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~ Treat Yourself to a Slice of Peanut Butter Cup Pie + (How to: Make a chocolate cookie crust & ganache!)~

IMG_4447Tonight is trick-or-treat night and in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, in all honesty, I completely forgot about Halloween.  Living where we do, we get very few (if any) ghosts, goblins, skeletons, witches, superheros or fairy princesses ringing our doorbell.  Nonetheless, I always have one bag of candy on hand in the event we do get one or two treat seekers.  In fact, there's more than a few packages of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in my freezer because no one came to our door for Halloween last year, or the year before that, either!

IMG_4380Next to the Tootsie Roll, the Kit Kat and the Mr. Goodbar, when I was a kid, these peanut butter and chocolate candies were one of my favorite trick-or-treat night choices! 

When I saw this recipe yesterday over on the Serious Eats website (, my heart went pitter pat.  If you've never checked out their site, it is like a ticker-tape for foodies.  "Almost" every recipe they publish is tested, tasted and approved by their staff!

This Peanut Butter Cup Pie recipe was submitted by Lauren Weisenthal.  She's a graduate of the Artisan Bread Baking & Pastry Arts programs of the French Culinary Institute, and, works in restaurant kitchens and bakeries in both Brooklyn and Manhattan.  I just HAD to make this today!














1  9-ounce box chocolate wafer cookies

3  ounces salted butter (6 tablespoons), melted and cooled (Note from Mel:  Lauren's recipe called for "3 tablespoons of butter", and, instructs to "chill the crust for 20 minutes" without baking it, prior to filling it.  Having done that, I am here to tell you:  it does not work.  The crust is: crummy and falls apart.  I'm thinking it was a typo in her recipe (or the one Serious Eats published), and, it should have read 3 ounces of butter (6 tablespoons).  There is a chance that amount of butter would result in a firm crust without baking it, but, I wasn't going to risk another crust failure today. I'm using and posting my own chocolate cookie crust recipe.  You can thank me later!)

10  ounces heavy cream (1 1/4 cups total), divided in half (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons & 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons)

8  ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

4  ounces confectioners' sugar (1 cup)

1/2  teaspoon salt

12 ounces creamy peanut butter (1 1/2 cups) (Note:  Do not use "natural" peanut butter that requires mixing before use.)

5  ounces dark (semi-sweet) chocolate, the best available, chopped into fine pieces

IMG_4365 IMG_4362~ Step 1.  In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the chocolate wafers to crumbs, about 15 rapid on-off pulses followed by 15 seconds of processing.

~ Step 2.  With motor running, in a thin stream, add the butter through the feed tube and continue to process until the crumbs are evenly coated in butter, about 15 seconds.

IMG_4372 IMG_4369~ Step 3. Using a large rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the processor bowl and transfer the crumbs to a 10" pie dish.  Using your fingertips and the heal of your hand (or the flat bottom of a measuring-type cup), pat and press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pie dish.  Check to see that the crust isn't too thick or too thin in any spots.  Bake on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven for about 6-8 minutes, or, until firm to the touch and fragrant.  Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool to room temperature.  Crust can be prepared one day in advance.

IMG_4391 IMG_4389~ Step 4.  In a medium mixing bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks form, about 1 minute.  Place in the refrigerator.

~ Step 5.  In a large mixing bowl, with mixer on medium, blend the cream cheese, sugar and salt until smooth.  Add the peanut butter.

IMG_4399Step 6.  With mixer on medium speed, blend the peanut butter into the mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl with the spatula, until mixture is smooth and uniform in color.

IMG_4404~ Step 7. Add the whipped cream and blend again, until  the mixture is thoroughly combined.

IMG_4412 IMG_4409~ Step 8. Transfer the mixture to the chilled pie shell. Using an offset spatula (or just a small metal spatula, the kind you would use to frost a cake), distribute the mixture evenly in and around the pie shell, smoothing the top as best you can.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, 2 hours is better.

IMG_4425 IMG_4417~ Step 9. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a small heatproof bowl.

~ Step 10.  In a small saucepan (or in the microwave), heat the remaining cream until steaming. Do not simmer or boil.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, set aside for 2 minutes.

IMG_4428 IMG_4426~ Step 11. Using a small whisk or an ordinary tablespoon, vigorously whisk (stir), until all of the cream is drawn into the chocolate and the mixture is smooth, uniform in color and shiny.

Note:  Culinarily this chocolate and cream mixture is referred to as ganache!

IMG_4430~ Step 12.  Pour the ganache over the top of the chilled pie, using a rubber spatula to scrape every last drop of ooey-gooey chocolatey goodness out of the bowl. 

IMG_4435~ Step 13. Lift up the pie dish and tilt it around to evenly distribute the ganache over the top. Return pie to refrigerator for 1-2 more hours, then, slice and eat: 

IMG_4450Treat Yourself to a Slice of Peanut Butter Cup Pie + (How to:  Make a chocolate cookie crust & ganache!):  Recipe yields 16 servings.

Special Equipment List:  food processor; large rubber spatula; 10" pie dish; cooling rack; hand-held electric mixer; metal offset spatula or small metal spatula (the kind you would frost a cake with); cutting board; chef's knife; 1-quart saucepan; small whisk or an ordinary tablespoon

IMG_4470Cook's Note:  In the event you want to make this pie ahead of time and freeze it, trust me when I say:  This pie keeps in the freezer for 3-4 days, and, without thawing, slices easily and perfectly.  In fact, I like it even better sliced and served frozen.  I could not help but take this picture, just as I took a forkful right out of my freezer drawer! Frozen peanut butter cup pie?  You betcha!

6a0120a8551282970b015436899d11970c-800wiExtra Cook's Note:  Looking for a tasty and spooky main-dish idea for Halloween? Check out ~ A Halloween How to:  Making a Spooky Spider Web Design on top of Soup using Creme Fraiche ~, in Categories 11, or 15!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)


Marilyn! Thank-you for another great comment! It is a fun site. I visit several similar blogs every day, just to keep a pulse on what's going on "out there". I also think it's REALLY important that people realize I write a blog of extreme integrity -- if I use someone else's recipe, I give credit where credit is due!!!

Melanie, thanks for the link to then"serious eats" website. You truly are a woman of your word, and share everything!

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