I wish I loved peanut butter. Really, truly, LOVED peanut butter. My Rust does. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, he will sneak out of bed, and five minutes later will snuggle up close, smelling of spoonfulls of JIF. I can’t tell you exactly how many giant jars we go through every month, but it’s a lot.
So, after weeks and weeks of me being ill (I’ve had a heck of a time this winter with headaches and more), I was feeling like a little baking therapy. Ever since we have been together, I have teased Rusty with the thoughts of my homemade peanut butter pie. Granted, in all my days, I have only made it three times, this recipe has been on the “greatest hits” chart. I first made it as part of my Tuesdays With Dorie group back in 2008. Or maybe it was 2009. Either way, it was a long time ago, and yet has remained one of my favorite desserts to make. Therefore, one afternoon when my headaches let up, I pulled my copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours off the study shelf and set about to making my husband this incredible peanut butter pie.
What’s more, he assisted.
As adorable as he is, having him “help” in the kitchen is likened to having my son Seven as a sous chef.
I gave him the task of making the crust – namely crushing the Oreos. I suggested plastic baggies and a kitchen mallet. He suggested dropping the package onto the floor and jumping on it. The idea of this excited him greatly. I caught him JUST before he began to jump.
He was wounded, of course. But I think he knew we had to compromise for the greater good.
We settled, finally, on a food processor.
He was very adept at pushing the PULSE button, as well as running the crust out to the freezer to chill, and fetch it after 10 minutes, but for the rest of the preparation, I felt it safest to finish on my own.
Luckily, the pie is snap to make, but let me tell you, the hardest part has to be the waiting.
Waiting for the flavors to chill and meld, for the texture to firm up and become the dreamy whipped delight it was always destined to be.
No, I still don’t love peanut butter, but I do love my husband, and he loved the pie.
I think that’s even better.
Peanut Butter Pie
adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
24 Oreo cookies, finely crumbed or ground in a food processor or blender
½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon finely ground coffee
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
½ c. mini chocolate chips
2 ½ c. heavy cream
1 ¼ c confectioners’ sugar, sifted
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ c salted peanut butter – smooth
2 tablespoons whole milk
Homemade chocolate curls
- Getting ready: center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 9-inch pie pan and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
- Put the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl and stir with a fork just until crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the spring form pan (they should go up about 2 inches on the sides). Freeze the crust for 10 minutes. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely before filling.
- Toss the sugar, coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chips together in a small bowl. Set aside. Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, whip 2 cups of cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in ¼ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Scrape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
- Wipe out (do not wash) the bowl, fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment if you have one, or continue with the hand mixer, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter and the milk.
- Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about one quarter of the whipped cream, just to lighten the mousse. Still working with the spatula, stir in the peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.
- Scrape the mousse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.
- Top pie with chocolate curls.