Crunchy or smooth, peanut butter is the latest ingredient fuelling our appetite for all things salty-sweet
No longer confined to American-influenced diners, peanut butter is appearing on dessert menus all over Sydney – and sometimes even in the main course.
Whether it's a shattering brittle studded with nuts, churned into an ice cream for sundaes or milkshakes, or even paired with bacon, it's appearing in many more places than on your morning toast. Here are our picks of the best dishes around town using the nutty spread on their menu.
Little Lost Brioche – Devon Cafe
“We do an American peanut butter and jelly take on it, so it’s a little bit lost in translation,” says head chef Zacharay Tan of this breakfast dish, directly translated from the French pain perdu. Sliced brioche is soaked in vanilla anglaise, pan fried with banana, then finished with a scoop of house-made peanut butter ice cream and rhubarb jam, plus crushed, chunky peanut brittle. “It’s a breakfast dish, but a lot of people have it as an end to their meal – it’s a bit on the sweet side.”
Peanut butter and banana popsicle with honeycomb – 4 Fourteen
White chocolate fondant and peanut butter folded through vanilla ice cream, set on a stick and rolled through crushed biscuit and honeycomb makes for a rich grown-up frozen treat. “It’s reminiscent of a dessert that you’d have as a child – it’s quite nostalgic and fun,” says head chef Carla Jones, who uses honey from their own bees to make the honeycomb. “There is a richness and complexity that peanut butter gives when you add it to ice cream.”
Peanut butter and jelly milkshake – Milk Bar by Cafe Ish
For a liquid take on the classic PB & J combo, head to this modern milk bar. Their peanut butter and jelly milkshake lines a retro soda glass with raspberry and blueberry jelly, which is then filled with a mixture of blended crunchy peanut butter and salted peanut butter ice cream. If you’ve got room for more, they’ve been known hand over any excess leftover in the milkshake-shaker.
Peanut butter and chocolate tart – The Pie Tin
The Pie Tin founder Sarah Martin is all over the peanut butter trend. “We’ve had a peanut butter and chocolate tart of some description since we opened,” she says. It’s all about the contrast between the sweet, smooth chocolate and salty, crunchy peanut butter. “We layer in a rich mousse-like filling made with crunchy peanut butter. On top we pour a silky Belgian milk chocolate ganache, then top the tart with shards of house-made peanut brittle.”
Stoner’s Delight 2.0 – Ms G's
The second edition of the original Stoner’s Delight serves up another dessert that flirts with savoury flavours. This one has a sliver of candied bacon wedged into donut ice cream atop dulce de leche and raspberry jam, paired with banana fritter in a pastry blanket, chunks of Mars Bar slice, peanut butter and crushed potato chips.
Peanut butter and chocolate ganache cake – Kürtosh
Triple-layered chocolate biscuit, peanut butter cream and chocolate mousse topped with crushed peanuts is all too tempting for Kürtosh co-owner Ben Haikin. “I have it myself four to five times a week! It is very good for the soul,” he says. “We just love chocolate and peanut butter. It’s a winning combination.” Order this best-selling chilled slab cake to the size of your choice – its price is calculated by weight.
Peanut butter and banana sundae – Hartsyard
“I came up with this when travelling in New York,” says pastry chef Andrew Bowden. “It fits perfectly with Hartsyard’s American theme, so I chucked in the pretzel ice cream for good measure.” That ice cream goes with banana custard-filled doughnuts, peanut butter ice cream, salted chocolate fudge, aerated anglaise and peanut butter crunch made using icing sugar and “fancy cornflake” feuilletine. “I top it with fresh banana and maraschino cherries, just to make it look fancy.”
Peanut butter ice cream sandwich – Palings
“I had a fantastic vanilla ice cream sandwich at a diner in New York in the 90s,” says pastry chef Lorraine Godsmark of Lorraine’s Patisserie, which supplies Palings desserts from across the laneway. “The combination of the crunchy biscuit and the soft, cold ice cream works really well.” House-roasted peanuts are infused into the ice cream, then blended and strained for a super-smooth finish. Two peanut butter cookies meet with the peanut butter ice cream filling, served with a decent drizzle of Valrhona dark chocolate sauce.
Peanut butter parfait – Café Sydney
“Peanut butter can lift a dish and bring it up to another dimension,” says executive chef Matt Bates of his peanut butter parfait, served with salted caramel peanuts, chocolate ice cream and fried banana. “We wrap the bananas in a really fine, crisp pastry, flash fry them so it’s all hot and crispy, then roll them through a donut-style cinnamon sugar mix.”
The Fluffernutter – The Dip
While their peanut butter and jelly sandwich has long been a dessert staple, The Dip is keen to introduce new peanut butter creations. Enter The Fluffernutter, a peanut butter brownie topped with honey-flavoured marshmallow meringue, served with rich chocolate ice cream. “Our dessert chef Charlotte [Auzou] and I both love peanut butter,” says owner and chef Andrew Levins. They’ll also have a peanut butter and bacon burger with all the usual fixings: beef patty, lettuce, onion, pickles and tomato. “On top, there’s a big, thick smear of peanut butter that melts all through the meat,” says Levin. Both new dishes are set to appear on the menu this week.