Monday, November 30, 2009

Peanut Butter Pie

Is there a limit to the number of peanut butter and chocolate recipes I can post?  I just can't get enough of that flavor combination.  If you feel the same way, you'll like this pie. The mousse is fluffy and creamy, and the crust adds some crunch; in between, just a little bit of chocolate...  you might even want more.

The crust is from the ICE class I took in August.  It has baking powder in it. I'm not sure I've ever put baking powder in pie crust before.  I've been reading the book Bakewise the past few days, and learning lots about leavening and flours, but so far only on their role in cakes, not pie crust.  But Nick Malgieri claims that the "baking powder encourages the dough to puff slightly while baking so that it presses into the hot pan bottom and bakes through evenly, preventing an underdone bottom crust." I like the result.

Oh, and this is my favorite pie/pi plate!  See the 3.14159 on top?  The numbers around the edge are the digits of the number π, well, all the digits that fit anyway.  π is irrational, so the digits go on forever, with no repetition.  On the base of the plate is a huge blue π symbol.  Isn't it adorably geeky?  Love it!
And thank you Ana and Makisha for all your help!

For the Crust:  (ICE's pate brisee)

1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, cold and cut into about 8 small pieces 
2-3 tablespoons water, very very cold (use ice)

To make the crust by hand:

Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl, and stir well (with your hand or a spoon) to mix.  Toss butter into flour mixture, and coat butter with flour.  With your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture (you can do this with a food processor or with two knives).  Pinch and squeeze the butter, and but between your fingers or hands.  Keep stirring the ingredients with your hands to ensure that the butter is evenly mixed.  Continue until only pea-size pieces of butter remain.  Pea-size butter pieces will make your crust flaky and delicious.  It is possible to overmix the dough, especially in the food processor.  Overmixing will leave your dough tough.

Pour in 2 tablespoons of water over the mixture, and gently stir with a fork.  The dough should begin to hold together.  Pouring the rest of the water in, if necessary and 1 teaspoon at a time, gather the dough together into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm (at least  hour).  You can leave the dough in the fridge for 2-3 days or in the freezer for a few months (defrost in fridge over night).

Take dough out of the fridge, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes (or possibly longer if necessary) if it's too hard to roll.  Unwrap the dough and place on lightly floured surface.  Press your rolling pin into the dough a few times to help flatten the dough.  Roll it out to about 10-11 inches in diameter.  Keep lifting the dough up off the counter to keep it from sticking; reflour surface and underneath dough as necessary.  Dust off excess flour when you're done.  Roll the dough over the rolling pin and transfer the dough to the pie plate.  (With some doughs, you can gather the dough back into a disk and re-roll if it doesn't go well the first time; this is not one of them!) Press the dough into the pie plate, pushing the dough into the corners.  Trim off excess dough about 1" wider than the rim. Fold dough underneat itself, and crimp decoratively (with your fingers or fork tines).  Dock the dough well (i.e. prick it all over with a fork).

 Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes, and preheat oven to 350F.  Lay a square of aluminum foil or parchment paper in the crust, and fill with pie beads or uncooked rice or beans.  Cook for about 15-20 minutes.  Remove the dough from the oven, and remove foil and beans/beads.  Return the dough to the oven for another 10 minutes or so, until golden brown.  Cool completely.


This crust was great!  Very crispy.

For the Chocolate Layer:

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

Melt chocolate, and pour into crust.  Gently spread chocolate across the bottom of the crust - it's a very thin layer.  Chill.

For the Peanut Butter Mousse: (adapted from Epicurious)

1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (not the all-natural kind with the oil on top)

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream

Beat cream cheese for several minutes until smooth.  Add peanut butter and blend until smooth.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat until well blended.

In a separate bowl (with clean beaters!), whip the cream to stiff peaks.  Fold into the peanut butter and cream cheese mixture in 3 or 4 additions.

Spoon the filling into the pie crust, and chill for a few hours (overnight is fine).  Serve chilled.


1.  This amount of chocolate filling gives a very very thin layer of chocolate, just a little something to complement the peanut butter flavor.  I think next time, I might try making a thicker, fudgier layer of chocolate.  A ganache work, but it's smoother and less fudgy than I'm imagining.  A peanut butter and chocolate ganache would also work (a half recipe is probably plenty); be sure to chill for at least two hours before topping with peanut butter mousse.

2.  If you want a heavier dose of chocolate, an oreo crust would work well.  A brownie base in a springform pan is also an option (very rich!). I'd probably do 1 1/3 recipe for the mousse for a 9" springform pan.

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  1. My goodness, that looks fantastic. When I read that it was a choco-pb combo, I was hooked, but upon reading that the pb mousse includes cream cheese! Heavenly!! I can't tell you how badly I'd love to dig into this.

  2. I know, I love the peanut butter mousse. I could eat it straight (and it's easy!).

  3. Wow that looks like one luscious pie!

  4. cool pie plate, where is it from?
    Publix has stopped selling PB pie and I need a replacement -this looks good! Except with a graham cracker crust perhaps.

  5. That looks delicious and I love you pi plate!

  6. Where'd you get that pie plate? Love it!

  7. It was a gift, sorry I can't help... I love it!