July 3, 2012
I am always happy to find good new chocolate recipes, and Eric's pies could not be more deliciously indulgent.
At Easter I had a reminder of how utterly magical and moreish is the marriage of peanuts and dark chocolate. I bought some of Damian Allsop’s dark chocolate and peanut Easter eggs for my son. It is not something I am particularly proud of, but he didn’t get much of a look in. I think I scoffed the lot. And I have been fantasising about the combination ever since.
Eric’s pie doesn’t disappoint. The combined peanut hit of the filling and chopped topping ensure a good amount of roasted nuttiness. And the dark chocolate crunch of the Amadei pistoles I used, added to the subtle unsweetened cocoa in the tart case, make this something much more delicious than the confectionary bar you think this would conjure up. It is a gourmet version of the best American-diner pudding you can imagine.
Cocoa, crunch, nut, creamy, cheesecake, chocolate chip, heaven in a pie!
Peanut butter and chocolate pie
“There is something very moreish about peanut butter, even more so when it’s used as an ingredient. This pie, as well as being fluffy, has the rich addition of chocolate chunks, making it even more luxurious.”
Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus chilling overnight
Cooking time: 5 minutes
200g (7oz) cream cheese
100g (3½oz) golden icing sugar, sifted
150g (5oz) crunchy peanut butter
250ml (8fl oz) whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
100g (3½oz) dark chocolate chunks
or chips, plus extra to decorate
1 x blind-baked chocolate shortcrust pastry case (see below), in a 23cm (9in) diameter, 3cm (1¼in) deep tart tin
single cream, to serve
75ml (3fl oz) double cream
75g (3oz) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
15g (½oz) unsalted butter
50g (2oz) honey roasted peanuts, chopped
Put the cream cheese and golden icing sugar into a large bowl and whisk together. Beat in the peanut butter.
Whisk the whipping cream to nice soft peaks and fold into the peanut butter mixture with the vanilla extract and the chocolate chunks.
Fill the cooked pastry case right to the top, then chill overnight in the refrigerator.
To decorate, melt the chocolate in a large bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the surface of the water does not touch the bowl.
Warm the cream in a small saucepan, then pour over the melted chocolate, stirring until nice and smooth. Cut the butter into small cubes, add to the chocolate mixture and stir until well blended. Leave to cool slightly.
Drizzle the chocolate topping all over the pie and sprinkle with the roasted peanuts. Serve chilled with cream and grated dark chocolate.
Tip: This chocolate topping is a great way to decorate all kinds of desserts.
The Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pie was a very tough act to follow. But spurred on by my newfound love of the chocolate shortcrust pastry, I went for the Southern Chocolate Mud Pie. And boy does this do what it says on the tin. Again, it is not hard to do. In fact, once you have the pastry case down, the filling of this one is a doddle. This time I used Cru Virunga, because I felt it called for a more intense chocolate experience altogether. I made the right choice. The result is like a chocolate fondant in pie form. While not exactly liquid in its centre, and wonderful served chilled, it has that fudgy, no distraction from the main event quality to it.
Crowd pleasingly glorious, worth the chocolate induced state of wipeout that was the result of my over-indulgence in it.
Southern chocolate mud pie
“This pie is a proper indulgent treat and will become your new favourite chocolate recipe! The combination of the chocolate pastry and the smooth rich chocolate filling makes it irresistible.”
Preparation time: 15 minutes,
Cooking time: 55 minutes
200g (7oz) dark chocolate, roughly
175g (6oz) unsalted butter, softened
350g (11½oz) dark muscovado
4 large eggs, beaten
4 tbsp pure cocoa powder
400ml (14fl oz) double cream
2 tsp chocolate extract (optional)
1 x blind-baked chocolate
shortcrust pastry case (see below), in a 25cm (10in) diameter, 6cm (2½in) deep tart tin or ovenproof dish
500ml (17fl oz) whipping cream
3 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tsp finely grated dark chocolate
Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the surface of the water does not touch the bowl. Put to one side to cool.
Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan 140°C)/325°F/gas mark 3.
Cream the butter and sugar until nice and fluffy using an electric hand whisk or a freestanding mixer. Gradually beat in the eggs one at a time on a low speed.
Sift the cocoa powder and stir in, along with the cooled melted chocolate. Stir in the double cream and the chocolate extract, if using.
Pour the mixture into the cooked pastry case and bake in the oven for 45–50 minutes, or until just set. Leave to cool, then chill in the refrigerator.
Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving. Whip the whipping cream and vanilla sugar to soft peaks. Pile on the top of the pie and sprinkle with the grated chocolate. Enjoy!
Chocolate shortcrust Pastry
Makes 450g (14½oz) or enough to line a 23cm (9in) diameter, 3cm (1¼in) deep tart tin
Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus chilling
200g (7oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
25g (1oz) pure cocoa powder
50g (2oz) icing sugar
150g (5oz) unsalted butter, chopped into pieces
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
Preheat the oven to to 180°C.
Sift the flour, cocoa and icing sugar together into a large mixing bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Make a well in the centre and add the egg yolks and vanilla. Again using your fingertips, mix together to make a smooth dough.
Turn the pastry out on to a lightly floured surface and gather together into a ball. Cover with clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes before using.
To line a tin and blind-bake the dough roll it out to about 3mm thick and fill the tart case. Chill again for at least 30 minutes.
Fill the unbaked tart case with baking beans on top of greaseproof paper. Place the tart case in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove the tart case, and then the beans from the case. Put the case back in the oven for up to 5 more minutes, to ensure that the bottom of the case is not raw.
If you are planning a tart that is to be baked again, like the Southern Mud Pie you may be best to leave the tart case a little less cooked. For the Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pie, in which the filling is not baked, you need to be sure the tart is completely baked when you bake it blind.