How deep does you bacon allegiance run? Are you ready to take it to the next level and learn how to cure your own at home? Cathy Barrow makes it all too easy with her recipe for Maple-Bourbon Bacon from her newest cookbook, Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry. Your dreams of all-bacon everything are about to become a reality.
makes: 11/2 pounds
active time: 30 minutes
curing time: 7 days plus 2 hours
cooking time: 1 hour
When I first made bacon, the taste of good pork was the first flavor I encountered—not salt. And there were no nagging concerns about how the pork was raised, because I had purchased the pork belly from a farmer I knew. There are a million reasons to make bacon at home but you need to know only one: it will be better than any bacon you have ever eaten.
I regularly make two styles of bacon. This one, cured with maple syrup, bourbon and coffee, has a dash of the sweet and smoky booze as an undertone. I think the bourbon makes it sing Hallelujah, but omit it if you are not a fan. The other version is cured with plenty of black pepper, rosemary and garlic and then smoked. I store both in the freezer in vacuum-sealed 4-ounce packets, sliced the way I like it, thick and ready to line up on top of the sliced tomato in a BLT or to serve with sunny-side up eggs for breakfast. I cut up any pieces that can’t slice into pretty rashers and store them in 2-ounce packets, to be crisped and scattered on top of soup or salad.
And that’s just the beginning of why bacon should always be part of your practical pantry. Use it to garnish deviled eggs, pan-roasted fish or chicken. Candy it (see page 296). Add it to baked goods like muffins or scones. Be weekend or brunch-ready.
1. Wearing gloves, mix the salts in a small bowl. Rub the salt cure all over the pork belly and place it in a 1 gallon zip-lock bag in a single layer (cut the meat into 2 large pieces if necessary). Stir together the coffee, maple syrup and liquor in a small bowl and add to the bag. Seal the bag and smoosh the liquid around. Open the bag slightly and press out the excess air, then zip it closed and lay it flat on a middle shelf in the refrigerator.
2. Let the bacon cure for 7 days. Every day, turn the bag over to redistribute the cure, and rub the belly through the bag, introducing all those nice flavors. Over the course of the week, the meat will exude juice and the cure will move through the cells of the meat; turning the bag ensures an even cure. Count the days and imagine the bacon.
3. After 7 days, remove the pork belly from the bag. It will be firmer than it was a week ago, a sign the cure has worked. Rinse the meat thoroughly and dry with paper towels. (Discard the cure.) Place the soon-to-be bacon on a rack set over a baking sheet and place it, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 2 hours. This resting period helps move the cure through the meat and equalize the salt and flavors.
4. Preheat the oven to the lowest setting, usually around 200°F.
5. Place the bacon, still on the rack on the baking sheet, in the center of the oven and cook for about 1 hour, until the internal temperature measures 150°F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the bacon from the oven and let cool, then wrap well in butcher’s paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.
6. Once the bacon has chilled, slice it thick or thin, as you like it. Stack the slices on butcher’s paper or parchment, then vacuum-seal or place in zip-lock bags in portion sizes to suit your household. Bacon is always cooked before eating.
The bacon will keep for up to 10 days in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.
Both lamb and goat belly make terrific, deeply flavored bacon. Sometimes this cut is called breast—the current fondness for pork belly has some people renaming parts. The cut is thinner, with less fat, so it requires only 4 days in the salt and spices before cooking or smoking.
TIP: Salty Like the (Dead) Sea
Oops? Did you cure your meat or fish longer than you should have? Put it in a bowl, cover with cool water, soak it for about 8 hours, changing the water two or three times. Drain and dry well, then roast or smoke as directed. That should fix it.
Looking for a hearty, soul-warming staple to get you through the final weeks of winter? Then try this Italian-inspired recipe for Hunter's Chicken Stew from our January Top Pick in Cookbooks, The Pollan Family Table.
Hunter’s Chicken Stew with Tomatoes and Mushrooms
FROM THE MARKET
FROM THE PANTRY
Our hunter's stew is an Italian take on the classic Polish dish, with chicken as a stand-in for pork. The tender morsels of chicken are smothered in a luscious gravy, making this a dish that the family loves.
