Friday, May 2, 2008

Punch List

Everyone has a nightmare construction story. It's never the client, it's the contractor who went on to the next job, or took the deposit, or in the middle of the winter attended his wife's great uncle's funeral, only to return with a very Caribbean tan.

All that's changed, I found one who returns phone calls, follows-up to see if we're happy with the work he's done and would not accept money to park his truck in a garage, while the tickets piled up. I felt guilty. I've already baked a cheesecake for him.

Today he's returning to install the powder room vanity and receive this week's Tuesday's With Dorie's (TWD) Peanut Butter Torte.

Peanut Butter Torte

1 ¼ c. finely chopped salted peanuts (for the filling, crunch and topping)
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
½ c. mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped semi sweet chocolate)
24 Oreo cookies, finely crumbed or ground in a food processor or blender
½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt
2 ½ c. heavy cream
1 ¼ c confectioners’ sugar, sifted
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ c salted peanut butter – crunchy or smooth (not natural; I use Skippy)
2 tablespoons whole milk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped

Getting ready: center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch Springform pan and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Toss ½ cup of the chopped peanuts, the sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chops together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Put the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in another small bowl and stir with a fork just until crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the spring form pan (they should go up about 2 inches on the sides). Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely before filling.

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. Beat in ¼ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Crape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
Wipe out (do not wash) 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. Beat in the peanut butter, ¼ cup of the chopped peanuts and the milk.
Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about one quarter of the whipped cream, just to lighten the mousse. Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.
Scrape the mouse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.

To Finish The Torte: put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan.
Bring the remaining ½ cup cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and , working with a a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and glossy.
Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing it with a metal icing spatula. Scatter the remaining ½ cup peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, about 20 minutes.
When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the Springform pan; it’s easiest to warm the pan with a hairdryer, and then remove the sides, but you can also wrap a kitchen towel damped with hot water around the pan and leave it there for 10 seconds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


CRS said...

Your torte looks great!

Glad you found a fabulous contractor!

Marie said...

Your torte looks fabulous! I'd say pictue perfect!

PheMom said...

Hooray for great honest people! Your torte looks beautiful!

Heather said...

Your torte looks delicious! Great job!

Linda said...

I couldn't agree with you more about your contractor musings...we went thru a 9 month remodel, and had quite a number of hair pulling moments during that time.

This lovely torte is a well deserved reward for your handy contractor!

Jaime said...

your torte has such a perfect shape! your contractor is one lucky guy

Gretchen Noelle said...

How wonderful that you found someone reliable and I am sure he is appreciative to recieve things like this incredible looking torte!!

Rachel said...

It looks perfect! I'm sure your contractor loved it. Isn't it more fun to share?

Dianne said...

It looks fabulous! So nice of you to share too. :)

steph- whisk/spoon said...

your torte looks great, and i'm sure your contractor appreciated it!