Books and Cooks

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Pies & Tarts


This chocolate peanut butter pie was included in Food & Wine’s Best of the Best cookbook compilations. The creator of the pie says that this pie is always included in her restaurant, The Loveless Cafe in Nashville.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
If you’re looking to indulge, or simply to drool over some gorgeous photos of desserts, I highly recommend checking out Eva Bakes. I first teamed with Eva when she reached out about doing a bake along from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook. She ended up with a perfectly formed rum cake. I ended up with one that fell apart and turned into a rum cake trifle. Since then, I’ve watched her post baked goods that I’ve consistently bookmarked and added to the stack of recipes I had to try.  Eva, thanks for joining me and my readers today! I can’t wait to try out this recipe as well!

Hi everyone! My name is Eva, and I blog over at Eva Bakes. I want to thank Liz for allowing me guest post on her blog today.

I’m willing to bet that most of you reading this are peanut butter fans. Am I right? How about chocolate peanut butter? That’s supposed to be the ultimate peanut butter combination, as I hear. Well, I am one of those very strange birds that doesn’t like peanut butter. This has nothing to do with allergies. I just don’t like the taste or texture of peanut butter. That’s OK – more for you.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Anyway, my husband bought me a cookbook by Food & Wine called Best of the Best. It’s a compilation of the 25 best cookbooks they found in 2012 (yes, I know… I am making this recipe 3 years late. Sigh). Since I am a dessert blogger, I went straight to the dessert section.

Since my husband is a peanut butter fanatic, I wanted to make this pie for him. He was gone on a business trip for a few days, and my 4-year and I decided to surprise him with this pie. The pie was actually easier than I imagined to put together and didn’t take as much time as I originally thought. When my husband returned from his trip, he was excited to find this pie in the refrigerator and asked when he would be able to eat a slice.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

If you enjoyed this recipe or are a fan of sweets, I hope you’ll stop by my blog sometime and check out all my desserts!

Chocolate peanut butter pie


  • 1 cup graham cracker or vanilla wafer crumbs (you can use chocolate sandwich cookies too)
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (do not use natural or homemade)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs


  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped finely
  • 1 cup heavy cream


Make the crust: Process the crumbs in a food processor or high-powered blender. If you don’t have either of these, you can put the cookies in a zip-top bag and crush them with a rolling pin or other cylinder-like object (like a bottle of wine). Transfer to a medium bowl and add the sugar. Mix well. Then add the melted butter and mix until the crumbs resemble wet sand. Transfer the crumbs to a 9-inch pie pan and press the crumbs on the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Make the filling: In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, corn syrup, cream, peanut butter and vanilla until smooth and free of lumps. Add the eggs until well incorporated and pour the batter into the prepared crust.

Bake in your preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until the edges are puffy and the center is soft (it may appear underbaked, which is OK).

Allow the pie to cool while you prepare the ganache.

Make the ganache: Placed the chopped chocolate in a medium sized bowl. Microwave (or heat in a saucepan) the heavy cream until very hot. Pour over the chopped chocolate and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes. Whisk the cream and chocolate together until smooth. Pour this over the pie. If desired, garnish with chopped peanuts. Allow the pie to cool and the ganache to set completely. You can also serve with dollops of whipped cream.

Any leftover pie should be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for several days.

Yield: One 9-inch pie, about 8-10 servings

Source: Slightly adapted from Alisa Huntsman, via Food & Wine: Best of the Best; pages 105-106

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie on Books n' Cooks
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I bookmark a lot of recipes. A LOT. Way more than I ever get to make.

It’s sad really. There are so many fabulous sounding recipes out there and because of time, energy, various dietary restrictions, general pickiness… I only get to try a small fraction of those that I bookmark, and often a long time after I bookmarked it. This recipe (and the last recipe I blogged) were both on my to-make list for over two years. It’s such a shame that I am not able to spend more time in the kitchen because both recipes were winners in my book.

