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Food Network Favorites: Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pie

From the Food Network's own kitchens, this recipe from Food Network Favorites is decadent and delicious. The instructions, however, contain one very large oversight.

I didn't have any trouble with the recipe, (although I have modified it for clarity and I did have to make a very important change, see below) and the pie came out looking almost exactly like the photo in the book. The top layer of chocolate whipped cream was a bit different from the picture: in the book, the whipped cream still looks white, with flecks of chocolate in it. My whipped cream and chocolate blended together a bit too well, perhaps, since it was a uniform brown chocolate color. Next time, I'll cool the chocolate a bit more before folding it into the whipped cream. That may lead to a more flecked appearance. There definitely will be a next time; this is an outstanding dessert that peanut-butter-and-chocolate lovers will really enjoy.

For clarity, I have modified the way the ingredients list is set up, separating out the ganache which covers the crust into its own category instead of leaving it with the crust ingredients, as it appears in the book. In a really egregious oversight, the original recipe merely says to melt the chocolate together with the heavy cream in the microwave. Adding a small amount of cold liquid to melting chocolate can cause the chocolate to seize. This would be an extremely frustrating turn of events, and could even cause the cook at home to have to throw out an expensive 6 ounces of chocolate. Preheating the cream eliminates this risk, and is such a simple step, I can't believe that the Food Network's recipe wasn't written to avoid a potential big problem. I have made the necessary changes in the recipe below.

Prep Time: 45 minutes, plus about 4 hours cooling time
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

1 1/4 cups dry-roasted salted peanuts
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Pinch ground cloves
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup heavy cream
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate

1 1/2 cups milk (whole or 2%; do not use skim)
2 large eggs
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
Pinch fine salt
4 oz. cream cheese, cut into pieces
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 Tbsp confectioner's sugar

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pulse the peanuts, granulated sugar, and cloves in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse sand. Pulse in the butter. Press the nut mixture evenly over the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with the bottom of a drinking glass. Bake until set, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

For the ganache: Heat the heavy cream in the microwave until it is hot to the touch but not boiling. Add the chocolate and melt at low power, stopping every 30 seconds and stirring well, until smooth. Smooth the ganache over the peanut crust. Freeze the crust while making the filling.

For the filling: Whisk the milk, eggs, confectioner's sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Once boiling, the pudding should thicken almost instantly. As soon as the texture is like mayonnaise, remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Whisk in the cream cheese, peanut butter, and vanilla. Spread evenly over the ganache and refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours, or overnight.

For the topping: Melt the chocolate in the microwave on low power, stopping every 30 seconds to stir, until smooth. Cool the chocolate until just barely warm. Whip the cream with the confectioner's sugar until it holds soft peaks (do not overwhip; folding the chocolate into the cream and spreading the cream onto the pie will help to stiffen the cream). Stir a large spoonful of the cream into the melted chocolate, then fold all of the chocolate into the cream. Remove the sides of the pan from the pie (run a knife around the sides first if the pie looks like it is sticking) and spread the topping onto the pie with an offset spatula. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving.



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