It's strange how tastes evolve over time, isn't it? I've mentioned this before, but I used to loathe chocolate. I'm actually cracking up as I type that, so comical is the concept to me now... Well, another thing I couldn't stand was peanut butter. Actually, pizza too. I know, what kind of child was I?! To give you a hint, my favorite food was (and still is, actually) broccoli. Steamed. With olive oil and salt. Anyway, we're not talking about broccoli here, we're talking about a tart. A tart that contains two ingredients I would never have eaten 15 years ago, and that would have been a shame, because it is divine.
For his birthday (which was yesterday), my favorite uncle requested a chocolate-peanut butter tart. I knew I wanted it to be rich, and that chocolate needed to be the dominant flavor. One of my all-time favorite desserts is a truffle tart - basically ganache in a cookie crust - so I decided to do a riff on that concept.
For the crust, I wanted something similar to a cookie crust in texture, but not as sweet, so I came up with this one. It was perfect.
For the filling, I made a basic ganache with semisweet chocolate and poured it over a layer of thinned peanut butter that was spread on the crust.
The dessert was a huge hit. Many of my family members put it in their top 5 desserts I've made.
I should mention that my tart used to have a beautiful, smooth, shiny surface. We had my uncle's birthday lunch at his favorite restaurant, and I took the tart there for everyone to enjoy after our meal. After everyone had had a slice (or two) and the leftovers were packed up to go home with people, there was one perfect slice left that I was saving to photograph. As we were walking in the house, my husband dropped the tart pan (containing my one perfect slice) on the floor. It was smooshed. It was dented. The crust was cracked. It was no longer smooth and shiny. It was a mess. I salvaged it as best I could, and hacked up the top of it, trying to mask the damage. It certainly looks better in the photos than it did immediately after its accident, but it was a lot prettier and more sophisticated before it...
Peanut Butter Truffle Tart
Whole Wheat Chocolate No-Roll Crust
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon unbleached white flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons butter cut into small pieces and frozen
4 tablespoons ghee, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons cold heavy cream
In a medium sized bowl, combine flours, cocoa powder, salt, sugar and baking powder. Set aside. Add cream cheese and butter and using a pastry blender, cut them in until well incorporated and there are butter bits of various sizes, though none terribly large. Combine heavy cream and ghee and add a little at a time to the flour mixture, tossing with your fingers as you add it. When all of the liquid has been added, use your hands to squeeze all of the ingredients to form a dough. It is okay if it is crumbly, though you want to make sure all of the dry ingredients have been moistened. Dump dough into well-buttered 9" tart pan with a removable bottom (or a 9" pie pan), and press in evenly. Place crust in freezer for at least 30 minutes, and preheat oven to 375. To blind bake, press a piece of aluminum foil over the crust and bake covered for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15, or until crust feels slightly firm to the touch. Let crust cool completely before filling.
1/3 cup peanut butter
3+ tablespoons heavy cream
8 ounces best quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Combine peanut butter with cream 1 tablespoon at a time, until peanut butter is still thick, but easily spreadable. The thicker your peanut butter is to begin with, the more cream you'll need. I use fresh ground organic peanut butter that I grind at the health food store, so it is rather thick. When peanut butter is the appropriate consistency, spread it across the bottom of your tart crust.
Place chopped chocolate in heatproof bowl. Bring cream to a boil, then pour over chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then stir until chocolate is smooth. Stir in butter. Pour over peanut butter layer, and smooth with a spatula. Place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour to set the ganache. Remove from fridge at least 30 minutes before serving to bring to room temperature.