1 whole chicken (3½ to 4 pounds), giblets and backbone removed, cut into 8 serving pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced
8 cremini or baby bella mushroom caps, thickly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1 bay leaf
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
In a Dutch oven or a large ovenproof pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 4 of the chicken pieces, skin side down. Cook undisturbed until the skin is golden, about 7 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces and cook until brown, about 4 minutes more. Transfer to a platter and repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken. Set aside.
Wipe the Dutch oven clean with paper towels and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, mushrooms and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and fragrant, about 8 minutes.
Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is thoroughly mixed with the onion and mushrooms, about 2 minutes. Raise the heat to high and stir in the wine, scraping up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes and their juice, thyme, sage, the bay leaf, 1 ½ teaspoons of salt and ⅛ teaspoon of pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the browned chicken and any accumulated juices, submerging the pieces into the liquid. Cover and place the pot in the oven.
Bake until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Take off the lid and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven and, using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. Return the pot to the burner, turn the heat to high, and cook until the sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Spoon the mushrooms and sauce over the chicken and serve.
Cathy Barrow encourages healthy, local eating for all seasons with her easy recipes for DIY preserving in her newest cookbook, Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving. This quick and no-fuss recipe for Fennel, Orange, and Olive Refrigerator Pickles is a great place for the uninitiated to dive into the world of canning.
Fennel, Orange, and Olive Refrigerator Pickles
makes: one 24-ounce jar
active time: 20 minutes
standing time: 2 days
This piquant pickle was inspired by a plate of olives, caper berries and bitter oranges served with sherry at an outdoor cafe in Seville. A wide-mouth jar will make this job a little easier. So will long tweezers or a chopstick, if you want to get fancy.
Serve with salty Marcona almonds.
1. Trim the stalks from the fennel and peel away the tough outer sections of the bulb. (Put these parts in a bag in the freezer to make vegetable broth or add to a batch of chicken stock.) Remove about ½ inch of the root end of each fennel bulb, then slice vertically down the center. Set the fennel cut side down on the cutting board and slice wedges from the bulbs.
2. Wash the orange well. Slice into slim 1⁄4-inch rounds, rind and all. Remove any seeds. Cut the slices into half-moons. Press the oranges against the inside of the jar, then fit the fennel wedges into the center of the jar, adding a few olives here and there as you go.
3. In a small saucepan, warm the vinegar, salt, sugar and tarragon, stirring just until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Add the ice cubes and stir until cool.
4. Pour the cooled brine into the jar. Cover and place in a cool, dark spot for 2 days.
5. Chill the pickles before serving. They will keep for up to a month in the refrigerator.
Our January Top Pick in Lifestyles is Lisa Occhipinti's Novel Living! Sure to please any crafty bibliophile, this whimsical yet wise book is filled with advice on everything from collecting rare and unique books to building and organizing your home library, with some fantastic book-centric craft projects to boot. Try your hand at these Lighted Book Boxes and show off your own literary treasures!
Lighted Book Boxes
This is simple and elegant book storage that doesn't take up any floor space. Basic wooden crates, whether purchased new or sourced from a flea market, are outfitted with a little mood lighting and textile design then hung on the wall. I made mine from wooden wine crates and vintage wallpaper. The little light inside illuminates the books like art.
1. Decide whether you want your book box to be oriented vertically or horizontally. Consider the books it will hold and where you are placing it on the wall. Drill two holes that fit the size of your screws on the back of the crate about one-third of the way down from the top and equally spaced apart. Sand any rough edges or nicks on your crate.
2. Paint the outer facing edges of the crate with the acrylic paint. Allow to dry.
3. Measure the height and width of the back wall of the crate, reducing the measurement by 1/8” (3 mm) on the top and one side, and cut your foam core to fit to that measurement.
4. Cover the foam core with your wallpaper or fabric. Apply spray glue to the foam core, and place it glue side down on the back of the wallpaper. Flip over and smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles with the bone folder. Flip back over, trim your corners for a nice finish, and wrap and glue the edges. Affix the covered foam core to the back of the crate with hot glue.
5. Measure the center point of the crate’s “ceiling” and affix your puck light at that point, following the package instructions.
6. Position the crate on the wall where you would like to hang and use a pencil to mark where the screws will go, measuring the space between the two holes. Set the screws and wall anchors in the wall at the points you marked, with the screws extending out 3/8” (1 cm), and hang the crate from the holes drilled in the back of the crate.
