If you’re a peanut butter cup fan, you’ll love this pie! It begins with a sweet chocolate pastry shell that is filled with a brown butter dark chocolate ganache and ends with a fluffy, smooth peanut butter mousse.
What makes this Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie so delicious
This was inspired by a yummy slice of pie we had around thanksgiving from a local bakery. Theirs had a graham crust, a soft ganache and a peanut butter mousse. The recipe isn’t available but I kind of wanted to do it my way anyway, so:
First, the chocolate crust: a sweet tart dough made with cocoa that’s really easy to whip up (food processor!) and press in. No need to worry about shrinking, we’ve got some tricks. It’s like a really good crumbly, chocolate cookie and is the perfect shell for all the good things going inside.
Then, the ganache! Oh this ganache. There’s a thing about brown butter, besides its magical taste; when combined with certain other ingredients you can’t always taste it. Here you can, it has the benefit of not being cooked with anything else and pairs wonderfully with the dense, dark ganache and accentuates the ‘nuttiness’ of the mousse.
Finally, the peanut butter topping! It might be my favorite part (and I’m a chocolate lover at heart) but the salty intensity of the peanut butter, combined with tangy cream cheese and whipped up into a fluff of heavy cream makes this mousse so smooth and irresistible.
Ingredients for Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
Butter: We need some for the crust (softened) and some for the ganache (browned). In the crust it is essential to make a flaky pastry. The browned butter in the ganache adds another dimension to the dark chocolate taste that is really wonderful.
Chocolate: This is for the ganache, give some thought to the type of chocolate you use: if you like very dark chocolates that aren’t sweet, opt for that in the ganache. If you like some sweet-ness then semi-sweet. Avoid chocolates that are less than 45% cocoa solids as that will be venturing into milk chocolate, and will throw off the balance of heavy cream to chocolate.
Heavy Cream: Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are essentially the same thing and either will do.
Peanut Butter: Any generic brand. I’d avoid one that tends to separate (needs to be stirred) for this mousse. If you need to substitute for allergy reasons I’d use cashew or sunbutter (again, use one that doesn’t need stirring).
Egg yolk: We just need one to help bind together the crust. Here’s what you can do with that leftover egg white.
Flour: All-Purpose flour. If you want to make this a flourless chocolate peanut butter pie you can use a 1 to 1 substitute gluten-free flour blend.
Powdered Sugar: Check the label, is it made with tapioca or cornstarch? Tapioca is best because it melts on the tongue. Sift the powdered sugar before using it if it’s lumpy.
Cream cheese: Half a package and take it out a few hours beforehand to ensure its nice and soft to be beaten in with the peanut butter.
Cocoa: I like a dutch- process cocoa because it’s deeper in taste but any will do (even black!)
How to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
First, make the crust:
We’ll make the crust in a food processor. If you don’t have one, stand or hand mixer will work well. Don’t have either, you can do this by hand using your fingers to break up the butter (I’d start by slicing the butter and then working it into the flour and cocoa by pressing it, like you would a pie crust).
In a food processor just add the dry ingredients with the butter, pulse until it’s mostly blended then add the yolk and pulse. Once you can pinch the dough together with your fingers and it holds shape it’s ready.
Use a 8 or 9″ tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the crust in, half an inch up the sides and tightly on the bottom. Then chill it.
Why chill the crust? Chilling helps the crust keep shape in the oven. And you don’t need long, 10-20 minutes in the freezer makes a big difference.
Then place a sheet of parchment over the chilled crust, and add some pie weights or dried beans. They don’t have to go all the way up, just enough to hold down the bottom.
Once it partially bakes you can remove the parchment and weights and then dock it with a fork, as pictured. Then return it to the oven for the remainder of the bake. When it’s done, chill it so it’s ready for the ganache.
While the crust is chilling, we’ll make the ganache. Look closely under those chocolate chips – that’s brown butter!
I usually brown the butter early on and have it chilling in the fridge before I make the ganache. If you pour hot butter on the chocolate it will take it’s temperature up too quickly and you won’t have a smooth ganache.
Then I’ll melt the chocolate and butter together, but just a bit. The rest of the melting will happen after we heat the cream and pour it over. Stir it until you have a smooth ganache, then pour into the chilled crust.
The ganache also needs some time to chill and firm up. If you put mousse on warm ganache it will melt it.
The mouse here starts with softened cream cheese, peanut butter, powdered sugar. Once those are mixed in well together we’ll add the heavy cream and whip the mix until it’s fluffy. You could also do this in a food processor.
Then the mousse goes on top of the ganache and chills. Ta da!
Can this Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie be made ahead of time?
Absolutely, it keeps nicely in the fridge for days. My preference is to make the peanut butter mousse the morning of the day you’ll serve it (some bits of it can get gummy when exposed to the humidity in a fridge) but if you have a big enough container for the whole pie it won’t matter.
Why are the ganache ingredients only in grams?
Because they need to be precise in order for you to achieve the right texture. Too much heavy cream will lead to a too soft ganache and it’s a delicate balance. Using the scale here is necessary.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
- 7 tablespoons butter to be browned
- 1/2 cup butter, unsalted and softened 113g
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar 65g
- 1/4 cup dutch process cocoa 25g
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour 165g
Brown Butter Ganache
- 70 grams browned butter from above
- 200 grams dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped from a bar
- 200 grams heavy cream
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- pinch flaky sea salt , if you have it
Peanut Butter Mousse
- 1 package cream cheese, softened 226g
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth 130g
- 1 cup heavy cream 225g
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- First, brown the butter: Place the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Cook as it melts, then sputters and foams. When it stops sputtering and is nearly silent, and you see brown bits at the bottom. Scrape it all, including brown bits into a heatproof bowl and set aside to cool.
- To make the crust: Either in a food processor or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and butter until blended then add remaining ingredients and pulse/mix until the dough sticks together when you press it. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 or 10” round tart pan with a removable bottom. Set crust in the freezer for 10-15 minutes and preheat the oven to 350 F. Cover the pan with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the beans/parchment and dock the bottom with a fork. Return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Let the crust completely chill before adding the filling.
- To make the brown butter ganache (filling): Combine the cooled brown butter with the chocolate and set in the microwave for 30 seconds, until the butter is mostly melted and the chocolate is beginning to melt. Warm the cream in a pot until it’s bubbling on the sides, this will happen in a few minutes (careful not to overheat it!). Pour it over the chocolate & butter and mix, adding the vanilla and stirring until you have a smooth ganache. Pour into the chilled crust and set in the fridge.
- To make the peanut butter mousse: In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer: beat the cream cheese and peanut butter together until smooth. Add the salt, sugar and vanilla and beat to combine. Pour in the heavy cream and beat until creamy and fluffy. Spread the mousse over the ganache and set in the fridge to chill, at least 2 hours before serving.