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And here’s my first Salient column, plus more pictures. I hope you appreciate the 70s wall paper in my chocolate melting pic (beach house cooking!).

Hello and welcome to ‘The Sweet Scoop’, Salient’s fortnightly baking column. Baking is often talked of as some mysterious art, and there are many people who say that they ‘just can’t bake’. In fact, it is just like finding Easterfield 201: all you need to do is follow directions and it give it a go. Over the next two trimesters, we’ll bake our way through cakes, tarts, puddings, and maybe even popcorn balls, always with easy and achievable recipes.

Today’s sweet treat is the peanut butter tart, built on that amazing combination of peanuts and chocolate. It’s of my favourite pairings of ingredients — the sweet pastry and bitter chocolate contrast perfectly with the velvety smooth peanut butter filling. Furthermore, these tarts are super easy to make: although there is some cooling time, the steps are all fast and simple. They travel well, and would grace any tea party, dinner, picnic, or bake sale.

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Peanut Butter Tarts (makes 12)

1.5 tablespoons smooth salted peanut butter

125g cream cheese

1/2 cup icing sugar

1/2 cup cream, plus 1 tablespoon

1/2 teaspoon butter

60g dark chocolate

12 pre-baked tart shells (sweet short pastry, 12x60mm, you can find these ready made in the supermarket, or make your own)

First, heat a pot of water to boiling, and sit a bowl over the top of it. Place the chocolate, butter and 1 tablespoon of cream in the bowl, and stir it until melted. Take teaspoons of the chocolate, and spoon into each tart shell. Smear it around the inside of the shell, thereby lining each one with chocolate. Cover, and place in the fridge for 30 – 60 minutes, or until the chocolate has hardened.

Prepare the tart filling by mixing the peanut butter, cream cheese, and icing sugar together in a food processor or by hand until smooth. Whip half a cup of cream until it’s very stiff, then fold it gently into the peanut butter mixture until fully combined. Chill, covered, in the fridge until the mixture hardens a little (about 20 minutes).

Remove the shells and filling from the fridge, and spoon the filling into the tart shells. You can decorate them with chocolate shavings, chocolate curls, or with chopped peanuts. For a gluten free alternative, serve the filling on its own, or with fruit.

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