The line of customers waiting to get their paws on the sweet and savory treats from Brooklyn's Ovenly bakery often stretches down the block. Can't get to the brick-and-mortar bakery any time soon? Then pick up a copy of founders Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin's debut cookbook, Ovenly. This savory, grown-up version of a childhood favorite may take a bit of extra effort to re-create, but the final product is sure to beat anything you could find in a box.
CARAMEL BACON HOT TARTS
Yield: 4 Hot Tarts
These Hot Tarts are our mature version of Pop-Tarts. The salty-smooth caramel is followed by a smoky, crispy bacon crunch. A dose of sweet-savory decadence.
1. Cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp and done. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate to drain off any excess grease. Let cool.
2. Prepare the Pâte Brisée recipe below (you will need only 1 crust, either halve the brisée recipe or save the second crust for later use). Remove 1 disk of the pâte brisée from the refrigerator 10 minutes before rolling.
3. On a lightly floured, clean surface, roll the disk of pâte brisée into an approximate 9 x 15-inch rectangle. To prevent the dough from sticking to the counter and to ensure a uniform thickness, keep lifting and turning the pâte brisée a quarter turn as you roll.
4. Using a ruler, measure the dough and mark a rectangle that is exactly 9 x 15 inches. Then cut the ragged edges off, leaving straight edges, with a knife or pizza cutter. Cut the dough lengthwise every 3¾ inches. This will result in four 3¾ x 9-inch rectangles.
5. Layer ½ strip of bacon on the bottom half of 1 rectangle and then sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the light brown sugar over the bacon. Top with 1½ tablespoons of the chilled Salted Caramel Sauce. Repeat these steps for the remaining 3 rectangles.
6. Using a pastry brush or your finger, brush water on the outer edges of the top half of each rectangle to help seal the edges. Then fold in half, and press the edges together with your fingers to seal.
7. Crimp the edges together with a fork to seal more. With your knife or pizza cutter, remove the ragged edges by cutting the Hot Tarts into perfect 3¾ x 4½-inch rectangles. Using a fork, gently poke a few holes in the top of each Hot Tart.
8. Transfer Hot Tarts to a rimmed sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Freeze the Hot Tarts for 10 minutes.
9. Preheat the oven to 400⁰F. Prepare an egg wash by whisking the egg yolk with the water in a small bowl until smooth.
10. Remove the Hot Tarts from the freezer. Brush them with the egg wash, and bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until just golden. Let the tarts cool before serving.
PÂTE BRISÉE (FLAKY PIE CRUST)
Yield: two 9-inch pie crusts
The mother of all pâte brisée (a fancy French word for “shortcrust pastry”) recipes, we make this in large batches so that we have preportioned crusts on hand at all times—a trick to making pies, quiches and Hot Tarts in a pinch. The recipe can be adjusted for savory pies, and you can experiment with adding whole-wheat flour for nuttiness. Compared to the store-bought version, the flaky texture and buttery goodness of homemade pie crust is unrivaled. You can easily cut the pâte brisée recipes in half if you need only one crust!
1. Cut butter into 1-inch cubes, and place in the freezer for 20 minutes or until very cold.
2.In a food processor, add the flour, sugar and salt and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 15 seconds.
3. Pour in the ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, and process until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and gather it into a ball. Divide the dough in half, flatten each half into a 6-inch disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight before using. If not using right away, you can freeze unrolled dough for up to 1 month. Just let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
5. After the dough has chilled sufficiently, remove 1 disk from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. To prevent the dough from sticking to your surface and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting it up and turning it a quarter turn as you roll. Always roll from the center of the dough outward.
6. Fold the dough in half and gently transfer it to a 9-inch pie pan. Press the dough gently against the sides of the pan. Brush off any excess flour and tuck the overhanging dough under itself, crimping as desired. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes before filling.
7. If you are making a crust to top your pie, remove the second disk of dough from the refrigerator and roll it into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. You can choose how to top the pie with the crust.
8. Once you fill the pie, cover it with the top crust, using the method of choice, and bake according to recipe instructions.*
*If you have to blind bake your pie crust for an open-faced pie or tart, or for a pie that has a separately prepared filling, lay a piece of parchment twice the width of the pie pan over the crust and then fill the paper with pie weights or dry beans. For a par-baked crust, bake at 425⁰F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are barely golden. For a fully baked crust, bake at 425⁰F for 20 to 25 minutes until the edges are barely golden. Carefully remove the parchment and weights, reduce the heat to 375⁰F and continue to bake for 5 to 10 minutes more, or until the crust is evenly golden.
