Though I generally prefer dark chocolate, there’s no denying that milk chocolate pairs very well with certain flavors. Peanut butter and bananas, for example.
The recipe here is for a sort of ganache filling to which peanut butter has been added, resulting in something not so far from a Reese’s cup, at least in flavor. I think it’s best used for individual tart shells rather than a 9″ or 10″ pan, partly because it’s pretty rich but mainly because slicing the thing would be a nightmare; the ganache thickens as it cools to room temperature but remains a little loose, almost like pudding.
I tried using caramelized bananas in the tart but found that I preferred thinly sliced raw bananas. Banana haters can forgo the fruit altogether, I suppose, but I definitely recommend a little whipped cream on top, preferably unsweetened. if I were going to make a more formal dessert out of these tartlets I would add caramel sauce and some chopped toasted peanuts or (better yet) some crushed peanut brittle.
You should use the best chocolate you can afford here, but more importantly it should be a chocolate you like to eat. I used Valrhona.
As far as a crust is concerned, I used my usual pâte brisée, but you can use whatever pastry you like. The ganache can be made days in advance and stored in the fridge (or frozen for the long term) but you’ll need to bring it up to a warm room temp before filling the shells. I recommend making it earlier in the day you plan to use it and just keeping it out.
Of course, you don’t have to use this to fill tarts. I have used it to frost a banana cake, to top ice cream, to glue together sandwich cookies and as a filling for molded chocolates.
Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Filling
1 1/2 c (360 ml) heavy cream
8 oz (225 g) milk chocolate
1 3/4 oz (50 g) oz dark chocolate
4 oz (112 g) smooth peanut butter
a few drops vanilla extract
1. Chop the chocolates into pieces no bigger than 1/2″ and put in a bowl.
2. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it is steaming hot and just about to boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate, give the bowl a little shake so that the cream settles around all of the bits of chocolate and let it sit for a minute, then use a whisk to stir the mixture until the chocolate is melted and you have a homogeneous mixture (it may seem thin but will thicken, I promise).
3. Whisk the peanut butter into the warm ganache and add the vanilla. Let the filling cool thoroughly to room temperature. It will be thick and silky but easily spoonable.
To make banana tartlets, place a thin layer of sliced ripe banana in the bottom of each tart shell and top with the ganache. Serve with unsweetened whipped cream.
Yields enough filling for at least a dozen 3″ tartlets.