Tuesdays with Dorie: Peanut Butter Torte

May 6, 2008 at 4:27 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 65 Comments

peanut butter torte

There are a few recipes in Baking: From My Home to Yours whose pictures and titles are so alluring, I’ve been surprised no one’s chosen them for TWD yet.  Well, the time has finally come for one of these, as Elizabeth of Ugg Smell Food has picked Dorie’s Peanut Butter Torte as our recipe of the week!  Kind of like the Snickery Squares, I think Dorie has played candy bar dress-up here, except this time the candy in question is a Reece’s cup.  I don’t mean to sound like a buzzkill, but the ingredient list is a little frightening, I have to tell you…Oreos, peanut butter, cream cheese, heavy cream, chocolate and peanuts.  April was my busiest posting month to date, so that means it was also a very busy eating month.  If I didn’t want to feel my heart racing (in a bad way) with each bite, I knew I had to tweak this torte a bit. 

It was a given that was not going to make a full-sized torte.  I rarely make a full-sized anything for the two of us.  My six-inch springform would be prefect for a half recipe, and I’d still get six pieces out of it, but even a half batch seemed like so much cream and peanut butter.  After some intense volume calculations (not really), I decided that I could still use my six-inch pan and get away with just a quarter recipe of the filling.  Sure, it wouldn’t be as high as the one in Dorie’s picture, but I didn’t mind if my torte looked more like a tart.

I am a peanut butter fanatic, and I love the sugary, salty, junky stuff.  I am sorry to say though that I don’t think the Aussie peanut butter is very good…it’s pale and doesn’t have peanuty specks in it.  That may explain why, according to an informal poll taken by yours truly, it doesn’t seem to be a popular food item here (I was even told by someone that my favorite lunch, PB&J, is gross!).  No matter–I’ve been “importing” my own peanut butter since my first trip back to the States.  My current PB of choice is reduced fat Jif (smooth, never crunchy) so that’s what I decided to go with in this torte. 

peanut butter torte

Back in the US, I wouldn’t think twice about swapping full fat cream cheese for the light Philly they label “Neufchâtel.”  Here, though, the light Philly doesn’t have the same consistency at all…it tastes good, but even straight out of the fridge, it’s incredibly soft.  Further inspection of the package says that it’s a blend of cream cheese and cottage cheese, so I guess that’s why.  I didn’t think my filling would set up properly if I used it, so I went with the light version of a New Zealand brand called Mainland.

I also decided that rather than using Oreos to make my crust, I’d save a few more fat grams and use some almond cookie crumbs that I had in the freezer already.  Adding cocoa powder turned them into chocolate crumbs. 

peanut butter torte

I’m happy to report that my filling set up nicely after several hours in the fridge, and although I can imagine how wonderful the full blown PB torte would be, the skimpy version was still great!  I loved the chocolate-peanut crunchy bits throughout the filling.  Now you know my tricks, but you can find the original version of this recipe in Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, and on Elizabeth’s site.  Don’t forget to go check out the TWD Blogroll!


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  1. Very yummy looking!
    Although the consistency of the low fat Australian cream cheese may not be good for baking I bet blending it with cottage cheese makes it way better for you then our approach of using chemicals to stabilize it 😦

  2. Your skimpy versino looks equally delicious to the full blown version. I also gawked at the inredient list and decided against making it sadly. I am the biggest peanut butter fan too but I just didn’t feel up to it. Stangely though, I made a similar dessert for my mom but with bitttersweet chocolate mousse and lady fingers. kind of the same, but not really… and we must rectify the peanut butter situation in Australia!

  3. i love that there are bloggers like you, half way ’round the world (from me) so that i can indulge in dorie posts a day early!! your torte looks delish!

  4. That does look over-the-top! But yummy!

  5. once again your torte looks fabulous! I love Pb, but have always wondered if they stuff we get here in NZ isnt as good as the US stuff – I know it’s not nearly as good as the pb we ate when we were in Europe and the UK

  6. Well done! I love all your lower fat substitutions. I’m with you, I never make a full recipe because there’s only two of us also. 🙂

  7. your torte looks amazing!! great job on making this one slightly more figure friendly 🙂

  8. That’s a mouth-watering torte! I hope I can make mine tomorrow, I’m sick as a dog at the moment 😦

  9. Your pictures look amazing! Good for you trying a reduced version – I really wish I liked this recipe – just not the biggest PB fan! hx

  10. Lovely lovely job! It is funny how week after week we begin to minimize the recipes for Tuesdays! Yours looks just delicious!!

  11. Your torte is rather handsome. Well done.
    I went the Australian Philly light route and it worked well. Your camera does great close-ups. Mine struggled a bit with the definition between the colours.

  12. Oh, one more thing. Coles sometimes has Smuckers Goober and Grape on the shelves. My husband thinks Grape flavoured anything is a crime against good taste. But, he also thinks syrup on bacon is terribly, terribly wrong. Most Australian’s don’t get the sweet and savoury thing together. When Matt is not looking I am teaching my sons to love PB& J.

  13. Ooo – almond cookie crumbs with cocoa sound delicious! I was looking for ways to make this healthier too, but just gave up, gave in, and went for it! Yours looks beautiful!

  14. You and my husband both – no crunchy only smooth PB! Your torte looks amazing! Great job 🙂
    Clara @ I♥food4thought

  15. your photos are fantastic!

