Peanut Butter Pie
A few weeks ago when I was still cooking new things (rather than cramming for exams), I got a hankering for something I’d never got an hankering for before. Peanut butter. As a kid I never ate peanut butter – I hated anything that even looked like a nut, to the point where I had the feeling of being choked by the smell of it if my siblings ate their peanutbutterandjellies within a few feet of my delicate self. As the years went on, I got over it somewhat, incorporating such exotic treats as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and the odd tagalong into my diet. But straight up peanut butter? Not until a few weeks ago would I have ever given it thought.
But, in classic pregnant lady form, a hankering became an obsession. I went out and bought my first jar of peanut butter and began Googling peanut butter cookies, peanut butter cake, peanut butter milkshakes (mmmm), peanut butter brownies, peanut butter pie….until I came upon this. It was a post by a food blogger who had just lost her husband, Mikey, to an unexpected heart attack before she had had a chance to make him his favorite peanut butter pie. In classic pregnant lady form, I lost it.
After drying my eyes, I saw all the wonderful things people had written in response and all the gorgeous renditions of peanut butter pie people had made in tribute, I quickly went about making one of my own.
After all my sniffling, and a lot of mixing, I was a mess. But the pie was perfect.
I made a 7″ pie and used the left over ingredients for 6 individual pies in a cup. Between the pie and the cups, the recipe produced dessert to make 15 people very happy. I’m talking rave reviews. Online, too, the response to the pie was overwhelming. When I served it, I kept saying the recipe wasn’t mine. It’s Mikey’s. And as much as it chokes me up, it’s nice to think that he’ll be remembered by a thousand strangers every time they make their new favorite pie.
CREAMY PEANUT BUTTER PIE
Recipe adapted from Jennie. Serves 12 – 15
8 ounces chocolate cookies
4 tablespoons (55 grams) butter, melted
4 ounces (120 grams) finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped peanuts (I left these out)
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces (250 grams) cream cheese
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well. Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. (Or use individual cups to make personal pies.)
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use. Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar. Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.
Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream). Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top, if using, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.
p.s. you can also freeze the pie and remove it about 45 minutes to an hour before serving. This will help it keep its form, which can be quite oozy.