With a crunchy peanut butter filling and creamy chocolate ganache nestled in a sweet and salty chocolate cookie crust, it’s like a giant peanut butter cup, but bigger and so much better.
Sweet and salty, creamy and crunchy, rich and nutty… this tart has a little bit of everything. While it looks downright impressive with its perfectly defined layers, it takes less than 45 minutes of active time to prepare, although you do need to allow for sufficient chill time between layers and before serving (so plan ahead!)
Things have certainly changed since I started blogging.
Back in 2012 or so, it wasn’t uncommon for me to whip something up on the weekend, snap a few photos and have it posted by that very evening.
I don’t know if my standards have changed or what, but now if something turns out perfectly the first time it’s practically a miracle. It’s not unusual for me to have to make something at least 2 or 3 times before it’s deemed post-worthy.
Of course, the difference could be the fact that back then I wasn’t doing many original recipes. It’s much easier to have a first-time success when a recipe is already tried and true; when you are trying and truing it yourself it takes a wee bit more time and effort.
I had high hopes for my first attempt at this tart, which is essentially a giant peanut butter cup with a cookie crust and a delightfully crunchy filling. I made a filling along the lines of a peanut butter buttercream, with a bit of ground toffee for texture and flavor.
It seemed like it was off to a good start, so much so that I started gathering props and setting up the scene with the intention to shoot it that very day.
In my attempt to preserve the shiny ganache topping, I didn’t fully chill the tart as I should have. As I sliced into it, the pointy tips of the slices started to droop, and the soft filling started to bulge out the sides under the weight of the ganache on top.
It wasn’t pretty in the least.
I should really know better than to try to shoot my first attempt at any recipe: it’s just a waste of my time.
In this case, it wasn’t just aesthetic reasons that necessitated a do-over. The filling was also far too sweet, and other than adding more powdered sugar, I couldn’t think of a way to make the filling firmer while reducing the sweetness.
The second time around, not wanting to waste more time and ingredients, I scaled down the filling, trying a few different variations in muffin-tin-sized tarts, mainly to check for overall sweetness and consistency.
The winner was actually the one with the fewest ingredients: with little more than peanut butter and white chocolate (shh, don’t tell Taylor!) and ground up peanut brittle for crunch. The filling doesn’t taste like white chocolate at all, but the white chocolate sets up beautifully when chilled and has a milder, less cloying sweetness than the powdered sugar version.
It’s also much easier to prepare than the buttercream version (which required a mixer) or the raw peanut version (which basically had you making fresh peanut butter from scratch).
I’m sure there’s a trick for keeping a chilled ganache shiny, but at this point I’m none the wiser. Maybe freezing the filling then letting the ganache cool to room temperature before freezing? Chilling at a slightly warmer temperature, in a wine fridge for example? If you’ve got a trick, please share!
In the end, the final result was perfection in terms of taste and texture, and I wasn’t going to bother to remake it yet again just so it’d be a little bit shinier.
The plain ganache top would be stunning on its own, but I topped my tart with a scattering of dark chocolate crispearls: crispy bits of cereal coated in dark chocolate for some added visual interest.
One of my favorite parts of the peanut butter filling is the crunch, which comes from finely chopped peanut brittle folded into the melted white chocolate and peanut butter (props to Bravetart for this idea). I also tried it with a leftover box of English toffee as well, although scraping off the chocolate from the chunks of English toffee is a little tedious for my liking. Peanut brittle is easy enough to find, either in a grocery, candy store or online in bulk.
In my quest for crunch I toyed with the idea of using feuilletine—a crispy, caramelized flakes often used by professional pastry chefs—but it wasn’t something easily purchased in less than commercial-kitchen-quantities and I didn’t really want to make it myself. Still, if you happen to have some or feel up to making it, I think it’d be a great alternative to the peanut brittle here.
Either way, the crunchy bits of caramelized sugar and peanut really make this tart a deligtful textural experience.
This is not the dessert to bring to a summer cookout where it will be sitting out at warm temperatures for hours. The filling is perfect after about 15 to 20 minutes at room temperature; much more than that and it starts to get too soft.
With that in mind, I recommend to keep the tart chilled until ready to slice and serve. Your ganache won’t be beautifully shiny when it comes out of the refrigerator, but a matte finish is better than a too-soft filling.
Crunchy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Tart
Like a giant peanut butter cup in tart form, this easy and impressive tart recipe features a crunchy peanut butter filling and creamy chocolate ganache nestled in a sweet and salty chocolate cookie crust.
- 6 ounces (about 30) chocolate wafer cookies, finely ground
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 ounce semisweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
For Peanut Butter Filling:
- 8 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
- 2/3 cup (7 ounces) creamy peanut butter
- 4 ounces peanut brittle, coarsely chopped
- 4 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate (50-70%), finely chopped
- 4 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature, cut into smaller pieces
- For crust, pulse cookies in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate in a microwave in 30 second bursts on half power until just melted. Stir until smooth. Pour into bowl with cookie crumbs and fold until evenly moistened.
- Dump crumbs into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Press firmly to pack the crust on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Use a tart tamper or a flat-bottomed measuring cup to help you compact the crumbs as firmly and evenly as possible.
- Freeze crust for 30 minutes to set.
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt white chocolate and peanut butter in a microwave in 30 second bursts on half power until just melted. Stir until smooth.
- Pulse peanut brittle in a food processor until somewhat finely chopped; there should be some crumbs and some large pieces, but ideally nothing bigger than a grain of pearl couscous. Add to melted white chocolate mixture and stir until evenly incorporated.
- Pour into frozen crust, spreading into an even layer. Return to freezer for another 30 minutes or until fully set.
- To prepare ganache topping, place finely chopped chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl.
