I’m extremely excited about this post, so much so that I don’t even know where to begin. It’s been about two years in the making. Although, I wasn’t aware of how exciting this was going to be when we first started. It’s a great day because my friend Joy has released her second cookbook, Homemade Decadence, and I couldn’t be more proud of her! It’s really an incredible book and I think everyone should go out and get themselves a copy right now. If not just for the sheer excellence of the recipes and images themselves, but also because I had the honor of working with her on this book, helping her style and photograph the images. I can’t even begin to tell you about all the fun times we had working on this book together. We literally have countless stories of a very hungry cat trying to eat everything in sight—and I do mean everything, from avocado ice cream to honey cupcakes—and the acrobatics we did, juggling so much in a tiny apartment in Venice, Ca. Sometimes winning at life and sometimes failing miserably, but always having a blast. This book holds a special place in my heart because of those memories.
But enough about me. I’ve got some great news for YOU all, and it’s not just this peanut butter cream pie either. Well, it’s not only that. Although, to be perfectly honest, this pie is pretty spectacular so that should be great news enough. I didn’t want to stop there though. I decided to go all the way. So I’m giving away a free copy of the book to one lucky winner. (That means you). Yup, it’s the very first contest/giveaway I’ve ever organized here on The Candid Appetite, and I’m glad this gets to be the first one. I kind of feel like Oprah right now and I can’t get enough of it.
So here are the rules: in order to enter the contest/giveaway you need to leave a comment down below telling me about the best dessert you’ve ever eaten. And I want vivid details too, like where did you eat it? Did you make it yourself? What made it so special? What were the ingredients? (You don’t really have to answer all of that, just the name will do, but I’d love to read all about it!) You have until Friday at midnight to enter, and then I’ll randomly select one winner and notify you on Saturday! Disclaimer though, it’s only open to US residents. (I’m sorry international friends, but I’m not made of money and shipping internationally costs too much). Are you going to win this book? I hope you do! You’ll never know unless you enter! Good luck, I’m rooting for you!
There are so many great recipes in this book to choose from, that I found it extremely hard picking one to make for the blog. Just when I had decided upon one particular recipe, I’d keep browsing the book and then change my mind. This Peanut Butter Cream Pie somehow stuck the longest and then I didn’t want to make anything else. Plus I happen to really love peanut butter pie and the image in the book happens to be one of my favorites (although, I have many favorites).
It’s such an easy recipe to put together and it’s a showstopper so that makes it even better. I don’t have any funny stories to share about this recipe in particular of when we shot it. Other than the fact that I ate a giant slice of it as soon as we were done, and instantly fell in love with it. Joy knows her stuff.
We’re going to start by making the crust. Which you’ve heard me say countless times that it’s the best part of any pie. I won’t say it again, because you get the point (my love for pie crust hasn’t changed). In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt and melted butter. Stir with a fork or spoon until moistened and well combined.
**Tip: The recipe calls for regular graham crackers, but I used cinnamon graham crackers instead because they’re my favorite kind of graham crackers. You could also use chocolate graham crackers or sandwich cookies if you prefer.**
Dump the crumbs into the pie dish and pat it out onto the bottom and sides of the dish. Bake in a preheated 350ºF for about 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.
Allow the pie crust to cool down completely before filling. And I do mean completely cooled! Not warm, or sort of warm but like pretty much cooled, NO! It’s a cream filling, it’ll melt if the pie crust and dish is still warm. In the meantime, though, you can work on making the peanut butter cream filling.
Whip the cream in a large mixing bowl, until soft peaks form.
Transfer the whipped cream to a medium bowl and set aside. You can’t really sneak a taste or anything because it’s not sweetened, but if you like that sort of thing then go ahead.
In the same bowl where you whipped the cream (you don’t even have to clean out the bowl or anything), cream together the cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla extract and peanut butter.
**Note: Make sure you use smooth peanut butter for this recipe. Even if all you have on hand is the crunchy kind, go out and buy the smooth kind. The cream filling needs to be smooth and the chunky peanut butter will prevent you from getting that silky cream pie texture.**
Stir until it’s evenly combined. Then fold in the whipped cream in batches, with a rubber spatula, folding until just combined. Do not over-mix or mix too rapidly, as you’ll deflate the whipped cream.
Continue folding until all of the whipped cream has been incorporated.
