it.
  12. For individual cups: Remove cups from fridge, and top with ganache to form a chocolate lid; Cover cups with plastic wrap and freeze until set.
  13. For bars: remove pan from fridge and top with ganache to form a chocolate lid, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until set. When frozen, slice into 1-inch squares, or just hack into it, you do you.

Peanut Butter Truffles

Ingredients:

For the coating:

25 oreo cookies

4 oz 60% dark chocolate (130g)

½ cup chopped roasted salted peanuts

For the mousse:

1 cup smooth peanut butter

1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature

1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

¼ cup chopped roasted salted peanuts

2 cups heavy cream, whipped with 3 tbsp sugar until thick, to make 4 cups whipped cream

Method:

  1. Crush your oreo bits and set aside for later
  2. Chop your peanuts and set aside for later
  3. Whip your cream and sweeten with 3 tbsp sugar, cover with plastic wrap and leave to chill in fridge until you need it.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with powdered sugar until smooth.
  5. Add the remaining peanut butter and chopped roasted peanuts. Beat until smooth.
  6. Fold 4 cups of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture and spoon into the prepared silicon molds/greased ice cube trays.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you make ganache.
  8. Measure 2/3c heavy whipping cream into a saucepan and heat gently, until warm. Doesn’t need to boil or steam, just needs to be hot enough to melt chocolate.
  9. Add broken up dark chocolate to cream and whisk together to get chocolate to melt. If it needs helping along put it back on the heat while you whisk, but the residual heat from the cream should do it.
  10. When nugs are frozen, pop them out of their molds onto a tray or plate, stab with fork and dip into ganache to coat, then roll in oreo crumbs, chopped salted peanuts, or both. Freeze on plate until set, then remove to plastic bag in freezer to store (so they don’t stick together.)

HOW TO FOLD

“What is folding”, I hear you ask, “and why should I care?” Excellent question. When you beat a bunch of air into stuff, like whipped cream, you have to try to maintain the fluffiness while mixing in other stuff, like peanut butter. If you stir too hard, you’ll knock the air out. Lift the lighter stuff (whipped cream) onto the heavy stuff (peanut butter mixture), then, using a metal spoon, draw a vertical line down the center of your bowl, through both stuffs, and gently lift a scoopful of the heavy stuff onto the lighter stuff. Give the bowl a quarter turn and draw another vertical line, lift another scoop. Keep doing this until everything has incorporated into each other, and don’t worry too much about if you’re doing it right. It’ll be fine. Back to recipes.

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