Sometimes I wish I lived in a city. Nothing quite as large as New York. No, much to my husband’s dismay, those days are long gone. But perhaps a place a bit smaller, somewhere quaint.
We could live down the street from a bakery. A place that would be equally perfect for writing, people watching, and Wi-Fi stealing. We’d befriend the owner, who wouldn’t look twice at our kids showing up on Sunday mornings in their pajamas. An espresso for dad, iced coffee for mom, 3 glasses of milk, 4 pain au chocolat, and one lonely croissant (don’t touch, that one’s mine).
So, Paris. I basically want to move to Paris.
Yes, it’s still a sizable city, but one with 6 million fewer houseguests than New York. That’s not nothing.
Early walks by the Seine, moules frites at hidden bistros, and more foie gras than I’d know what to do with.
Just kidding, I always know what to do with foie gras.
Surely I’m not the first to fight off feelings of wanderlust and visions of their kids in cute berets, n’est pas?
You probably didn’t know this, but Dorie Greenspan, author of this truly unforgettable torte, splits her time between kitchens in New York, Connecticut, and Paris.
I lived in NYC. I currently live in Connecticut. Do you see where this is going…?
While we have no plans to jet off into the night, it’s something I’ve considered in the past (mostly before kids). On particularly dreary days, it’s easy to get lost in the idea of travel and a life not yet lived. So today, instead of working, I’m daydreaming of a trip abroad. A tour of cultures and cuisines that I have yet to discover. Because if not now, when?
Dorie’s cookbook Baking: From My Home to Yours
Peanut butter torte
- 9" springform pan
- 1 ¼ cups finely chopped salted peanuts for the filling, crunch and topping
- 2 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp instant espresso powder or finely ground instant coffee
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ cup mini chocolate chips or finely chopped semisweet chocolate
- 24 Oreo cookies finely crumbled or ground in a food processor or blender
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled
- small pinch of salt
- 2 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 ¼ cups confectioners' sugar sifted
- 12 oz cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups salted peanut butter crunchy or smooth
- 2 Tbsp whole milk
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
- 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 chips together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Put the Oreo crumbs, the melted butter, and salt in another small bowl and stir with a fork just until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the springform 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. Scrape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
- Wipe out (no need to 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 mousse 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 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, then remove the sides, but you can also wrap a kitchen towel dampened with hot water around the pan and leave it there for 10 seconds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- From Dorie: well covered, the torte will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 days; just make sure to keep it away from foods with strong odors.