I’ve been making this chocolate-peanut butter tart ever since Rose’s book came out–one year before I started Leite’s Culinaria! It was a staple of our entertaining table for a couple of years, which really isn’t so surprising considering The One’s favorite sweet combo is chocolate and peanut butter. He used to beg me to make it, and, of course, I’d shrug my shoulders and pretend to be disinterested, just to torture him, and then, in the end, carry one aloft into the dining room.

But over the past decade, various lovelies of the baking persuasion have lured me away, and this tart recipe, sadly, fell out of rotation. That was until Renee suggested we tip our hat to National Peanut Butter Day, which is January 24th. “I have the perfect recipe to celebrate with,” I said. While preparing the tart for the photo above, the whole shebang went off without a hitch, her meticulous instructions were like a siren whispering in my ear. Ah, the joys of an elegant and clearly written recipe.

–David Leite


You may be wondering why in baking, and in this recipe, in particular, measurements are so strictly measured. Like Rose Levy Beranbaum’s half an egg directive in the peanut butter crust, for instance. How can half an egg make a difference? Well, first, that’s just Rose. Second, that’s what’s made her such a standout cookbook author, and why mess with something that works? Baking, more than cooking, is scientific and you need the exact proportions to make things work.  The good news? That peanut butter crust recipe can easily be doubled and the second crust frozen for later. You’re welcome.

A slice of chocolate peanut butter tart with a cookie crust, peanut butter mousse filing, and a chocolate ganache topping

A slice of chocolate peanut butter tart with a cookie crust, peanut butter mousse filing, and a chocolate ganache topping

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mousse Tart

5 / 12 votes
For this chocolate-peanut butter tart, a delicate cookie crust cradles a lighter-than-air peanut-butter mousse and a chocolate ganache topping. Rose Levy Beranbaum’s classic tart is always a showstopper.
David Leite
Servings10 servings
Calories312 kcal
Prep Time35 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time2 hours 50 minutes


For the peanut butter mousse

  • 7 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, softly whipped

For the milk chocolate ganache


Make the peanut butter mousse

  • In the bowl of a standing mixer, preferably fit with the whisk beater, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar just until the mixture is uniform in color. Reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla. Beat in 1/4 cup of the whipped cream just until it is incorporated. With a large rubber spatula, fold in the rest of the whipped cream, mixing until the mixture is well blended but still airy.
  • Scrape the mousse into the sweet peanut butter cookie tart crust and smooth the surface so that it is level. (If the dough is rolled to the exact thickness specified, the filling and ganache amounts will be exact. If the dough is rolled a little thicker, there will be a little leftover filling and ganache.) Refrigerate the tart while preparing the ganache.

Make the ganache topping

  • Break the milk and bittersweet chocolates into several pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor fit with the metal blade. Process until the chocolate is very finely ground.
  • Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a heatproof glass measure in the microwave. With the food processor’s motor running, pour the hot cream through the feed tube into the chocolate mixture. Process until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl once or twice, about 15 seconds. Add the vanilla and pulse a few times to incorporate it. Dump the ganache to a bowl. Cool to room temperature.

Assemble the tart

  • Pour the ganache over the peanut butter mousse in a circular motion, being careful so that it does not land too heavily in any one spot and cause a depression in the mousse. Using a small metal spatula, start to spread the ganache to the edges of the pastry, then spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of the tart. If desired, make a spiral pattern by lightly pressing the spatula against the surface and running it from the outside of the tart to the center. Refrigerate the tart for at least 2 hours to set or up to 5 days. (You can wrap the tart well and freeze it for up to 3 months.)
  • Remove the tart from the refrigerator at least 15 minutes before serving. Unmold the tart and cut it with a sharp, thin-bladed knife, dipping it in hot water after each slice. It is as good lightly chilled as it is at room temperature. Originally published January 23, 2011.
The Pie and Pastry Bible

Adapted From

The Pie and Pastry Bible

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 312 kcalCarbohydrates: 25 gProtein: 4 gFat: 23 gSaturated Fat: 11 gMonounsaturated Fat: 8 gTrans Fat: 0.004 gCholesterol: 29 mgSodium: 88 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 21 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 1998 Rose Levy Beranbaum. Photos © 1998 David Leite. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I’m enthusiastic about a lot of things, but I believe that taste buds evolved for the taste of chocolate and peanut butter combined. And only combined. This chocolate-peanut butter mousse tart is almost as easy as just smearing peanut butter onto a bar of good chocolate and having at it. The addition of a peanut butter cookie crust makes it some kind of fever dream for someone like me.

The instructions are spot on and everything comes together pretty quickly once you’ve gotten the crust finished. Speaking of the crust, double the recipe and freeze one—or just make it into cookies like I did. If you’re going to expend the effort to separate an egg, reward yourself with a couple of perfect cookies.

When reading the instructions, I unfortunately, skipped the part about the size of the pan and I ended up using something a little smaller. It still worked out just fine—I ended up being able to spread the crust higher up the sides so the filling all fit. And, other than the fact that I’m too clumsy for pretty ganache, my tart looked nearly spot-on. I served it a few hours after making it and the leftovers the following day were just as good. I’ll definitely make this again, especially that peanut butter tart crust. That might have been my favourite part.  

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This was a major success. I admit being a bit skeptical because I was afraid it would be junky and overly sweet. But everything works: the texture of the cookie crust, the lightness of the mousse, the perfect amount of give in the ganache, and the clear directions.

    Before serving, I sprinkled some flake salt, which added a lovely subtle crunch and contrast. The crust does indeed puff up alarmingly but recedes once it cooks a bit more. I blind baked it right from the fridge and it did not shrink. This was the first time I’ve made ganache in the Cuisinart. It is certainly a bit more clunky and entails more cleanup than the simpler method but it did turn out beautifully.

    1. Hubba, hubba, Anna! That’s amazing. And I love the idea of adding sea salt to the top. Thanks for that tip.

  2. Hello! I have a question about the cream cheese – having moved from the US to the UK I’ve discovered that the cream cheese here is like the whipped cream cheese in the US and not the block kind. Do I need to make any adjustments to the recipe to take that into account? Before I realized this I had many failed cream cheese frostings that previously worked beautifully!

    1. How frustrating, Tiffany! We feel your pain. Unfortunately, whipped-style cream cheese and regular cream cheese aren’t interchangeable, particularly when it comes to baking. I fear that you may end up with a grainy, watery mousse if you use the whipped style. Perhaps a specialty American import shop might have some? Or there are many recipes online for making your own.

  3. 5 stars
    Hi David! I have Rose’s Baking Bible, which gives the recipe for the chocolate hazelnut mousse tart. It was a lot of fun to make (and eat), but when I found your recipe for her original, I thought I’d give it a try! Quick question about the mousse: should the cream cheese and peanut butter both be room temperature?

    Thanks for sharing the recipe with us. I can’t wait to try it!