Peanut Butter Torte

Peanut Butter Torte.  Yes, please.

I had scheduled this into my line-up of unusual desserts for Thanksgiving this year.  In fact, I can’t believe that I am admitting to you that I had this actual dessert planned for about a month in advance.  As I would flip through the pages of my “Dorie Book”, I would hesitate on this particular page, feel an intense longing, and softly release a loving sigh.  Ah, yes.  The peanut butter torte.  Page 282.  Dog-eared, pages with some  chocolate-y fingerprints of days past.  Yep, that’s the one.  I have daydreams about this cake.  The mousse filling, creamy chocolate ganache, salty and savory peanut crumbles. Oh, and let’s please not forget about that Oreo cookie crust.  If there is a heaven, then Dorie Greenspan is the head angel.  And I believe this dessert is a complete affirmation of that idea.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, as I left work, I had a game plan.  Hit the grocery store for some last minute things (apparently every person in my county had this same thought….), head home, make some fondue with my sister who was helping prepare some dishes with me, and then lose myself completely in the creation of this heavenly dessert.  And, true to form, as intimidating as it may look and seem, it’s not hard to prepare. It saves you valuable oven space when you’re trying to make a pumpkin cheesecake (which takes over an hour to make….) and other holiday goodies.  No, it only requires 10 minutes of baking time, and the rest is left to your mixer and food processor.  The downside?  Letting the whole thing chill for at least 4 hours….but, as we all know, good things come to those who wait.

Peanut Butter Torte

Servings: 6 to 8


1 and 1/4 cups finely chopped salted peanuts (for the filling, crunch, and topping-use your food processor to chop them)

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped semisweet chocolate)

24 Oreo cookies, finely crumbled or ground in a food processor or blender

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Small pinch of salt

2 and 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 and 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 and 1/2 cups salted peanut butter-crunchy or smooth

2 tablespoons whole milk

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped


1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

3. Toss 1/2 cup of the chopped peanuts, the sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chips together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

4. Put the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in another small bowl and stir with a fork just until the crumbs are moistened.

5. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan (they should go up about 2 inches on the sides.)

6.  Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.

7. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely.

8. 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.

9. Beat in 1/2 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks.

10. Scrape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.

11. Wipe out 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.

12.  Beat in the peanut butter, 1/4 cup of the chopped peanuts and the milk.

13. Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about one quarter of the whipped cream, just to lighten the mousse.

14. Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.

15. Scrape the mousse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top.

16. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.

17. After the mousse has chilled and set, put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.

18. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan.

19. Bring the remaining 1/2 cup cream to a full boil.

20. Pour the cream over the chocolate and, working with a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and glossy.

21. Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing it with a metal icing spatula.

22. Scatter the remaining 1/2 cup peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, about 20 minutes.

23.  When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the springform pan.

24.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source: Baking: From My Home To Yours

December 2, 2010 - 7:30 am

cupcake - You’re killin’ me! YUM!

December 2, 2010 - 10:45 pm

Patty - What a stellar cake! A multiple-dessert Thanksgiving sounds awesome. 🙂

December 3, 2010 - 10:32 am

Lauren at KeepItSweet - this looks incredible

December 3, 2010 - 10:32 am

Lauren at KeepItSweet - this looks incredible

December 3, 2010 - 4:25 pm

natalie (the sweets life) - i’ve made this! we actually stuck the leftovers in the freezer and ate it frozen–SO GOOD!