Peanut butter pie is, quite honestly, something that I didn’t think would appeal to me the first time I had it. I like peanut butter, but a pie with a super-creamy peanut butter base actually sounded like it would be a bit (or a lot) too much. When I was a pie judge at the American Pie Council’s Pie Contest last year, however, I had the chance to try several peanut butter pies and was very impressed with the flavor and texture of them. I still love apple pies, but a whole new pie category was opened to me after that.
There are all kinds of peanut butter pies out there, from creamy, mousse-like pies to dense, fudge-like pies. This pie is a bit candy-like and reminds me of a huge Reese’s peanut butter cup. As you can imagine, it’s a big hit with kids. It is a little bit of a twist on a recipe I saw Alton Brown make on an episode of Good Eats a couple of years ago. The pie is made with homemade peanut butter, sweetened and thickened with some confectioners’ sugar and smoothed with a bit of butter. That sounds too simple to work, but the deep flavor of the homemade peanut butter gives the pie a lot of body and a freshness that you definitely wouldn’t get from store-bought peanut butter. The filling is poured into a dark chocolate-lined crust and drizzled with plenty of extra chocolate. The dark chocolate keeps it from getting too sweet, while the crust adds a nice crunch and texture. A graham cracker crust will work (and you can see I’ve used one in the photo above), but a chocolate crumb crust is even better.
The pie filling will thicken up in the refrigerator and the pie should be served cold. It is dense and creamy, but still has a bit of texture from the peanuts in the homemade peanut butter. Slice it with a warm knife (run it under hot water and quickly dry it off before using) to get very clean slices. The pie is rich, so serve it in small slices. To lighten up the pie if it feels a bit too candy-like for your taste, serve it with a bit of very lightly sweetened whipped cream for a mousse-like feel.
Peanut Butter Cup Pie
1 9-inch chocolate crumb pie crust (recipe below)
6 oz dark chocolate, chopped and divided
1 1/2 cups homemade peanut butter, room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
4 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Melt 3 ounces of dark chocolate in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Pour melted chocolate into chocolate crumb pie crust and spread evenly over the crust with a pastry brush. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to allow chocolate to set up.
In the food processor, combine homemade peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar, softened butter, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Whiz until very smooth. Pour into prepared crust.
Melt remaining 3 ounces of dark chocolate (or use half milk and half dark chocolate) and drizzle it over the top of the peanut butter filling using a pastry bag or simply by drizzling the chocolate off of the tines of a large fork.
Chill pie for at least 4 hours before slicing and serving.
Chocolate Crumb Crust
1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl, combine chocolate crumbs, sugar and butter and stir well. Pat into 9-in. pie plate.
Bake for 14-17 minutes, until firm at the edges.
Cool completely before using.