Pour the peanut butter cream filling into the cooled graham cracker pie crust. Use the rubber spatula to evenly smooth out the top of the pie to get it as even as you can. You can sneak a taste or two since the filling doesn’t need to be cooked or anything.
In a separate clean bowl, cream the remaining heavy cream until soft peaks form. Pour in the powdered sugar and cream until soft peaks form.
**Note: Be careful to not over-mix the cream because you’ll end up with butter. There’s nothing wrong with homemade butter, but we don’t need that for this pie. If you do over-mix the cream, you can fold in a splash more of heavy cream to soften it.**
Pile the cream onto the center of the pie, leaving a nice open space around the edges, just for presentation. If you want though, you can spread it all the way over the pie.
Cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours. It’s important for it to chill so that the pie has a chance to set and it’s easier to cut later on. Plus, a cream pie just tastes better when it’s chilled.
Once it’s chilled, remove it from the fridge and discard the plastic wrap. You’re almost ready to eat it, almost. We still have to finish garnishing it. Drizzle with the melted dark chocolate.
**Tip: You can pour the melted (cooled) chocolate into a plastic storage bag and snip off the end to drizzle it over the pie. Or you can use a fork to drizzle it. I used the fork because it’s rustic but also because I’m too lazy to pour it into the bag and cut off the end.**
Top the pie with chopped peanuts and mini-peanut butter cups. The peanut butter cups are optional, but Joy recommends using them because it’s fancy and because it gives the pie an extra flare. I’m all about fancy flares.
At this point you can cut and serve it and stand back as people go nuts over it, or you can place it in the fridge and keep it in there until you’re ready to serve. Just lightly cover the pie in plastic wrap. It’s okay if it touches the top, it won’t damage the pie too much.
A great variation of this pie would be to add a half cup of pumpkin purée to the peanut butter cream filling when you’re folding in the whipped cream. Also, throw in a few dashes of pumpkin spice mix to round out the flavors. That’s a great switcharoo if you’re looking to get into the spirit of autumn. We all should be getting into the spirit.
Peanut butter and I have been friends for a very long time. I can’t tell you how much I loved it (still do) as a kid. I’d sneak into the kitchen late at night, or early in the mornings, and mid-afternoon and grab a spoonful of peanut butter to snack on. Okay, so it wasn’t a spoon so much as it was my finger, but don’t tell my family.
Give this pie a try this week even if you don’t have any special occasion or excuse to make it. Make it because you deserve it. Make it because pies are delicious and anything involving peanut butter, chocolate and whipped cream is certainly a must. Have I mentioned that mini peanut butter cups are sprinkled on top?! That along should tempt you to whip up this pie.
Don’t forget to enter the contest by leaving a comment down below. Tell me all about the best dessert you’ve ever eaten. Whether you’ve made it yourself or ordered it at a restaurant. I want to hear about it! You have until midnight on Friday to enter. I’ll pick one lucky winner randomly and notify them on Saturday. Good luck!
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 1 (8oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup smooth all-natural peanut butter
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup coarsely chopped salted peanuts
- ½ cup coarsely chopped salted pretzels
- ½ cup mini peanut butter cups
- 2 ounces dark chocolate chips, melted
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- To make the crust, in a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and stir with a fork until the mixture is thoroughly moistened. The mixture will not form a dough ball, but will stay a crumby texture.
- Dump the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie dish and, using your fingers, evenly press the mixture along the bottom and sides of the dish. Bake until the crust is slightly golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the pie dish from the oven and let cool completely before filling.
- To make the pie filing, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream until it holds soft peaks, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.
- In the same bowl of the electric mixer (you don't have to rinse it out) fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and pliable, about 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar, salt, and vanilla extract and beat well. Beat in the peanut butter until smooth. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in a quarter of the whipped cream. Gently fold in another quarter of the whipped cream. Repeat twice with the remaining whipped cream until the mixture is well incorporated but still fluffy. Spoon the filling into the prepared crust.
- For the whipped cream topping, in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream and powdered sugar until it holds soft speaks, 4 to 5 minutes. Top the pie with the whipped cream mixture. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
- Just before serving, generously drizzle the melted chocolate on top of the pie with a fork. Sprinkle with peanut butter cups and chopped peanuts. Cut and serve. The pie will last, well wrapped in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days. Enjoy!
- yield: 1 9-inch pie