Peanut butter. Chocolate. Math. Add them together and you get one killer dessert.
Gabe’s youngest brother visited us this weekend and picked a chocolate peanut butter tart as his dessert of choice. But before I could make it, I had to play with ratios.
As many of you know, lactose-free half-and-half is one of my favorite ingredients in the whole world, since it lets me make ice cream and other sweet treats for Gabe. But so far there’s no such thing as lactose-free heavy cream, so I have to modify recipes that call for cream. Generally a one-to-one substitution is not a problem, but the difference in fat content can affect the consistency of things like chocolate ganache.
And since ganache plays a starring role in this dessert, some experimentation was necessary. (I sacrificed myself to science and ate a lot of chocolate.) In the end, the winning ratio of chocolate to milk product was 2:1 instead of the original recipe’s ratio of approximately 1:1. You can certainly use the original amounts of 5 oz. chocolate and 3/4 cup heavy cream, but I’m happy to report that my way worked just as well.
And to continue this math and science-laden post, I made a couple of diagrams to demonstrate how to make pretty peanut butter swirls on top of the tart. Just to prove my liberal arts education comes in handy. Check them out at the bottom of this post. :)
Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart
- 1/3 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1 cup flour
- 8 Tbs. butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 Tbs. half-and-half
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter, divided
- 8 oz. dark chocolate (about 60% cocoa)*
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
Make the pie crust: In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa and flour. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and salt, and beat until well combined. With mixer on low, add half the flour mixture, then all the half-and-half, and then the rest of the flour mixture until well combined. The dough will be very soft.
Place dough on a piece of plastic wrap, flatten into a rectangle shape, and wrap tightly. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
Once dough is firm, place it on a heavily floured work surface and roll into a 7 by 16-inch rectangle. Transfer the dough to a 4 1/2 by 14- inch rectangular tart pan and lightly push it down into the bottom of the pan. Trim off any excess dough around the edges and prick the bottom lightly with a fork. Freeze for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Place a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper in the tart pan on top of the dough, and fill with dry beans or pie weights. Place the tart pan on a jelly-roll pan for easier handling and bake for 20 minutes, or until edges are set. Remove foil and beans and bake for another 10 minutes. Let crust cool completely in the tart pan on a wire rack.
Prepare filling: Melt 1/2 cup peanut butter in a small bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Pour peanut butter into the cooled pie crust and freeze for 20 minutes or until set.
Once the peanut butter is set, roughly chop chocolate and place in a medium bowl. Microwave half-and-half just until it comes to a boil, about 30 seconds. Pour over chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes.
Melt remaining 1/4 cup of peanut butter in microwave and transfer to a small plastic bag. Snip a tiny triangle off the corner so you can use the bag to pipe the peanut butter.
Whisk chocolate and half-and-half until smooth. Pour over peanut butter in the tart pan and lightly smooth with a spatula. Squeeze the peanut butter in the plastic bag and pipe it diagonally across the ganache. Lightly run a toothpick or skewer through the peanut butter in the opposite direction, perpendicular to the piping of the peanut butter. (See diagrams below.)
Let tart chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 8. Slice diagonally into wedges and serve.
* I’m happy to say I’ve made this with milk chocolate too, and it’s deeeelicious. Tastes like a fancy Reese’s peanut butter cup!