This blackberry coconut macaroon tart tasted amazing. I loved the coconut taste but I’ve never thought to pair a berry with it. The burst of freshness from the blackberry was refreshing, but, I’m happy to say, didn’t outshine the wonderful coconut flavor. My only complaint about the tart was that it was very crumbly. I noted in the directions below where I’d add a little extra butter to help remedy the problem.

Since I’ve recently pulled two (fabulous) recipes buried deep within pages of bookmarks, I thought I’d ask whether there are any recipes that took you forever to make, that you loved once you did get around to making it? Are there any recipes that you’ve had bookmarked forever, and still haven’t gotten around to making? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Blackberry Coconut Macaroon Tart

Blackberry Coconut Macaroon Tart

Adapted from Super Natural Every Day (by Heidi Swanson) via Smitten Kitchen

Makes 1 tart

Ingredients for the Crust:

  •  1 c. plus 2 Tbs. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. plus 1 Tbs. unsweetened finely shredded coconut (I found it in the organic food aisle)
  • 1/2 c. plus 1 Tbs. natural cane sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw)
  • Heaping 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 6 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted (more if your dough doesn’t come together)
  • Additional unsalted butter for greasing the pan

Ingredients for the Filling: 

  • 1 1/2 c. unsweetened finely shredded coconut
  • 6 Tbs. natural cane sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  •  6 oz. fresh blackberries

Make the Crust: Ensure a rack is positioned in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom with parchment paper. Generously grease the parchment paper and sides of the pan. 

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, coconut, sugar and salt. Stir in melted butter until well combined. If your crust is too dry, add 1-2 Tbs. more melted butter (add 1 Tbs. at a time). Press into prepared ban so that mixture firms a solid layer across the bottom, like shortbread.

Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile prepare the topping. Stir together coconut, sugar and egg whites.

When crust has cooled slightly, scatter blackberries evenly over the crust. Using your fingers, dollop topping around and over blackberries. Make sure at least some blackberries remain at least partially uncovered.

Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, until tart is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.

Serve at room temperature.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

My hubby’s family does pecan pie and pumpkin pie every Thanksgiving. For Christmas, my mother-in-law makes piles upon piles of her “candies,” my favorites being the peanut butter balls and the Oreo truffles. My family makes this. At both. Because it’s just that good, and we only can enjoy cranberries for so long.

A cranberry pear tart. It’s bright pink. It’s a little tart from the cranberries, but the pear mellows it out. But my favorite part is that little half a teaspoon of cardamon that’s in the fruit filling. So little spice but so much flavor. Cardamom is really an underused spice, but it really makes this tart stand out from almost all other pies and tarts that I’ve ever had. So snag the last bag of cranberries from your local grocer (and maybe an extra bag for the freezer) and give this tart a shot

Cranberry Pear Tart

Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 74 p. 71 (also online here)

Ingredients for the Walnut Shortbread Crust:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 Tbs. half-and-half
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in. cubes
  • 1/3 c. walnuts, toasted and finely chopped (I use the food processor)

Ingredients for the Cranberry Pear Filling:

  • 3 large ripe pears, such as Anjou or Bartlett
  • 2 c. fresh cranberries, picked through and rinsed
  • 1 Tbs. brandy
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp.  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Ingredients for the Crumble Topping:

  • 1/3 c. plus 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Make the Walnut Shortbread Crust:

  1. Ensure a rack is in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
  2. In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter one piece at a time, pulsing until mixture resembles peas. With the mixture running, slowly add egg yolk, half-and-half, and vanilla. Allow food processor to run until dough just starts to come together, 10-20 seconds. Transfer dough to bowl.
  3. Add walnuts to dough in bowl. With your hands, mix in walnuts. Dough will be crumbly.
  4. Turn out dough into a 9 1/2-in. round fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press dough up first against the sides and then against the bottom to form a 1/4-in. thick crust.
  5. Pierce dough on the bottom of the tart pan with a fork, and then freeze for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from freezer and set dough on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, until crust begins to darken and bottom is set. Transfer to a cooling rack and lower temperature to 350°F.

