I have never made a true peanut butter cream pie. I was talking about this with my coworker on Friday when she asked me if I’ll make a cake for her for her birthday (in July) and mentioned making peanut butter cream pie instead of cake. My normal peanut butter cream pie is the Amish recipe that was featured on Man Versus Food, which is really just vanilla cream pie sandwiched by some peanut butter crumble.
In my internet search for a ‘true’ peanut butter cream pie I came up pretty empty-handed. Most pie recipes I found involved cream cheese. Yuck! I hate cream cheese unless eaten on a bagel or very well hidden in a dish. Take, for example, cream cheese frosting. I only like it if it’s hint of cream cheese frosting. Anything stronger and I’ll pass.
For my true peanut butter cream pie, I wanted it to be very peanut buttery – including a peanut butter crust and peanut butter garnish. And I wanted a real cream pie. None of that cream cheese business. I wanted my pie to be made with milk and cornstarch and egg yolks. A true cream pie.
In making this particular pie I may have figured out why there are no recipes for this on the internet. I took a recipe I have for butterscotch cream pie and swapped butterscotch chips for peanut butter. In doing so I took away the ‘cream’ consistency as the peanut butter made the mixture rubbery.
I was frightened by the rubbery texture but not deterred from getting a real cream pie. So I continued on with the recipe by adding the butter, the next step. This made the consistency even worse. The peanut butter mass broke down in the sea of butter into tiny pieces of rubbery peanut butter. I stirred and stirred hoping that creaminess would return but instead I stirred some butter right out of the pot.
Still I persevered. I added a little more whipping cream and four more egg yolks and continued stirring. Magically, the pudding sort of just came back together at that point in a mostly creamy maybe slightly rubbery mass.
I gave it a day to set before garnishing it with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream and peanut butter crumble. When I was done, it basically looked like a masterpiece. So good I almost didn’t want to cut into it. Almost.
Cut into it I did. I cut myself a huge piece (accidentally, of course) that was probably equal to two normal pieces of pie or three thin slices. And then I dug in. Between the peanut butter crust, peanut butter crumble, peanut butter filling and peanut butter whipped cream, it was a peanut butter explosion. The texture of the cake was a cross between a cream pie and a caramel-like or fudgy sort of texture. A little sticker, perhaps than a cream pie, but good nonetheless. I ate less than half of the huge piece of pie and had to stop.
What? When does that happen?! When do I ever not finish dessert? Rarely, if ever, do I not finish dessert when put in front of me – unless it sucks, of course. This pie was so rich I physically made myself ill eating half of the piece (so … eating a normal size piece of pie). I literally felt like I wanted to throw up. That probably doesn’t sound like a great reaction when eating food, but trust me – in this case it is!
- 1 box Girl Scout’s do-si-dos (formerly known as peanut butter sandwich cookies – you could probably use Nutter Butters instead)
- 4 T. butter
- 1 1/2 c. heavy cream
- 1 c. milk
- 2 T. cornstarch
- 2/3 c. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 c. peanut butter
- 5 T. butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- peanut butter crumble
- Peanut Butter Whip Cream, for garnish
- Crush all but 7 of the cookies and mix with the melted butter. Press mixture onto bottom of a 10-inch pie plate and bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Pull remaining 7 cookies apart and line around side of the pie dish, the outside of the cookie facing the outside of the dish.
- Combine the cream, milk, cornstarch, sugar and salt in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and whisk together to dissolve cornstarch. Cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils, then reduce the heat and cook, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens and boils, then reduce the heat and cook, whisking constantly for 2 more minutes.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks, then return to the heat and cook about 2 minutes longer, whisking all the while. Add the peanut butter and stir until melted. Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla and stir until blended and smooth.
- Set aside to cool for about 20 minutes, stirring once or twice. Before pouring into the pie crust, sprinkle the bottom of the pie crust with peanut butter crumble. Make peanut butter crumble by mixing peanut butter with enough powdered sugar in your mixer to yield small bits of peanut butter (think pea-sized or a bit bigger). Cool completely before serving. Serve with additional peanut butter crumble and Peanut Butter Whip Cream.