Spring has sprung at the Schmautzhaus and, here in the Sierras the weather is bi-polar. One day it’s beautiful, warm and calling me to open the windows. The next day the clouds roll in, the lighting and thunder and hail and rain come pouring down and the heater comes back on.
This is the time of year when I long for warmer days and for our yard to stop looking like an abandoned lot. But we have a saying here in the mid-Sierras, “It always snows on the Dogwoods.” So, until the Dogwoods bloom and then it snows on them, winter is not over. We have had as much as 20″ of snow in April in some years. You just never know about April in the Sierras.
However, Obie T. Dogg and I did get out last week to scout around for a good place for an outdoor engagement photo shoot. We found a couple of great locations, including one of my favorite ponds.
You can see a storm on the horizon and I thought it would be a rainy, miserable day for the photo shoot, but it was wonderfully warm (69-70) and a little cloudy on the day of the shoot. We couldn’t put the shoot off because the young man was in the Air Force and he was scheduled to go oversees this week. But, God smiled on the photo shoot and we got some great pictures for this very special young couple.
And since the trees were beginning to flower, we found another wonderful country road location.
It was a wonderful photo shoot. I would like to thank this young man and his fiance for their sacrifice and service to our country and for giving me the honor of doing their engagement pictures. I wish him Godspeed as he leaves his family to serve us overseas. (Yes!Chef! helped me out by becoming my Sherpa and shlepping my equipment around. He also held the reflector for me. He is just so versatile.)
Spring being what it is, the storm moved in on Easter Day. Yes!Chef! cooked a ham with Potatoes Gratin and Green Beans. Our daughter made the wonderful desert. And it was as delicious as it looks. The flavor is full of peanut butter, but it is light as a cloud. And, from what I could tell by watching my daughter make the dessert, it was pretty simple.
I added a few chopped up salted peanuts to the top for a little saltiness and crunch, although, my daughter used chunky peanut butter in the recipe, so there was some crunch inside the mousse layer. The graham cracker crust was crispy and the chocolate ganache layer made the whole thing taste like a Reese’s Peanut butter Cup.
My daughter got the recipe here.
Bon Appétit | August 2006
yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings
active time: 35 minutes
total time: 2 hours
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 7 whole graham crackers, coarsely broken
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 1 1/3 cups bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (about 8 ounces)
- 2/3 cup plus 1 3/4 cups chilled whipping cream, divided
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 6 ounces (1 cup) peanut butter chips
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned style or freshly ground)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish with nonstick spray. Blend graham crackers, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar in processor until moist clumps form. Press crumb mixture over bottom and up sides of prepared pie dish. Bake crust until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine chocolate chips, 2/3 cup cream, corn syrup, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium heat until chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Whisk until melted and smooth. Spread chocolate mixture over bottom of crust. Freeze 10 minutes.
Microwave peanut butter chips and 3/4 cup cream in large microwave-safe bowl on medium heat at 15-second intervals just until chips soften, stirring often. Whisk in peanut butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cool to barely lukewarm. Beat remaining 1 cup cream and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl until very thick but not yet holding peaks; fold into peanut butter mixture in 3 additions. Spoon mousse over chocolate layer. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
As I mentioned above, my daughter used chunky peanut butter in the recipe, but smooth would work well, also. She wanted to rename it Aly’s Fat Bottom Peanut Butter pie because if you eat too much of it, you might get a fat…well, you know what I’m talking about. I think you and your family will enjoy it anyway.
While I was photographing the dessert for this post, someone (looking suspiciously like my youngest son) tried to enjoy some more of the pie right in the middle of the shoot. I would have had more photos, but the pie disappeared along with a few prop candies pretty quickly. Frankly, I think I was lucky to get these few photos.