Halloween is almost here and the bags of candy are aplenty. I'm taunted by well stocked shelves and overflowing bins whenever I walk into the market. And not to mention the bags, bowls and jars at the office. But I'm not complaining. I love a box of tombstone and scary cat shaped SweetTarts as much as the next gal. I do have some preferences when it comes to big-brand Halloween candy however. I will always choose sour candy over chocolate candy. I prefer the miniature sized candy bar over the fun size. I only eat the Special Dark from the Hershey's miniatures variety pack. I never eat candy corn and it takes me more than three licks to get to the center of my Tootsie Roll Pop.
Aside from the sour candies, Reese's peanut butter cups are my favorites. I never, ever eat the regular sized ones but I love the teeny-tiny-mini ones sold in bags. I think there's something about the ratio of chocolate coating to peanut butter filling that I find more appealing in the mini than in the regular ones. Oh, how I wish they would make it with dark instead of milk chocolate!
So when I saw this chocolate glazed peanut butter tart in an old issue of Fine Cooking magazine, I knew I had to make it. I mean, the tart looks like a Reese's peanut butter cup! All I have to say is omigoodess! The filling is an amazingly decadent peanut butter pastry cream. Peanut butter pastry cream – a phrase that I have never uttered before tasting this luscious creation but will forever speak with the utmost reverence. Can you tell how much I loved this tart? The peanut butter pastry cream filling was topped off with a rich chocolate glaze. You could gild the lily and add a dollop of lightly whipped cream too. Heaven on a plate!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart
1 cup finely ground chocolate wafers
(I used Trader Joe's brand "oreos" – just the wafers not the cream filling. Feel free to use chocolate graham crackers or Nabisco chocolate wafers. I used a food processor to grind my wafers, but crushing them in a zip top bag with a rolling pin works well too.)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 ounces (3 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, mix cookie crumbs and sugar with a fork until well mixed. Drizzle butter and mix until crumbs are moistened. Press crumbs evenly into a 9 1/2 - inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake crust for about 10 minutes until fragrant. Let crust cool completely before filling.
Peanut Butter Filling
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp salt
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 tsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cookie crust, baked & cooled (see recipe above)
3 ounces semi or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 ounces (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp light corn syrup
To make the filling
In a medium saucepan, bring milk and salt to a simmer. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, brown sugar and flour. Whisking constantly, slowly ladle in half of the hot milk over the egg mixture. Pour mixture back into the remaining milk in the pan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 4 minutes. Continue to cook, still whisking constantly, for 1 more minute. Remove pan from heat and whisk in peanut butter and vanilla.
Pour hot filling into cooled crust and spread evenly. Carefully press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the filling (to prevent a skin from forming). Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before glazing.
To make the glaze and finish the tart
Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler over medium heat. Stir corn syrup into the melted mixture until smooth. Remove plastic from chilled tart. Carefully pour the hot glaze over the filling and spread evenly to cover the filling. Refrigerate the tart for 30 minutes before serving.