- Warm cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it just begins to bubble around the edges (do not let it boil). Pour over chopped chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds.
- Gently whisk the warm cream and the chocolate, starting in the very center and stirring in a small circle until you have a pocket of shiny ganache. Then slowly expand your strokes in concentric circles until the rest of the cream is incorporated and the chocolate is fully melted. If your chocolate isn’t completely melted, place the bowl on top of a pot of gently simmering water for about 30 seconds just to warm it slightly; continue to slowly stir until chocolate is fully melted.
- Add butter, one piece at a time, slowly whisking until incorporated. You don’t want to whisk too fast or you risk breaking the ganache.
- Once ganache is smooth and butter is fully incorporated, pour ganache over top of frozen peanut butter filling, spreading it into an even layer. Tap the pan a few times on the countertop to remove any air bubbles. Decorate with crispearls or other decorations as desired.
- Refrigerate until ganache is fully set, at least 2 hours or overnight. Keep chilled; let come to room temperature for no more than 15 to 20 minutes prior to slicing and serving. Tart will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 1 week.
Did you make this recipe?
Let us know what you think!
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I couldn’t get the white chocolate to melt properly. The mixture was not the consistency of “pour” when I put it on the crust. Had to plop the mixture on and very gently spread so as to not pull up the crust. Any suggestions?
Once you add the toffee it is more of a spread-able mixture, vs say a ‘pourable’ liquid ganache. If your white chocolate wasn’t melting very well though, it’s likely you used white baking chips instead of high quality white chocolate, overheated it or got a drop of water in there somehow (causing it to seize/separate). White chocolate can be finicky that way!
So in order to keep your ganache shiny you can add a tbsp or two of a liquid sugar like corn syrup (which I hate) so I use golden syrup, honey or brown rice syrup.
For photography purposes only, spritz or dab with a tasteless oil like vegetable oil for the shine on chocolate. You’ll never taste the oil if you go lightly, it’s all for show
I am planning to make this tart and will need to order the crisp pearls online. Could you please let me know approximately how many grams/oz of these you have used for your tart?
I didn’t weight them, but guessing I didn’t use more than 1/4 cup or so. If you can find a spice-sized jar I think that would be plenty (but the ones I got came in rather large bags).
I made this today and served it for dinner. It is indeed a peanut butter cup, albeit a rather sophisticated one! The peanut butter crunch filling was divine. Having read the recipe description I was a little worried about the tart holding together, however I found it kept it’s shape long after it was removed from the fridge. I didn’t use the beautiful chocolate crisp pearls for decoration, I really couldn’t justify spending that amount of money for one dessert, so I used chocolate shavings instead. This recipe works!
Can you be more specific on the chocolate wafers? Like, preferred brand?
Nabisco Famous are the ones I use (amazon link right below the recipe). But you could also use oreos with the filling removed. :)
Hi Lindsay, would simply using a chunky peanut butter be a good replacement for the smooth peanut butter with brittle added in? Thanks!
Hi, can you tell me what type of peanut butter did you use? Something like JIF or a creamy all natural peanut butter? Thank you!
Pretty sure I used Trader Joe’s creamy pb here. Not quite as sweet as JIf.
Its gorgeous! I have a few questions: for the chocolate wafers cookies, could i just use scraped oreos?
Also my husband is allergic to peanuts (awful i know) but loved reeses before his allergy developed. We realized that sunflower butter is about a 98% match for flavor, but do you have any other recommendations for substitutes for the peanut brittle? I was thinking just almonds or pecans?
Yes! Naked oreos are the next best option for the crust. :)
And I haven’t tried it personally but I don’t see why sunflower butter wouldn’t work here. Same for another variety of nut butter or brittle.
Let me know how it turns out!
Beautiful pie, excellent recipe developlent chronicle. I don’t think the lack of sheen on your ganache is too worrisome as the crispy pearls are not shiny either. As to your ganache though: : have you tried upping your cream quantity? I learned it should be equal weight and I think yours is 8 oz chocolate and 4 oz cream. Also how about just using semisweet (I understand if you were trying to match the color of the crispy pearls), also, maybe adding a little light corn syrup?
The crispearls are gorgeous – just perfection!
And hey – extra goes at making things means extra chances to eat them – lol! Win Win!!!
Thank you for being so candid egarding the process of recope dev… Sometimes it is easy to forget how much hard work trial-and-error it said you’re going to perfecting a recipe to post. It is also a reality check for those of us who try to wing it on our own. So thank you, this looks delicious and I’m making it immediately
Your effort paid off – this is a beautiful peanut butter cup! I love the chocolate coated cereal puffs :) For shinier ganache, adding a bit of corn syrup or glycerin works well.
This looks so amazing. What are the chocolate pearls that are on top in the images?
They’re called crispearls… I linked to the product on Amazon in the post. :)
An eggless tart – be still my heart! Perfect for my chocolate peanut butter loving family – with an egg allergy.
Mary Berry would say, I think, that your cream is too hot when you make the ganache; I’ve heard her tell more than one contestant that on Great British Bake Off.
Shiny or not, I would DEMOLISH this. It’s gorgeous.
The ganache was just right, actually! The matte finish comes from refrigerating the tart (which is required to set up the peanut butter layer).
And trust me. We totally demolished it!
I meant BLOW torch…..
Maybe my blow torch is blue? lol.
I considered that, actually, but though it would soften the filling too much, not to mention melt the pretty chocolate pearls.
Hey if you want a ganache to shine just run a blue torch over it for a second when serving ?
This is absolutely stunning and as always, I truly appreciate reading about what you did, what worked, what worked great, what didn’t work at all, and why you are recommending the things that you are. Super informative and baking science will never get old :) Your photos never cease to amaze me!
This sounds heavenly. Peanut butter and chocolate is always a winning combination. Yum. Cheers sherry