A peanut butter and banana sandwich is one of my very favorite comfort foods. And, of course, the combination of peanut butter and chocolate makes me very, very happy; my favorite candy bars fall in this category. So when The Man suggested I try adding peanut butter to my pie crust, it only took me seconds to get on board with that. Banana pie. Chocolate pie. A match made in heaven!
I had qualms about how the peanut butter would affect my crust, but my concerns about texture were unfounded. The pie crust, though slightly less flaky than my favorite recipe, didn’t turn out heavy or tough as I’d feared. It was actually, well, perfect. I don’t use that word lightly because I tend to tinker with things until I’m satisfied, but I wouldn’t change one thing about this crust – and was tickled with it on my very first attempt.
So I’ll just amuse myself by considering all of the possibilities this crust offers. And believe me, I have a whole list of interesting recipes waiting for their turn in the limelight. For now, I’ll concentrate on pies. Specifically, chocolate cream pie. In this post, I’ll give you the recipe I used for my chocolate pie, and in a future post you’ll get this:
The pie crust itself is very easy to work with. I had no problem at all fashioning some of it into roses, leaves, hearts, stars, and even holly. With a cookie cutter or press, you can easily customize for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Valentine’s Day.
|Peanut Butter Pie Crust - and Chocolate Pie!|| |
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter, chilled (not old-fashioned)
- ½ cup shortening, chilled
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon vodka or vinegar
- ¼ cup chopped chocolate, or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Finely chopped peanuts (optional)
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon powdered espresso
- 3 cups whole milk
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 4 egg yolks
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup butter
- Decorations (optional): whipped cream, chopped peanuts, shaved chocolate, pastry crust cutouts.
- Heat oven to 375 F.
- Make crust: In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and brown sugar.
- With a pastry blender, work the peanut butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until well combined. There should be no large lumps.
- In a small bowl, combine buttermilk and vodka (or vinegar). Pour into dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Dough should not be too crumbly. If it is, drizzle in a tiny bit of water and combine.
- Divide dough into two pieces. One will be for the pie crust and the other will be for cut-out decorations if desired. (Hint: for ease of rolling, make the piece you will use for crust a little larger than the one for decorating.) If you don’t want to make decorations, divide into two equal pieces and freeze the other half for another time.
- Dust one piece of dough lightly with flour, place between two pieces of parchment, and roll out evenly until larger than the diameter of your pie pan, all the way around. Remove the top piece of parchment, place the pie pan upside down on the dough, and cut a circle at least 1 inch bigger than the pan, all the way around Remove scraps.
- Slide a flat baking sheet or large piece of cardboard under the bottom parchment and flip the pan, dough, and parchment over in one movement. Remove baking sheet and carefully remove parchment. Ease the dough into the pie pan, roll edges under, and crimp the edges.
- Line with foil and fill half way with dry beans, pie weights, or sugar. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Take crust from oven and gently remove foil and weights. Poke crust all over with a fork and return to oven. Turn heat down to 350 F. and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
- Remove crust from oven and place on cooling rack. Sprinkle with ¼ cup chopped chocolate and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, melting the chocolate. Spread over bottom of the crust and sprinkle with nuts if desired.
- Remaining dough can be used to make cutout designs for the pie or can be wrapped well and frozen.
- Make filling: In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, espresso powder, milk, and unsweetened chocolate.Cook at medium-high heat, stirring constantly until mixture begins to boil.
- Turn heat down to medium and continue cooking for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Adjust heat as necessary to keep the mixture at a low boil.
- Add about ½ cup of the mixture into egg yolks and whisk together. Pour egg mixture into the pan, stir well, and return to low boil. Continue to stir and cook for 2 additional minutes. Remove from heat.
- Stir in vanilla and butter until the filling is smooth. Pour into the pie shell and let the pie cool. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 4-6 hours.
- Serve with whipped cream, a sprinkle of chopped peanuts, and shaved chocolate if desired.
Of course, you could also make an easy chocolate pudding filling. It’s not quite as good, but in all honesty, this recipe is all about the crust!
I suggest you make extra crust and freeze it, because I have some fun ideas coming your way!