Tip: We recommend finishing a filled pie directly on the bottom of the oven floor, or on a pizza stone. It will help the bottom crust to crisp.
SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE
Yield: approximately 1½ cups
This is Erin’s favorite caramel recipe, and it is the only one you will ever need. It can be used in cakes and buttercreams, spooned onto ice cream, mixed into pie fillings, drizzled onto pudding or eaten straight up with a spoon.
1. Bring ½ cup of the cream, sugars, butter, corn syrup and salt to a boil in an uncovered 1½- to 2-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the sugars have dissolved, whisk the mixture a few times to combine. Continue to boil the mixture over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until deep dark tan bubbles form and until it has thickened and is paste-like.
2. When a candy thermometer reads 250°F (this takes about 5 minutes after the mixture reaches a boil), take the saucepan off the heat. (See note below if not using a thermometer.)
3. Pour in the remaining ½ cup cream and add the vanilla bean caviar, and whisk to incorporate. Be careful, as the mixture will bubble up and can splatter. Return the saucepan to low heat, and bring it to a low boil, whisking vigorously until no visible clumps remain and until the caramel sauce is smooth, about 45 seconds.
4. Immediately pour the hot caramel sauce into a jar or a heatproof bowl, and let it cool completely. Once it has cooled, cover it tightly and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Reheat to use.
Note: You don’t need a candy thermometer for this recipe as long as you use your nose and your eyes. The key is to take the caramel to a point just short of burning, so when the mixture begins to have a bit of a singed odor and when it looks paste-like and caramel-brown, quickly remove it from the heat.
1. Add all the ingredients minus ½ cup cream and vanilla bean caviar to a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan.
2. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat. As the ingredients melt, whisk to combine.
3. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil. After about 5 minutes, large tan bubbles will form, and the caramel will be a dark golden brown.
4. Whisk vigorously to check the consistency. The caramel should be paste-like.
5. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and add the remaining ½ cup cream and vanilla bean caviar.
6. Return saucepan to low heat, bringing it to a low simmer and whisking vigorously.
7. Immediately pour the hot caramel sauce into a jar or a heatproof bowl, and let it cool completely. Once it has cooled, cover it tightly and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Reheat in a microwave or saucepan to use.
Happy New Year, readers! Ready to kick off your healthy eating resolutions, but not sure where to start? Jump in with this recipe for Maple Balsamic Root Vegetable "Fries" from our January Top Pick in Cookbooks, The Pollan Family Table.
Maple-Balsamic Root Vegetable "Fries"
4 to 6 servings
FROM THE MARKET
FROM THE PANTRY*
*You will need two sheets of parchment paper.
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick sticks, 2 to 3 inches long
1 medium celery root, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick sticks, 2 to 3 inches long
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick sticks, 2 to 3 inches long
2 medium golden beets, peeled and each cut into 8 wedges
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the carrots, celery root, parsnips, beets and thyme sprigs. Add the oil and mix to thoroughly coat the vegetables.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the maple syrup, vinegar, ½ teaspoon of salt and ⅛ teaspoon of pepper; mix well. Pour the mixture on the vegetables and toss to coat.
Arrange the vegetables in single layers on the two baking sheets. Roast on separate racks for 20 minutes.
Remove them from the oven and, using a spatula, flip the vegetables. Return the sheets to the oven, switching their positions (upper rack and lower rack). Roast until the vegetables are light brown and caramelized, an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
Discard the thyme sprigs, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
Filmmaker, artist and now debut novelist Miranda July is known for the singular, offbeat style of her popular films Me and You and Everyone We Know and The Future. Following the success of her collection of short stories, No One Belongs Here More Than You (2007), July has crafted an eccentric, yet endearing story with The First Bad Man. Following 42-year-old Cheryl Glickman through the trials of living with her grumpy 20-year-old houseguest, securing the affections of Phillip (with whom she believes to have a centuries-spanning love affair) and seeking a cure for her globus hystericus. Been searching for an unapologetically quirky read with plenty of heart? Look no further.
