I love Reece’s Pieces. For a couple of years they stopped importing them to Australia. Then they slowly filtered back in in speciality stores (for $3+ for the 2 cups). When family have gone overseas I have asked for them to bring back as many in the 1 lb bags as they can. (Matthew not only brought back cooking things he also brought home 4 lbs of Reece’s Pieces, what a darling!).
Oreos were also not available for a long time. My birthday presents as a teenager were a packet or two of Oreos shipped from the US. Now they are in the major grocery stores. However, the ones available in Australia are made in China.
So a Oreo crust with a grown up Reeces Pieces filling was a fufilment of my childhood favourite foods (that became even more favourite because they were not available for a long time).
The food processor bowl was in the dishwasher so I tried the blender for the Oreo crumbs. It really didn’t do the job. I then tried my stick mixer with the ‘stabber’ attachment. Tactical error. Serious crumb flying issues. Finally I used my mini processor in a couple of batches. I am not alone in finding that I needed more cookies to make enough crust.
I had light Philly cream cheese in the fridge and thought with the ingredient list I could get away with the substitution. The filling firmed up very nicely (and I didn’t have the Australian Heart Foundation raid my house for flagrant use of butter, fat and cream!)
When making the ganache I forgot I was making a half batch, so it was an extra thick layer. I had a moment of worry when stirring in the hot cream. It took a looong time for the cream to be incorporated and it looked very close to splitting. I took my time and stirred slowly and it came good. I was too freaked out to take a photo, so you will have to take my word for it.
The bittersweet chocolate does temper the voluptulus richness of the peanut butter mousse. I also used crunchy peanut butter in the filling and omitted the peanuts in the filling and topping. I used some rice bubbles (krispies) on top for crunch. (Trying to keep it kid friendly). The boys love peanut butter they just don’t like really chunky bits.
This torte is so rich. We had it at the end of a family BBQ. I actually organised the gathering around trying to share this with others!
The crust is a complete winner and that will be made again. The peanut butter mousse is lovely but I think it is in fact too much of a good thing. Perhaps it could have a life as a cake filling. Like a Boston Cream Pie thing with the mousse inside and the ganache dripping down the sides…
I made half batch and I will have to freeze a large portion to allow for slower consumption.
Peanut Butter Torte
1 ¼ c. finely chopped salted peanuts (for the filling, crunch and topping) (I subbed in rice bubbles for the topping and omitted the extra peanuts in the filling)
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
½ c. (90g) mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped semi sweet chocolate)
24 (to 30+) Oreo cookies, (310g) finely crumbed or ground in a food processor or blender
½ stick (4 tablespoons) (60g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt
2 ½ c. (600ml) heavy cream
1 ¼ c (140g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
12 ounces (340g) cream cheese, at room temperature (I used Philadelphia light with success).
1 ½ c (400g) salted peanut butter – crunchy or smooth (not natural; I use Skippy) (I used Kraft chunky)
2 tablespoons (60g) whole milk
4 ounces (115g) bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
Getting ready: center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. (180C) Butter a 9-inch Springform pan and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Toss ½ cup of the chopped peanuts, the sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chops together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Put the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in another small bowl and stir with a fork just until crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the spring form pan (they should go up about 2 inches on the sides). Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely before filling.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in ¼ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Scrape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
Wipe out (do not wash) the bowl, fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment if you have one, or continue with the hand mixer, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, ¼ cup of the chopped peanuts and the milk.
Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about one quarter of the whipped cream, just to lighten the mousse. Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.
Scrape the mouse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.
To Finish The Torte: put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan.
Bring the remaining ½ cup cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and , working with a a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and glossy.
Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing it with a metal icing spatula. Scatter the remaining ½ cup peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, about 20 minutes.
When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the Springform pan; it’s easiest to warm the pan with a hairdryer, and then remove the sides, but you can also wrap a kitchen towel damped with hot water around