Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dessert with Ganache!

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I had a wonderful writerly get-together in Portland over the past few days. Charles Salzberg, honorary Red Jenny Milchman and I did a packed-to-the-rafters gig Thursday at Longfellow Books, one of our area's great indy bookstores. (The crowd was even more amazing when you consider they had to walk there through windchills of -15.) The next night, we hit an oyster bar with Charles' hosts, writer/blogger Brynne Betz and her partner John. It was a great dinner, sitting at picnic tables with kids and spouses, trading around traditional New England fare tapas-style.

But the best part of the evening was afterwards, at John and Brynne's house. Brynne had baked a dessert buffet to die for: coconut-covered carrot cake, dark chocolate layer cake with mocha frosting, and best of all? Homemade peppermint patties. I did the usual, "Oh, I'll just have a little slice," but after the first bite of carrot cake, I would have stabbed anyone who got between me and my plate. I was going to have a ladylike taste of one peppermint patty; I wound up eating five. My family's gratitude (or our grunts of pleasure as we wolfed down her baking) touched our hostess's heart, and she sent us home with two enormous slabs of cake and several patties, which, sad to say, didn't last very long.

I don't know if I have the patience to hand-dip each patty into a chocolate bath, but I do have a recipe that has all the basics of peppermint patties in an easy-to-make form. And, in honor of our own Lucy's upcoming Murder with Ganache, this delicious dessert uses - you guessed it - chocolate ganache!

Peppermint Patty Pie

1 graham cracker crust

3 c confectioners sugar
2 1/2 T butter
1/4 t vanilla extract
1 t peppermint oil or 1 T peppermint extract (you can also put in peppermint schnapps to taste along with the oil or extract. The oil give it a very sharp, pungent mint flavor.)
3 T whipping cream

8 oz or 1 1/2 c dark chocolate chips (I like Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate ones)
3/4 c whipping cream
1/4 c sugar

Cream together the confectioner's sugar, butter, vanilla extract and peppermint, adding the cream last. If you use a mixer, you can get it nice and smooth; if you're lazy like me, do it with a spoon. Is your family really going to complain about some lumps? It should have a paste-like consistency. 

On a baking cloth/wax paper/parchment, roll the filling into a circle sized to fit your crust. Put it in the crust (you will probably need to poke it here and there to make it fit well,) then chill in the frig while you make the ganache.
For the ganache: put the chocolate, cream and sugar in a double boiler (you don't have to have a fancy one; I literally use one pot inside another) and heat at medium until the chocolate melts. Whisk it silky-smooth, then remove it from the stove and let it cool for about fifteen minutes.

Take the crust + filling from the frig and pour the ganache over it. Replace in the frig for another half hour or until you can't stand the wait any more and you have to eat it. 

While you're enjoying your Peppermint Patty Pie, be sure to head over to Goodreads and enter the contest to get a copy of Lucy's Murder with Ganache. And at Lucy's Facebook page, you can enter to win a $25 bookstore gift card and a bundle of cozy mysteries!  


  1. How exciting to hear that the Longfellow Books event went so well . . .
    As for the peppermint patty pie, I am definitely making this! Thanks for the recipe . . . .
    Try pouring ganache over a pan of brownies for a special treat.

  2. Sounds like a fabulous event--and desserts to die for! and thank you so much for the sweet mention!

    Reds community is the best! xoxo

  3. Did you make ganache with panache?

  4. Sounds like such a fun event, Julia! Why doesn't my publisher ever seen me to Maine? Especially now that I have my down coat:-)

    Jack, too funny!

  5. Such delicious looking desserts!

    Since I've started being a regular on here in commenting, I just wanted to let you dear people know that I will be absent for a short bit. My 32-year-old nephew died during the wee hours of this morning, and I will be going to be with my brother and family. This nephew was a special one for me, and I will miss his sweet smile so much. It's not necessary to drag down the tone of this delightful post today by offering condolences. I just wanted you all to know why I would be missing this next week.

  6. Oh, Kathy, I'm so very sorry for your loss. I hope being with your family gives you comfort and that the memory of your nephew is a blessing and a joy.

  7. Kathy,

    Heartfelt sympathy to you on your loss.


  8. Kathy:
    So sorry for your loss . . . thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  9. I have read and totally enjoyed Murder with Ganache. The only challenge was I wanted the ganache the whole time!
    Now I can take care of that by making this recipe.
    A delicious book and a delicious pie!

  10. My mouth is watering. Must save recipe. Must not make every day....

  11. YUMMY! And that sounds absolutely perfect...

    Next time, Charles and Jenny and all the Reds! Love them both... xoox

  12. Oh, Kathy, I just read your post..I am so sad and so sorry... thinking of you with much affection and sorrow..

  13. Lucy, in your words, "Reds community is the best." I said there was no need to respond to my message, as I didn't want to intrude on the wonderful "Dessert with Ganache" post, but I should have known that you lovely people here would respond to my heartache with kind words of support. Thank you. I will be back in touch towards the end of the week. And, Lucy, I have Ganache ready to start.

  14. Kathy, I am new to meet you, but so sorry to hear about your loss. It sounds like your nephew will be greatly missed by many.

    This was a wonderful night, a celebration of books and friendship...and dessert, of course. Thank you, Julia, for sharing it. Many congratulations to Lucy.

    And here's to more such nights in good times and hard. The Jungle Red Writers is like one big cyber celebration of all of the above.

  15. Kathy, so sorry to hear of your heartbreaking loss. I will be thinking of you.

  16. Julia,

    I didn't know you could make peppermint patties at home! I don't dare make the pie, but I think making the patties is a great idea—but just a few so we can share and keep from over indulging.

    All the recipes look fantastic. I've collected more recipes here on Jungle Reds than in any one place.

    Thank you!