Friday, March 1, 2013

Evolution of the Perfect Peanut Butter Pie

I remember when I first heard about peanut butter pie. It was the first summer I was a camp cook. One of the week's volunteers mentioned that he liked peanut butter pie. I decided to give it a whirl. I am not a fan of peanut butter. I was force fed too many pbj growing up. (force fed might be a bit of an exaggeration. We just ate them everyday. Now my sibs get deli lunch meat. What's up with that? They also get allowances. But I digress)

I followed a recipe for freezer pb pie out of an old church cookbook. And the pie got rave reviews. And I even liked it. But I felt it needed some adjustments.

I had made it with a regular graham cracker crust. The filling was not very peanut butter-ish. And, if you have to eat pb, you may as well marry it with chocolate.

Because, my theory is that everything is better covered in chocolate.

(my other dessert theory is that, "life is short. Eat dessert first.")

I experimented on my willing guinea pigs over the next few months, until I got it just right.

I tried different crusts- oreo crumb (nice), chocolate no bake cookie crumbs (too rich), and chocolate graham crackers. I thought the chocolate graham cracker crumbs was the all around best.

I upped the peanut butter from 1/2 cup to 1 cup. Too much. 3/4 cup was still not enough. Halfway between the 2- a scant cup, is just perfect.

I learned to combine the pb, cream cheese, and sugar, and whip it until smooth. Then add the milk. And then the whipped topping.

And I learned to add a flourish or two to top it all off. Simple, with great visual impact. I learned how to melt, drizzle and pull chocolate in a nice pattern, or peel curls off a room temperature chocolate bar and sprinkle randomly (and generously) on top.

The result is a silky smooth and impossibly rich filling that is ascetically pleasing, and tastes delicious to boot.

I have never entered it in a contest, but no one who has had my pb pie, has ever complained. Did I mention that the recipe is super easy? Of course!

I hope you will try it out this weekend. I just might...

Barefoot Hippie Girl's Perfected PB Pie
1 sleeve of Chocolate graham cracker crumbs, crushed
6 Tbsp of butter, melted
1 Tbsp sugar

Mix together, press into a pie plate, and bake at 350* for 8 minutes. Cool thoroughly.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
a scant cup of peanut butter-creamy
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk(use skim or low fat to keep the calorie count low=))
8 ounces whipped topping

Mix the cream cheese, pb and sugar together until smooth. Add the milk, and beat the snot out of it. No lumps! Fold in the whipped topping with a spatula. Pour all in to the prepared crust.

Room temperature chocolate bar-make curls with a vegetable peeler, and generously sprinkle on top.
melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 1t of shortening. Drizzle on top of the pie in a grid pattern. Then pull a toothpick diagonally through the lines. Very dressy effect for little effort.

Freeze for several hours.(I keep in the freezer)
Pull out for 10-15 minutes before serving for ease in cutting.

Enjoy! Is there any recipe you have tweaked to perfection? Tell me about it in the comments...