Tuesday, April 19, 2016

French Silk Peanut Butter Tarts

When I was a kid (and to this day), my dad made delicious home-baked treats for all occasions. Pies, cakes, brownies, cookies, the gamut. So you'd think I would have shunned any grocery store freezer section attempts at dessert. But, while I delighted in my homemade from scratch Decadent Chocolate Birthday Bundt Cake each year, my 7-year-old palate also craved the simpler things in life. In this case, Sara Lee's frozen French Silk Pie.



I mean, nobody doesn't like Sara Lee, right?

But I've matured (a bit). While I still cannot resist the creamy consistency of a French silk pie filling, I can skip the ice crystals in the whipped "cream".

This is adapted from a tried-and-true recipe - Pioneer Woman's French Silk Pie - but, BUT, with a few key changes:

1. I love a pastry crusted cream pie, but for some reason I just had to have the crumbly Oreo version (or in this case, Trader Joe's Jo-Jo version) this time around for extra chocolate-y goodness. So, pick your poison. As we approach warmer weather (I think?), an advantage of the cookie crust is that you don't have to bake anything/approach your oven.

2. These, as you can see, are mini. Because, in addition to Sara Lee, who doesn't like an individually portioned dessert? (I use this pan, which releases beautifully. If you are sadly not in possession of mini tart pans, this recipe would also work in a standard shallow 9" tart pan.)

3. Don't think I was going to forget to mention. This tart is topped with peanut butter whipped cream. And, I don't mind saying, this is a game changer. So easy to whip up, and takes this already luxurious dessert up a notch for us Reese's lovers.

And if deliciousness alone isn't enough reason to make these, they are also the perfect dessert for company - no baking, and you make them ahead of time to chill in the fridge, so no fuss after dinner.




French Silk Peanut Butter Tarts
Makes 4 mini (4") tarts or 1 shallow 9" tart

  • 16 Oreos or Jo-Jos
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

  • 2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, cold*

  • 1 cup heavy cream, cold
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate, for garnish (optional)

For crust: pulse cookies and salt in a food processor until they're fine crumbs. Add melted butter and process until incorporated; it should be the texture of wet sand.

Divide crust mixture evenly between mini tart pans; press firmly with greased fingers and/or a metal measuring cup to form around sides. Chill for at least 30 minutes before adding filling.

(While making the crust, chill your mixing bowl in the freezer.)

For filling: melt baking chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring in between short increments so you don't scorch it. When fully melted, set aside to cool.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar in the chilled bowl until creamy, at least one minute. Add cooled chocolate and vanilla extract; mix until thoroughly combined.

Change out your paddle attachment for the whisk. Add one cold egg and beat with whisk attachment for 5 minutes on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl; add second egg, and repeat. Don't rush this! The slow and thorough addition of cold eggs is what will make it smooth and creamy.
*I should perhaps have pointed out earlier that French Silk Pie includes uncooked eggs. This isn't something I worry about, but if it worries you, you could try pasteurizing your eggs, skipping this recipe, or throwing caution to the wind.
After a full 10 minutes of incorporating the eggs, the filling should be smooth, creamy, and, yes, silky. Divide into 4 chilled cookie crusts, smooth tops, and return to refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
I made my whipped cream and topped the tarts just before serving, as it's a very quick step, but you could do this in advance as well. I add 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar to help stabilize whipped cream if preparing in advance.
For peanut butter cream:wash out your mixing bowl and return to freezer to chill for 15 minutes or so. When cold, combine heavy cream, peanut butter, and powdered sugar, and whip with whisk attachment until tripled in size and fluffy.

Spoon whipped cream onto tarts for a more rugged look, or pipe with a large decorating tip (or zip loc bag). Garnish with grated or peeled chocolate.
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