Sunday, March 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie

My sister-in-law loves Peanut Butter Pie, so I went on a quest to find the most appetizing looking PB pie recipe.  I found this one:  I chose this recipe because the "crust" was made of brownie and chocolate and peanut butter are perfect together. 

This was the first time I made a brownie from scratch.  Why you ask?  Well, brownie mix just always seemed easier and I never had a brownie made from scratch that actually tasted good, they are usually dry.  This brownie is a very nice combination of moist and chewy as a brownie should be.  It is also nice and chocolaty.  The recipe called for 4 oz of dark chocolate.  I just used a Special Dark Hershey bar.  It worked just fine and Matt ate the leftover chocolate ;)

I was a little intimidated by the peanut butter part of the pie because of "rules" you had to follow in order to keep the mousse from deflating.  The recipe calls for very/extremely cold whipping cream, I just used refrigerated whipping cream and it seemed to work great.  I folded it in gently as per the instructions and put it in a quart size Ziploc bag, which was plenty big enough.  When both the brownie and mousse were chilled as per the instructions, I cut the corner of the bag of mousse and piped it on the top of the brownie.  I think you could have just as easily put the mousse in a container and spread it on top of the brownie, but if you are unable to spread icing evenly, this is a good way to keep your mousse spreading consistent.

I took this pie with me to Pittsburgh and was afraid it would not travel well due to it needing to stay chilled, but I put it in a cooler with some ice and it made just fine.  I did omit the ganache because it would have made a mess during travel as the pie did move around in the container.  I also used 6 regular sized peanut butter cups rather than 10 miniatures.  

The Verdict:  This is a very rich and sweet pie, every chocolate peanut butter lovers dream.  The different textures were nice, the creamy mousse, the chewy brownie, and the peanut butter cups.  My sister-in-law was pleased with my choice of recipes for her birthday ;)

Killer Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie
For the Brownies:
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 stick butter, cut in cubes
1 tbsp instant espresso or coffee (optional)
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 fingered pinch of salt
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
For the Peanut Butter Mousse:
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter, (do NOT use natural or crunchy!)
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream, very cold
For the Ganache:
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
10 mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, roughly chopped

Make the Brownies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a round 9" cake pan with greased parchment paper. Spray the sides of the pan with cooking spray.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Place the chocolate, butter and instant espresso into a non-reactive heat proof bowl. Place bowl w/ ingredients over the boiling water. Stir constantly until the chocolate and butter have completely melted then remove bowl from heat. Cool slightly.
Add the eggs to a mixing bowl. Whisk. Next add the vanilla, salt, sugar and brown sugar to the bowl. Whisk thoroughly. Add the chocolate butter mixture then whisk again. Gently fold in the flour to the brownie batter until just combined. Over mixing will result in tough brownies!
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Place into a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted 3" from the edge of pan comes out with only a few crumbs. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack, at least 1 hour.
To remove from pan, carefully slide a knife around the edges to loosen. Place a a plate over the brownies then invert the pan. Brownies should easily flip out. Peel off parchement paper.
Make the Mousse:
While the brownies are baking/cooling prepare the mousse.
Place the peanut butter, cream cheese, vanilla and milk into a large mixing bowl. Beat by hand or w/ an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. Set aside.
Place whipping cream into a separate mixing bowl. Beat until whipped cream holds stiff peaks. This is most easily done using a stand mixer or electric beater but can be done by hand, just be sure that the cream is extremely cold before whipping.
Working in four batches, gently fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture to form a light, airy mousse. Over working the mousse will cause the whipped cream to deflate so use a light hand! Scrap the mousse into a piping bag w/ a large round tip or into a gallon-sized sealable plastic bag. Place the mousse into the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour before piping.
Assemble the pie
Carefully place the brownie onto the plate you wish to serve/store the pie in.
Remove the mousse from the fridge. Cut about 1/4 inch of the bottom corner off of the sealable plastic bad if you don't have a piping bag. The plastic bag will act as your piping bag. Evenly pipe the mousse over the brownie in large spirling cirles beging on the outside and ending in the middle. Use all of the mousse. With a rubber spatula, smooth out and the top surface of the mousse. Place the brownie and mousse into the refrigerator. Chill for at least 30 minutes before finishing.
Make the Ganache
While the layered brownie and mousse are chilling, make the ganache. Place 1/3 cup whipping cream into a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Let chocolate and cream sit for about 3 minutes. Whisk until smooth and shiny. Leave at room temperature until ready to finish pie.
Finish the pie:
Remove the pie from the fridge. Sprinkle the chopped Reese's cups evenly over the top of the pie. Drizzle with ganache. This pie must be served chilled or the mousse will deflate. Pie may be stored in the fridge for upto 3 days. It freezes well and can also be eaten straight from the freezer. Enjoy!

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