The difference between success and failure can often be humility. There is a fine line between unique and weird, there is also a fine line between confidence and ego. Careful that you don’t cross it, because as soon as you do the path could easily lead to failure.
~ Brad Moore
Back in January, I came across this jawdropping dessert on Making Life Delicious blog and what it was essentially was a pie baked inside a decadent chocolate cake. The Chocolate Pecan PieCake was made to celebrate in the new year and the recipe was posted on January 1st, 2011 (1/1/11). It was over-the-top special, yet in my mind the dessert oscillated back and forth in between OMG! and WTF??
The banana peanut butter pie-making process
That piecake has fascinated as well as haunted me for nearly 6 months, and today I finally broke down and gave in to the obsession. I thought about recreating the same pecan piecake recipe but as it turned out, there were some hitches. I didn't have any pecans for a start, and neither did I have a shallow pie pan that fitted right smack in the middle of a larger round baking pan. As if that was going to stop me, though. I did have bananas and that ever staple jar of peanut butter, and I did own a mini-pie/tart baking tray.
So under the duress of having to improvise, I decided to make the second most eccentric thing from the piecake...ie. piecupcakes. Yes, those tiny pies would fit just nicely inside regular cupcakes!
The concept was easy enough to understand and execute. The mini banana and peanut butter cream pies were baked first. Once they were cooked and cooled, they were placed over a tablespoonful of chocolate cake batter (mainly composed of cocoa, strong coffee and melted chocolate...oh heaven on earth!). The pies were then topped with another spoonful of cake batter and baked. When cooled, they were frosted...no, slathered with chocolate ganache. Then it was time to serve and reveal the hidden surprise in the cupcake!
I wish it seemed more complicated than that, but it wasn't. In fact, once I baked and tasted and doled out these piecupcakes, the eccentricity seemed to disappear or maybe they just grew on me. This is slightly scary to admit, but these piecupcakes may be my new normal. The peeps at home certainly enjoyed them, and in return I enjoyed seeing their faces light up as they discovered the hidden banana peanut butter pies. The exact same expression they have whenever they've opened up a special gift and it was something they'd always wanted. Worth the craziness, don't you think?
Makes: 15 PieCupcakes
Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter PieCupcake
Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter PieCupcake
125g all-purpose flour
64g cold butter, cut into cubes
1/2 egg, beaten lightly (use other 1/2 for filling below)
Banana Peanut Butter Pie Filling
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 egg, beaten lightly
1 -2 bananas, sliced into 15 pieces
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (125g) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
3oz (85g)dark chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled
160g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1. Crust: Cut the cold butter into the flour in a bowl until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add ½ the beaten egg and knead into a pliable, non-sticky dough. Refrigerate for 15 minutes before using. Preheat the oven to 200C.
2. Form 1-inch round balls from the dough and press into the bottom and sides of the mini-pie cups. Trim excess dough from the tops with a knife. Don’t worry if the edges are not perfect, as these pies will be inside the cupcakes anyway. Chill the tray in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
3. Filling: Place the cream, peanut butter and remaining egg in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Take a heaped teaspoon of filling and spoon into a piecrust. Top with a slice of ripe banana and sprinkle the top with caster sugar. Bake pies for 15 minutes until the custard just sets. Leave to cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes.
4. Cupcake: Turn oven temperature down to 180C. Mix cocoa, coffee in the hot water and stir until dissolved. Add the cold water and vanilla, stir and set aside.
5. In a bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
6. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Then whisk in the cooled melted chocolate. Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the wet cocoa-coffee mixture. Whisk under low speed until well incorporated.
7. Take a tablespoonful of cake batter and place in a muffin cup. Place a mini-pie on top and press gently down so the batter rises up halfway around the pie. Top with another tablespoonful of batter and smooth down over the pie to cover it completely. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the tops of the cupcakes are firm and springy to the touch. Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before frosting.
8. Ganache: Heat the heavy cream in a small pan on medium heat until it just starts to boil (or microwave on high for 1 minute). Take the pan off the heat and pour cream over the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Leave the mixture to sit for about 2 minutes, then whisk quickly to smoothen out the ganache. Take a piecupcake and dip the top into the ganache. Shake off excess ganache and leave to set on a cooling rack or in the fridge before serving.