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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

The fastest of final courses

With Halloween being tomorrow, it’s no wonder my mind has turned to many people’s favorite course of a meal, dessert. To me, a meal is not complete until dessert has been eaten. From pies and cakes to mousses and ice cream, dessert is the courser that most anticipate the most.

Today, I want to use some of my favorite ingredients to make some of the tastiest final courses you have ever eaten. The first recipe is a classic combination of chocolate and caramel in a mousse. The second one is a traditional pie using a family favorite ingredient, peanut butter. Who’s ready to cook? Let’s head to the kitchen!

Chocolate and caramel are a great combination. From candy bars to pies, this combination is a sweet lover’s delight. Combining these flavors into a mousse makes for a perfect way to end a meal. I think your dinner guest will agree.

Chocolate Caramel Mousse

4 tablespoons water

9 ounces sugar

3 1/2 ounces butter

7 ounces heavy cream

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 cups heavy cream (whipped)

Place sugar in medium size sauce pot with water. Be sure that all sugar is wet and the sides of the pot are clean of water.

Place over medium-high heat, boil sugar until it begins to turn amber in color. At this point, remove from heat and add butter slowly, mixing well until all of the butter is incorporated into sugar.

Next add heavy cream, mixing well until all cream in incorporated.

Add both chocolates, mix well until completely melted. Let the mixture cool for three hours.

After mix is cool, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks and fold into caramel chocolate mix slowly.

Let chill for two hours and serve.

My love of peanut butter is a family affair. My mother used to buy peanut butter in a 5 pound tub. It wouldn’t last long in my house. To this day, it’s hard to pass by the pantry without taking a spoonful of peanut butter with me. Here is a more conventional way to use this wonderful spread.

Peanut Butter Cream Pie

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

2 tablespoon milk

1 quart heavy cream, whipped until thick

1 baked Graham Cracker Crust (recipe follows)

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the powdered sugar until creamy. Add the peanut butter and milk; beat well.

Beat half of the whipping cream into the peanut butter mixture and spoon into the pie crust, smoothing out the top. Refrigerate at least 1 hour until set.

To serve, spoon some of the remaining whipped cream over each wedge of pie, and top with peanuts and chocolate curls.

Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350℉.

Combine the ingredients thoroughly and press into a 9-inch pie pan. Bake until golden and crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

There’s a popular saying, “Life is short. Eat dessert first!” Since I’m not a pastry chef, this is a saying I really can’t get behind. I feel that having the right dessert to compliment the entrée increases the gratification of the meal. Sometimes, however, when the day is not going the way you had hoped, dessert is a great way to start. The comfort of the sweetness brings you back to your childhood and many fond memories. In my opinion, dessert is the ultimate comfort food.

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