I drove to the doctor's office as if I was starring in a move Phillip was watching—windows down, hair blowing, just one hand on the wheel. When I stopped at red lights, I kept my eyes mysteriously forward. Who is she? people might have been wondering. Who is that middle-aged woman in the blue Honda? I strolled through the parking garage and into the elevator, pressing 12 with a casual, fun-loving finger. The kind of finger that was up for anything. Once the doors had closed, I checked myself in the mirrored ceiling and practiced how my face would go if Phillip was in the waiting room. Surprised but not overly surprised, and he wouldn't be on the ceiling so my neck wouldn't be craning up like that. All the way down the hall I did the face. Oh! Oh, hi! There was the door.
DR. JENS BROYARD
I swung it open.
What are you reading today?
Merry Christmas, readers! Have a ton of family in town this weekend, but not sure how to feed them after the traditional Christmas feast? Try this delicious, quick and easy recipe from Margarita Carrillo Arronte's Mexico: The Cookbook. You can utilize some of that leftover ham and make a meal that feeds 8!
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Put the tomatoes into a food processor or blender and process to a puree. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Quarter the chickens and add the pieces, pureed tomatoes, garlic and parsley and cook over medium heat, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, for 10–15 minutes.
Add the chorizo and ham and cook for an additional 5 minutes, then pour in the sherry and cook for a few minutes until the sherry has mostly evaporated. Add the sugar, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, raisins and almonds, and season. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the cooking liquid has thickened.
Remove the pan from the heat. Put a piece of chicken on each plate, spoon over the sauce and serve with rice or salad.
We all know the power of a striking book cover, but a clever title can be a hook that's just as (or sometimes even more!) effective. We've collected our 25 favorite book titles of 2014 below:
All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Be Safe I Love You by Cara Hoffman
Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles M. Blow
The Future for Curious People by Gregory Sherl
The Girl with a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson
The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick
How to Build a Girl by Cailtin Moran
How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer
I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum
In a Rocket Made of Ice by Gail Gutradt
Let Me Be Frank with You by Richard Ford
Love Story, with Murders by Harry Bingham
The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man by W. Bruce Cameron
My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not) by Peter Brown
Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony Johnston
Somwhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon
Spoiled Brats by Simon Rich
Treat Us Like Dogs, and We Will Become Wolves by Carolyn Chute
The Trip to Echo Spring by Olivia Laing
We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas
Without You, There Is No Us by Suki Kim
Worst. Person. Ever. by Douglas Coupland
When world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson isn't making television appearances or working at his award-winning New York restaurant, Red Rooster Harlem, he's cooking at home. And now you can try your hand at his "truly doable" recipes thanks to his new cookbook, Marcus Off Duty.
Black Bottom–Peanut Pie
MAKES ONE 10-INCH PIE
A classic Southern black-bottom pie has a rich chocolate ganache topped with meringue. I make mine more decadent. Yes, it still has the black bottom, but the topping is a gooey, salty hit of peanuts. Inspiration comes from my favorite childhood snack—the Snickers candy bar. When I was a kid, I would treat myself to a Snickers bar on the way to soccer practice. I was convinced that the combination of chocolate and peanuts gave me the energy I needed to play for hours. I don’t eat many candy bars these days, but I still love that combination of flavors.
FOR THE CRUST
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 (11-ounce) box vanilla wafer cookies, such as Nilla wafers
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
½ cup sugar
FOR THE PEANUT TOPPING
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
½ cup light corn syrup
4 teaspoons molasses
10 ounces (about 2 cups) unsalted roasted peanuts
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
FOR THE GANACHE
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (64% cacao), finely chopped
1½ cups heavy cream
MAKE THE CRUST
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the milk solids brown and the butter smells deliciously nutty, about 10 minutes; be careful not to let it burn. Take it off the heat immediately.
3. Pulse the vanilla wafers in a food processor to make coarse crumbs. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the processor, add the sugar and melted butter, and pulse until all the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly on the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch pie plate. Bake until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a rack.
4. Turn the oven up to 375°F.
MAKE THE PEANUT TOPPING
5. Beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one by one, then beat in the corn syrup and molasses. Stir in the peanuts and salt.
MAKE THE GANACHE
6. Place the chocolate in a medium, heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, then pour over the chocolate. Gently whisk until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth.
7. Pour the ganache into the cooled pie shell and let it set for 10 minutes. Spoon the peanut topping on the ganache. Use an offset spatula or a table knife to spread the filling evenly over the ganache, covering it completely.
8. Bake the pie for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 325°F and bake until the crust is browned and the topping is set, about 45 minutes.
9. Cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before serving.