Make the Fruit Filling & Crumble Topping:

  1. Prepare the fruit: Peel pears. Quarter them, core, and cut into 1/4-in. thick slices. Coarsely chop cranberries in a food processor.
  2. Assemble the filling: In a medium bowl, toss pears, cranberries, and brandy. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to fruit mixture and toss until all fruit is evenly coated. Spoon fruit into pie crust, evening it out and patting it down slightly with a spoon.
  3. Make the Crumble Topping: In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add melted butter and vanilla. Combine with a spoon (or your fingers) until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on top of fruit.
  4. Bake for 50 minutes, until fruit is tender and the topping and edges of crust are beginning to brown. Remove from oven and set on a baking rack to cool.

Storage: Store at room temperature, covered in plastic wrap. Tart will keep 2-3 days.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A friend made this recipe a couple years ago, my first ever pecan pie. Now that I’m in charge of Thanksgiving desserts, I figured we’d gift it a whirl for myself. The pie was good – it was all gone!

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Adapted from: Betty Crocker

Ingredients for the Crust:

* 1 c. all-purpose flour
* 1/4 tsp. table salt
* 1/3 c. plus 1 Tbs. shortening
* 2-3 Tbs. cold water

Ingredients for the Pecan Filling:

* 2/3 c. sugar
* 1/3 c. butter or margarine, melted (I used 1/4 c. unsalted butter, see note below)
* 1 c. corn syrup
* 2 Tbs. bourbon (optional)
* 1/2 tsp. table salt
* 3 eggs
* 1 c. pecan halves or broken pieces
* 1 c. (or 1 6 oz. bag) semisweet chocolate chips

Note: Betty Crocker says you can decrease the butter to 1/4 a cup and the pecans to only 1/2 a cup if you wanted to make this recipe a bit healthier. Nutrition information, compliments of Betty Crocker, is based on full portions of both ingredients.

Make the Crust:

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Combine flour and salt. Then, using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until combined. The mixture will be slightly lumpy.

Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, “tossing” with a fork after each addition. The dough should be moist and will leave the sides of the bowl. If necessary, add an extra teaspoon of water.

Lightly flour the countertop. Pull dough into a ball and flatten on the prepared counter. The directions said to….. Roll the dough into a circle that is 2 inches larger than the upside-down pie plate (about 9 inches around) and then transfer to pie plate. Press dough against the bottom and sides. Leave a 1-inch overhang around the pie plate, and trim the rest off. Fold or roll the 1-inch overhang so that the dough is even with the plate….

But I had trouble rolling the dough, so instead flattened it as much as possible with my hand, and then manually fitted dough to the pie plate. It wasn’t the prettiest pie crust, but it was still nice and flaky, and was actually my favorite part!

Set the pie crust aside (nope, don’t bake yet!)

Make the Filling:

In another bowl, beat the butter, sugar, corn syrup, bourbon, salt and eggs until combined.

With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in pecans and chocolate chips. Pour filling into prepared pie crust.

Cover edge of pie with a 2-3 inch strop of foil to prevent burning. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until pie is set. Remove the foil after about 30 minutes of baking.

Let the pie cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until chilled, before serving.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

My tarte tatin wasn’t as pretty as the photo in the magazine, but it was quite tasty. Almost the whole dish was gone, and I had one request for the recipe.

Since I had burnt caramel earlier that morning, I was nervous about caramelizing the pears. I probably didn’t actually get to the caramel state with the sugar and water. After baking, it was a bit watery, but I poured off the excess so that it didn’t get soggy (the dessert had to sit out several hours before I would serve it) and still ended up with a great dish!

