I’ve never made a pie in my life, but last week I was moved to do so. I suppose I should be thankful that it was a no-bake pie, but it wouldn’t have mattered; I would have attempted it anyway. I’ve been waiting for an excuse – or maybe a nudge – to begin cooking and preparing more food for my family that involves more than assembly. Last week, I was guided to a post on a Brooklyn food blog that asked something simple in a time of terrible grief for the loss of her husband. Jennie, from In Jennie’s Kitchen, wrote:
For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on. (link)
Peanut Butter Pie was her husband’s favorite, and Jennie had making one for him on her to-do list for too long. She wanted others to take advantage of the time they had to share what Mikey, her husband, had so enjoyed. I intended to make it on Friday, but then I ended up in the Mountainside ER with my daughter (everything is fine, except that I am apparently more neurotic than I like to believe), and plans were delayed. So, Sunday afternoon I made Jennie’s Creamy Peanut Butter Pie.
Being me, albeit with good culinary intentions, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly: I bought a pre-made chocolate crust. But almost everything else is just as it’s called for in the recipe. It’s chilling in my refrigerator now, and I’ll share it with my family tomorrow for dessert. Here is my journey towards “Pie Maker” – but I warn anyone who is a true chef/foodie – not only are the photos amateurish, but the choices I made are potentially quite offensive to anyone who knows the correct way around a kitchen. For truly beautiful Peanut Butter Pies, check out this site and this one and this one.
First, the ingredients:
As I said, I used pre-made crust, and I also substituted Neuchâtel cheese for cream cheese. I also used fat-free sweetened condensed milk. I figured I’d attempt to keep working toward my wayward summer beach body. I also used mini-chocolate chips so I could avoid chopping up the chocolate.
My two children were helping me, so I didn’t even want to attempt to chop the peanuts. Instead, I used the peanut butter jar to smash them in a baggie. The kids got a kick out of helping with that. It worked pretty well; I managed to get them into pieces without making too many crumbs.
Mixing the heavy cream was fantastic, mainly because it meant I pulled our mixer out from the back of the cupboard for the first time since we moved. Even before we moved, I’d made my husband mix whipped cream by hand with a whisk because we’d both forgotten that we had this mixer. Now we know. Both of the kids loved using it, too.
Melting the chocolate didn’t work terribly well – of course I used the microwave because I am not even sure if I have a Dutch Oven. Still, we managed to spread chocolate onto the crust without destroying too much of the bottom. It was far too thick and sticky, but again, the kids had fun and felt like they were really contributing. I felt like it was very much worth it, considering the reason we were making the pie in the first place.
Next came the filling. I smushed the cheese and peanut butter together first a bit, then mixed it with the electric mixer, adding the sugar (I poured that), milk, vanilla and lemon juice as needed. I used a vanilla extract made by my friend Rachel. She moved from Sunset Park before I did – and she sent us this homemade vanilla one holiday season as a gift. Does using this instead of a store-bought vanilla make up a little for the store-bought crust?
Stirring the whipped cream into the creamy peanut butter mixture was easy, and pouring it into the pie crust was even easier. Of course, I was left with extra filling because that store crust wasn’t as deep as a homemade crust would have been. I filled three little cups with it – I didn’t want to waste any. I topped the pie and the cups off with crushed peanuts and some of the mini-chocolate chips. I won’t even post the photo of what the chocolate looked like – just believe me when I say it was not capable of being drizzled.
Here’s the final result: My first pie!