Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Up and Running

Okay, I've decided to start a blog.  And just like every writing assignment I've ever been given, I am having trouble knowing where to begin.  How is this for an itemized exposition:
  • I like food.  I like eating food, sharing food, making food.  I also love to read about eating, sharing, and making food, and I thought I might enjoying writing about the same. 
  • I love to read, and for me, that typically leads to thinking.  Sometimes I read something so profoundly sad, or funny, or meaningful (at least to me) that I want to share.
  • I have two sons, a three-year-old and a seven-month old, two cats, and two dogs.  I feel like I am in constant physical contact with another living thing 24 hours a day.  My plan is to use my blogging time as my alone time.  Not sure how that's going to work because even now my oldest son is telling me that he needs to use the computer to check his e-mail.
So that's mainly it.  All the while trying not to sound whiny and self-deprecating as I've done in my journals of the past.  And since you have been kind enough to visit, I would like to offer you a treat.  I would never invite guests over without offering some sort of refreshment.  And so, I present to you: 

This is a Peanut Butter Mousse Tart from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Pie and Pastry Bible.  It is a peanut butter cookie crust, with a light peanut butter mousse inside, topped off with chocolate ganache.  It's  fun and easy to make, and so delicious.  I allowed my son to lick the beater after I whipped up the mousse.  It took him about five minutes, but he got every last bit off.

Peanut Butter Mousse Tart (adapted from The Pie and Pastry Bible)

For the crust:
 1/2 cup - all purpose flour
1/2 tsp - baking soda
1/16 tsp - salt
1/4 cup packed - light brown sugar
2 T - sugar
4 T - unsalted butter (cold, cut into cubes)
1/2 cup - creamy peanut butter
1/2 large egg (beat before measuring,  it should be about 1.5 tablespoons or .8 oz)
1/4 tsp - vanilla

You can make the crust in a food processor, or with an electric mixer.  Both ways follow the same basic steps, the difference being that you will want to soften the butter if using a mixer.  

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together.  Whisk to combine.

In your food processor or in a bowl with your mixer, beat the sugars to combine.  Add the butter and peanut butter and mix until smooth.  Next, add the egg and vanilla.  Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.  You then need to chill the dough for at least an hour.  

Press into a 9.5 " tart pan (I used a 9" pan).  She is amazing and is able to roll the dough evenly and then lay it into the pan.  I am less amazing, so I used the press method.  The dough is fairly sticky.  Once you have it evenly pressed into the pan, cover it and chill it for another hour.  Then, bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.  Allow to cool on a wire rack.

for the mousse:
7 T - cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup - creamy peanut butter
1 tsp - vanilla
3/4 cup - heavy cream, softly whipped (I whipped it with a wire whisk just until soft peaks started to form)

Once the crust is cool, go ahead and make the mousse.  Beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar together until well mixed.  Add the vanilla.  Beat in, on low speed, 1/4 cup of the whipped cream.  Then, with a rubber spatula, fold in the rest of the cream until the mixture is blended, but still airy.  Spoon your mousse into the crust and smooth.  Refrigerate while you make the ganache.

for the ganache:
3 oz  - milk chocolate (finely chopped)
2 oz - bittersweet chocolate (finely chopped)
1/3 cup - heavy cream
1/8 tsp - vanilla

Heat the cream in a small saucepan until just below the simmering point.  Remove from heat.  Add all of the chocolate and then stir constantly until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.  Stir in vanilla.  Allow to come to room temperature.  Once cooled, pour the ganache over the mousse and smooth to the edge of the crust.  Refrigerate for two hours to set.  Before serving, let the tart sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

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