  16. Wow! It looks great. I hope it was delicious with your modifications because it was divine in the full fat route!

  17. Your torte looks just like the one in the book! Perfect! Way to go on the calorie reduction attempts. I think my playing with it actually increased the calories…whoops!

  18. Your torte looks wonderful! I’m glad this recipe got chosen too!

  19. Looks great!

  20. Looks like it was torn out of the book. A lovely job.

  21. well that explains why low fat cream cheese is so grainy. I really do not like it at all. as for peanut butter, I admit I am not a fan. i much prefer vegemite :-} still i think your torte looks delicious.

  22. Looks really great! I had to pass on this one.

  23. Looks delicious! I love the fact that you used a 6-inch springform pan — I use one of those for the two of us a lot, too, and I have had this recipe bookmarked in BFMHTY for some time. Glad to know the reduction was pretty easy! –Amy

  24. Um, yeah. PERFECT! Great job.

  25. Wow, it looks great and you liked it!

    Ulrike from Küchenlatein

  26. Looks fantastic! I hear you about making a full size butter ball recipe!

  27. Looks great! Here here on the cookie crust.

  28. It’s so sinful I think I’ve gained 5 pounds just by looking at it. 🙂

    Just kidding – it looks wonderful, Steph.

  29. I need to try the less fat version…your pics are lovely and the torte looks absolutely PERFECT!!

  30. Wow, your crust looks great, all standing up tall on its own! Nice job!

  31. I Import my peanut butter too, because the peanut butter here in the UK is yukky in comparison. Your torte looks picture perfect! Well done!

  32. looks fabulous!

  33. I love your blog, art direction, photography and I’m sure the baking is beyond wonderful. Great.

  34. Wow! That looks wonderful. Your crust looks so perfect, too. I had problems with mine. 😦

  35. Looks delicious!

  36. That looks just like the picture in the book, well done!

  37. reduced fat jif is my pb of choice too. I love you pics! Great job on your torte!

  38. Yum! looks amazing!!

  39. steph that looks FAB!!! i love your lighter version, i went full force but halved the recipe and did individual tortes. next time i will try adapations..!

  40. Looks fantastic! Beautiful photos!

  41. Lovely torte! I also found when living in Australia that peanut butter was not that highly regarded, nor in S. Africa. When I first came to this country I couldn’t believe Americans ate peanut butter and jelly together. I am now completely won over.

  42. I love that you go through all the trouble to get “American” peanut butter! Funny! And how can PB&J be bad? I could eat it every day!!!

  43. Beautiful! I’m hooked on Australian Special K. Maybe we could set up a trade for U.S. peanut butter : )

  44. I love your photos! Your torte looks amazing!

  45. Your torte looks delicious! What a success! I am glad that looking doesn’t cost me any calories! I think that is what keeps me away from TWD!

  46. All of these torte photos are killing me. OMG.. so rich and delicious!
    Your torte looks fantastic. Well done.

  47. perfection! really, it looks wonderful!

  48. Great, great idea with the crust. I’ll bet it was really good. Beautiful job!

  49. Great write-up. I am envious you had such great results with all those substitutions. I wanted to modify it to make it lighter, but got lazy and just followed the recipe to the letter. It was insanely good, but I know all that goodness is now parked right on my tuckus.

  50. Yeah, your titles always look so perfect (AS DO YOUR DESSERTS…THE TORTE IS DEFINITELY A SHOWSTOPPER)…I’m sooo sorry I snagged the idea…mine looks so dumb compared to yours anyway!

  51. Beautiful! You always have such beautiful pictures and posts!

  52. It looks like the cover of a cook book! Great job on your cake.

  53. looks excatly like the one in the books. i should do mine soon

  54. It looks fabulous!

  55. Good for you for trying to make it less fattening! Great results, too. Almond cookie crumbs and cocoa look perfect.

  56. First time on your blog and simply loved your perfection

  57. Sounds like there’s a few challenges baking in Australia; had no idea but did you ever do a bang up job on this and I love the way you reduced some of that fat!

  58. it just looks amazing. my hubby is a peanut butter-chocolate freak. he would do just about anything for a slice of that thing!

  59. You should open your own bakery.

  60. Me again. I wanted to let you know I’ve given you an award. Go check it out on my blog (and a giveaway too!)

  61. re aussie-available peanut butter, try the Kraft crunchy – it will probably be more to your tastes! much more sugar and salt (but you know, owned by a tobacco company).

    also Mainland is totally NOT an Australian company! it is proudly Kiwi – haven’t you noticed the “your frend un thuh frudge” ads???

    anyway, apart from some national pride defense gripes, this torte looks really great! 😉

  62. Ohhh that crust looks to die for. Craving this so much….!

  63. annmartina: I didn’t realize Aussie Special K was different. I’ll have to try it out! I’m up for a swap anytime!

    Zoe: Thanks for the tip…I have tried Kraft smooth and didn’t like it, but haven’t tried crunchy. Sorry about the Mainland thing…my tub of cream cheese says on the side, “Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients,” and has an Aussie address, so I assumed it was. I haven’t seen that ad, but I will correct my post, so as not to further offend Kiwi national pride. 🙂

  64. your PB filling seemed to mound up nicely..mine was a little flat. it was still tasty though 🙂
    interesting to hear about the differences in food abroad…

  65. Living in Central America, I also struggle to find good cream cheese for cheesecakes. Every brand I’ve found that isn’t an expensive US import tastes like thick cream and has a similar consistency. Thankfully Jif is available, albeit expensive.

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