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Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pie

January 6, 2010

I am proud of this pie for three reasons: 1) It was the first time I made what was essentially pudding from scratch and it turned out right!; 2) It was the first time I blind-baked a crust without it sinking down the side of the pie plate!; and 3) It was really good.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say it was dangerous.  Dangerous because it was sitting in the fridge and whenever I got hungry I’d eat a couple forkfuls, which would inevitably turn into an entire slice.

This pie actually came about at Nate’s behest.  Since he’s not a dessert person and he was actually asking me to make a very specific kind of pie, I thought the least I could do was to give it my best shot. 

I turned to Epicurious, my most favorite website for blind recipe searches where I have a vague idea of what I want but nothing specific in mind.  Once again, Epicurious delivered, this time by way of a Bon Appetit recipe from 1991.  I guess pudding pies aren’t fashionable anymore?

The chocolate layer is dense and thick, closer to a ganache than a pudding (although that maybe because I put in extra chocolate chips), while the peanut butter layer is more like a typical pudding.  The whipped cream adds a lightness that contrasts well with the heaviness of the chocolate and peanut butter; rather than piping it on I just left it in a bowl so people could spoon it on at their leisure.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pie

(Adapted from Bon Appetit, 1991)

I only had one cup of half and half, so I also added a can of evaporated milk and some skim milk.  I don’t think it affected the pudding’s flavor or texture. The original recipe also called for peanut butter chips instead of actual peanut butter, which I found vexing.  Why use waxy gross pb chips when you have the real thing?  I also used a homemade pie crust, although store-bought would definitely be the easier option.

Crust

  • 1 9-inch refrigerated ready pie crust (1/2 15-ounce package), room temperature

Filling

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter 

Topping

  • 1 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Grated semisweet chocolate

For crust:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Transfer crust to 9-inch-diameter pie dish. Trim edges of crust and pierce all over with fork. Bake pie crust until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool crust completely on rack.

For filling:
Place yolks in medium bowl. Combine sugar and cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk in half and half. Bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute. Whisk half of mixture into yolks. Return yolk mixture to saucepan. Boil 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla. Place chocolate chips in medium bowl. Add 1 cup hot custard and stir until chocolate chips melt and mixture is smooth. Add peanut butter to remaining custard in saucepan and stir until peanut butter chips melt and mixture is smooth.

Spread chocolate mixture evenly into prepared crust. Gently spoon peanut butter mixture over chocolate, spreading to edge of crust. Place plastic wrap atop pie to prevent skin from forming. Cool pie on rack 1 hour. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.)

For topping:
Using electric mixer, beat whipping cream in medium bowl to soft peaks. Add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Spoon topping into pastry bag fitted with large star tip. Pipe cream decoratively atop pie. Sprinkle with grated semisweet chocolate.

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