For February I decided to throw my husband a bone, since he only got a half slice of the Chocolate Cream Pie in December and I made a Coconut Cream Pie in January. Jeff hates coconut, but he LOVES peanut butter, so I decided to make him a Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie. I know most people call it a "Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie," but I want the focus to be on the peanut butter, so I'm listing it first in the title.
(Side note: when Jeff is eating something he likes, he very often comments that it would be better with more chocolate and more peanut butter---even if the item has none of either ingredient. He doesn't seem to say it to be funny; he legitimately thinks every food in the world would be better with more chocolate and more peanut butter. I usually think it's funny, but sometimes I want to shout, "ACK! Not everything in the world has to taste like a Reeses!")
(Other side note: around here in Ohio, lots of people say "ReesEEs" with a long e at the end, instead of Reeses, with a short e. I'd never heard it before and I think they're wrong. The commercials never said ReesEEs! What do you say?)
I've made peanut butter chocolate pies before, but they were never just right. Jeff and I have been searching for the "perfect" peanut butter chocolate pie, and America's Test Kitchen is no help! Stupid ATK!! (Just kidding.... Chris, Julia, Bridgette, Adam, Jack.....How could I be mad at you???)
The recipe I came up with is actually a combination and tweaking of 5 separate recipes. It comes as close to the perfect peanut butter chocolate pie that Jeff and I have yet encountered, but there is still some tweaking to go. I will explain that later.
I went with a Nutter Butter crust, a fudge layer, a peanut butter/cream cheese layer, and a ganache top. Fabulous! I'm the perfect combiner of recipes! And using hot fudge topping for the fudge layer was all my idea. I'm brilliant!!
Here is the combo RECIPE that I used:
14 nutter butters
3 Tbl butter melted
Mrs. Richardson's Chocolate Fudge Topping (NOT Hershey's)
5 ounces cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups chilled heavy cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the crust by combining cookies and butter. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9" pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly browned.
2. Spread fudge topping on the bottom of the crust to the thickness you prefer. Go slowly, be patient, and use an offset spatula so that the act of spreading the fudge doesn't pull up the crust. Chill the crust after the fudge goes in.
3. Filling: In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer set on high, whip cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add milk, peanut butter and vanilla. Beat until well mixed.
4. In a separate bowl, whip remaining chilled cream until stiff and fold into peanut butter mixture. Spoon gently into chilled crust, using a spatula to smooth the surface of the pie, and refrigerate for at least 5 hours.
5. Make the ganache: In a medium glass bowl, combine the chocolate with the heavy cream and microwave at high power in 20-second intervals until the chocolate is melted and the cream is hot. Stir the ganache until blended, then let cool to barely warm, stirring occasionally.
6. Spread the ganache over the peanut butter filling and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Note: It is vital that you chill the pie for the required time. Otherwise it just weeps all over. When it is properly chilled it slices like a dream and tastes a million times better than a weepy pie.
NOW --- WHAT I WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY:
1. I would add more fat to the crust. A total of 4-6 Tablespoons. The crust didn't hold together as firmly as I would have liked.
2. I would make a thicker fudge layer. More topping. That is Jeff's suggestion, not mine. It is true, though, that that layer wasn't really "present."
3. I would use less sugar and more peanut butter in the filling. I don't like my pies to taste like a candy bar, and even though everyone who ate it gushed at how much they loved it, it was too sweet for me, and I'm the cook, so I get to fiddle with it!
4. I would garnish it with chopped peanuts around the edge of the pie.
5. I would have remembered that it was my friend's birthday that night and actually have said "Happy Birthday" and maybe even have had everyone sing the song, instead of forgetting all about her birthday because of my stupid dinner and pie. I didn't know it was her birthday when I invited her family to dinner, but when she told me that it would be her birthday that night, I certainly planned on doing something for it!! What's my problem? I LOVE birthdays! Who would have thought I would have missed a birthday???!!!