A Gift for Dad on His Day & Chocolate-Peanut Butter Tart

Dad_2011Let’s share a few moments of sympathy for dad. Father’s Day is on Sunday and while most dads won’t be forgotten, they’ll probably be shortchanged. At least they’ll be jipped when compared to Mom. Last month, Americans spent nearly $20 billion (yes, that’s a b) for Mother’s Day. This week, we may hit $12.5 billion for dad.

So what’s up? Do we love our mothers more than our dads? To celebrate mom, we shower her with gifts, spend her to a spa and take her out for a fancy brunch or dinner. And dad? Well not so much. For his day, we send a card or, if it’s not too far out of our way, we might stop by the hardware store and pick up a gift card.

So what’s Dad doing wrong?

Maybe it’s not his fault. After a long snowy winter, Mother’s Day is a celebration of spring. The jewelry and department stores, boutiques and florists flood the media with suggestions. Besides, it’s easy to shop for mom. She’s always more than happy with a pair of funky earrings or fashionable new cardigan. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers.

With special menus and a free glass of champagne, restaurants vie for mom’s attention as well. Between the surge of advertising and her helpful suggestions, choosing a gift and/or a restaurant is a no brainer. There’s no way you can even begin to pretend that you forgot mom on her day.

Father’s Day is a different story. With a bounty of graduation parties, wedding and anniversary celebrations and end of school festivities, dads get lost in the merriment of June.

Since you finally figured out that dad hasn’t worn a tie in ten years, when it comes to a present, you’re stumped. He mumbled something about a cookout on Sunday, so in desperation, you head to the hardware store. Truth be told, he only suggested a cookout because he’s afraid you’ll get him another tie. He probably figured he could leave it in the box. No one wants to see a tie dangerously dangling over hot coals.

Wandering through the hardware store, you think, “maybe a grill?” Unfortunately, his dream model is twice the price of your first car. After checking your bank balance, you look at the alternatives. Finally! Could this be the one, the answer to your Father’s Day gift conundrum? It’s a bit more modest than his dream machine but still has a few bells and a couple of whistles. After a second look, you realize it is more or less identical to the one already sitting on his deck.

Feeling defeated, you grab a bundle of fancy, long-handled grill tools. Back home, you find a gift bag and some ribbon. As you wrap the tools, guilt over your lame gift continues to gnaw. Even worst, you begin to wonder, did you give him the same set last year? Mom was delighted to add another cardigan to the dozens that make up her knitted rainbow. You can only hope that Barbecue Bob will be as happy to add yet another set to his multiple versions of long handled spatulas, spoons, forks and tongs. At least this latest batch has those high tech silicon handles.

Happy Day Dad and bon appétit!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart
chocolate_peanut_butter_tart_04It’s too early for local blueberries (my dad’s favorite pie) but this nutty desert is a delicious alternative. Enjoy!
Serves 8

Chocolate Cookie Crust
7-8 ounces chocolate wafer cookies, about 1 3/4 cups crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the cookies in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add the sugar, espresso powder and salt and pulse to combine. Drizzle the crumbs with the melted butter and pulse to combine.

Put the cookies crumbs in a 10-inch tart pan or deep dish 9-inch pie plate and press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake just until set, about 8 minutes. Cool the crust and prepare the filling.

Peanut Butter Filling
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, very cold

Put the cream cheese, peanut butter and sugar in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until well combined.

Put the cream in a bowl and whip with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Add one quarter of the whipped cream to the peanut butter mixture and gently stir to combine. Gently fold the remaining whipped cream into the filling.

Spoon the filling into the crust, smooth the surface and refrigerate the pie for 4 hours.

Chocolate Glaze
4 ounces good milk chocolate, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup or more heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped salted roasted peanuts

Put the chocolate and cream in a microwave safe bowl and zap on high at 20-second intervals until the chocolate starts to melt and the cream is warm. Add the espresso powder and let the chocolate and cream sit for a minute. Add the vanilla, whisk to combine and cool the chocolate for 10 minutes.

If necessary, add a little more cream and drizzle the chocolate glaze over the peanut butter filling. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to set. The tart can be made in advance. Remove from the refrigerator 15-30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve.

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One Year Ago – Salsa Verde
Two Years Ago – Blueberry Crumb Cake
Three Years Ago – Peanut-Sesame Dipping Sauce
Four Years Ago – Strawberry Gelato
Five Years Ago – Asparagus Soup
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What’s your bright gift idea for dad this year? Feel free to share – let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. In addition, I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2014

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