Today’s blog goes out to one of my dearest friends!
I had lived in Colorado for 10 years, just purchased my first home, had a wonderful circle of friends and a great job when … I went on a business trip and met the man of my dreams. Months later, he brought me to his home town of Richmond, VA for the weekend. We went to dinner with another couple, little did I know that the wife of that couple was going to be such an important part of my life. I’ll call her Slim … because with me having 29 followers I don’t want the Paparazzi following her like they NOW follow me!
Over the years, Slim guided me through the difficult transition into a new city, life in suburbia, marriage, children and decorating. (One day, one of her homes WILL be in a magazine!) She is always willing to listen, encourage and offer amazing advice. I am lucky to have her as a friend! We have had some really fun times over the years …
Mise En Place: Find the full recipe at …http://www.the-baker-chick.com/2011/04/peanut-butter-chocolate-tart-with.html
I start the crust by putting the pretzels into my stand mixer. I turn the mixer on low to break the pretzels down into smaller pieces. Next, I add a stick of softened butter and the confection sugar, mixing until creamy. Then I add the flour, egg and combine. I add a few more pretzels, because I didn’t fully read the directions 😦 … (Only use 3/4 cup of pretzels to start and then add the remaining 1/2 cup at the end.)
I use a rubber spatula to scoop out the crust and place it on a large piece of parchment paper. I put another piece of parchment paper on top and chill the dough in the fridge for at least 30 mins.
I decide to use a 9×4 inch tart pan with removable bottom. I had used it before and like the presentation. I take the pretzel dough out of the fridge and keeping it in between the parchment paper, I roll it out, (between the parchment paper) to fit the size of the tart pan. Next, I invert it and position it in the tart pan, remove any excess dough and chill for another 30 minutes. Next time, I will work a little faster as the dough did soften up rather quickly and I had to put everything back in the fridge because it was too sticky to pull off the parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350.
While the dough is chilling, I work on the two fillings, peanut butter and chocolate. I’ll start with the chocolate ganache. I finely chop 3 0z of 60% bittersweet chocolate into a small bowl then add 1/2 cup hot heavy cream, stirring quickly to combine. Once combined, I put this bowl over a larger bowl filled with some ice and stir until it thickens. (You could use a double boiler or the Bain Marie for this too. I also think that you could put the warm chocolate in the fridge for 5 minutes to cool as well instead of using the ice.)
Next up, the peanut butter filling. My brother-in-law, Dave, works for Heinz. He is always generous in sending our family “care packages” from them! Voila … little peanut butter cups!
Using a food processor, I combine the Heinz creamy peanut butter, sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese. I pulse until smooth. (I brought out my big food processor, but next time will use the smaller one or even a hand mixer) In my stand mixer, I whip 3/4 cup of heavy cream to soft peaks and then gently fold in the peanut butter mixture using a rubber spatula Set aside in fridge.
My dough for the crust is chilled by now so let’s bake it! Two years ago I bought ceramic pie weights … they have sat in a drawer since then. Today I brought them out! (You can use dry beans too.) I place parchment paper over the dough, pour the weights into the tart pan and bake for about 30 minutes on 350. Then I remove the weights by lifting the parchment paper, and then I cover the outside of the crust with foil so it doesn’t burn when the crust goes back in the oven. (The bottom of the crust doesn’t bake because of the weights.)
I place the tart pan back in the oven for 10 minutes to bake the bottom of the crust. Cool for 10 minutes. Lastly, I melt 3 oz of dark chocolate. Using a brush I paint the top of the cooled pretzel crust covering it completely with the melted chocolate. Let it set in the fridge for 10 minutes. This helps keep the crust crunchy.
Assembly: I spread the cooled chocolate ganache into the crust, using an offset spatula to get into each crevice of the tart pan. I then chill in the fridge for 10 minutes to set.
I use this time to make some chocolate curls for decoration on top. I had done this once before and it was a nightmare. This time it was really easy. I put four squares of dark chocolate into the microwave (separately) for 30 seconds and then use a vegetable peeler to make several curls. (I put these in the fridge to save for a garnish) Next, I add the peanut butter mousse over top of the ganache. YUM!
I cover the tart with plastic wrap so the mousse doesn’t take on any odors in the fridge and let it set overnight.
Serve: 10 minutes before serving I transfer the tart to a serving platter and sprinkle with the chocolate curls. (You could also add some dollops of fresh whipping cream.)
Slim, thank you for being such a wonderful friend! Maybe we should get together this week after we eat this and go for a long walk … or a RUN!
Bake On Darling!
PS: Slim, of course I would BLOG about this one … too pretty to let it pass up.