Pear Tarte Tatin 5

Pear Tarte Tatin with Almond Pastry

Fine Cooking No. 23, reprinted in Big Buy

Ingredients for the Pastry:

  • 1 c. cake flour
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into large pieces
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed ground almonds
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 3 Tbs. heavy cream

Ingredients for the Caramelized Pears

  • 3 lbs. pears (about 6 large), peeled, halved, and cored
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger tossed with 1 tsp. sugar (I used dried ginger)
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter

Make the Pastry:
In a food processor, combine the flour, butter, salt, and sugar. Pulse briefly until the mixture has pea-size lumps and the rest looks like cornmeal. Add the almonds and pulse for just another second. Mound the mixture on a work surface, make a well, and pour the egg yolk and cream into the center. Continue mixing the ingredients until you have a “shaggy dough” (mine was quite thick and sticky, and reminded me of the dough used in scones). Knead the dough just until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Caramelize pears: Cut the pears lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Toss Pear Tarte Tatin 1them with the ginger-sugar mixture (1 Tbs. ginger and 1 tsp. sugar). Heat a 9-inch cast-iron pan with an ovenproof handle over medium-high heat. Add the sugar and water swirl the pan to combine. Watch the sugar syrup carefully as it bubbles. When it turns light brown, add the butter and cook, stirring gently with a wooden spoon, until the caramel is an even, deep brown. (Mine never browned, as I said above, but it did get to a candy-like state when it cooled. I ended up reheating it and using it anyway, even though I knew it wasn’t caramel.) Remove the pan from the heat and let the caramel cool slightly. Carefully arrange the pear slices in the caramel in a single concentric layer. Top with additional pear slices, continuing the circular pattern until the pears reach the top of the pan. (Pear slices will shrink as they cook.) Return the pan to medium-high heat and cook until the pears on the bottom layer are fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly while you roll out the dough.

Make Tarte Tatin: Heat oven to 450. Roll the dough on a floured surface into a 10 1/2-inch round. Either pick the dough up with your hands or roll the dough onto the rolling pin to move it to pan. Drape sough over the pan of pears to cover. Fold the extra dough onto itself to form rough border. Press the crust down onto the pears to compress them slightly.

Lower oven temperature to 400F. Bake the tarte until the pastry is crisp and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Carefully invert the tarte onto a serving plate with a rim to catch the caramel. Pour any caramel that stays in the pan over the tarte. (Again, my “caramel” was much more watery that caramel, so I poured off excess caramel so that the pastry crust didn’t get too soggy before serving.)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


This summer, I found a fantastic recipe (and photo) for a chocolate ganache, by Kraft Foods. It’s as easy as a dessert can get, and tastes absolutely decadent. It takes about 15 minutes to make (no oven!), and then chills for a couple hours. I’ve included the original recipe below, a Raspberry Chocolate Ganache, as well as my variations at the bottom.


  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 c. whipping cream
  • 6 Tbs. seedless raspberry jam, divided
  • 1 Oreo pie crust, premade or homemade
  • 2 c. fresh raspberries
  • 1 Tbs. water

Make the Chocolate Ganache: Put chocolate and whipping cream in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and continue microwaving for 30 seconds until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from microwave and whisk together to combine. Whisk in 2 Tbs. of the raspberry jam. Pour into prepared crust and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Top the Ganache: Arrange berries on top of ganache. In a small bowl, microwave remaining 4 Tbs. jam and 1 Tbs. water for 30 seconds. Stir until combined. Drizzle over raspberries.

Store in the fridge until serving.

My (Tested) Variations:

  • Blackberry / blueberry jam with fresh blueberries on top
  • Kahlua Chocolate Ganache: A couple tablespoons of Kahlua baked into the ganache instead of the jam. Instead of fruit on top, a Kahlua whipped cream. (I’d also like to try this with Bailey’s.)
Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Books n’ Cooks is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. Some links on Books n’ Cooks may be affiliate links – links books and kitchen supplies that I love and would recommend. If you click on the link and purchase, I make a very small percentage (at no additional cost to you!) which goes towards maintenance of this blog. Thanks for your support!

Sunday Supper Movement