Sunday, March 29, 2009

Recipe: The Ultimate Peanut Butter Pie

(I have updated this recipe on 7/12)
After months of testing and eating, I believe I have come up with the perfect peanut butter pie.

I won't bother you with the crust or extras - I used Pierre Herme's tart dough and lined the base with ganache and toasted nuts - you can do a graham shell or anything you like. The quest here was for the filling.

I had been struggling with the fact that most PB pies used cream cheese in the recipe. That's just not the way it should be. A peanut butter pie should be strongly flavored of peanut butter and nothing else. The consistency should be light, but not so light that it feels like you're eating a tub of Cool-Whip. But it shouldn't be dense like Alton Brown's which was a massive Reese's Cup.

An eGer sent me on a path of peanut butter pudding or pastry cream which was just the paradigm shift that I needed. I dub this pie as perfect!

My Ultimate Peanut Butter Pie:
1/2 C. Crunchy Peanut Butter

2/3 C. Sugar
1/4 C. Cornstarch
1/4 t. Salt
2 C. Milk
4 Egg Yolks

1/2 C. Heavy Cream

First, I'll start with the fact that you can use a jarred peanut butter if you want - just choose the most intense flavor you can find. When I made my own, I used LeBlance Roasted Peanut Oil because it is so strong and it provided a perfect flavor for dilluting with the other ingredients.

Second, I used Julia Child's technique for pastry cream to speed the process along.
In a large microwavable bowl (I use my iSi silicon bowls), zap the milk until it starts to steam. Whisk in the sugar, starch, and salt. Zap again for 60 seconds. Keep zapping in 60 second intervals until you come to a soft simmer. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the yolks. Pour some of the hot milk mixture into the yolks and whisk to temper. Pour the yolks back into the large milk bowl. Whisk well. Zap another 60 seconds. Whisk. Zap. Whisk. Continue this until it starts to thicken. Reduce your zaps to 30 seconds. When you get a pudding-like consistency. Pour this hot mixture over the peanut butter mixture and combine. Cover with saran wrap making sure that skin doesn't form, and bring to room temp.
Once at room temp, take the cream and whip it until stiff. Take 1/4 of the whipped cream and fold it into the peanut butter cream. Then take all of that mixture and gently fold it into the rest of the whipped cream. Pour into your pie shell or parfait glass. Chill at least an hour and enjoy.


Anne Boulley said...

I'm making this! The idea of a peanut butter pastry cream is ingenious, love it!

Gfron1 said...

Thanks Anne...and thanks for making me feel bad that I haven't done my Daring Bakers challenge yet :) Tomorrow the lasagne will be made!

The Cooking Photographer said...

Beautiful! I've been thinking about peanut butter pie lately and you've done all the experimental work. I can just make and eat! Thanks.

Natalie said...

Not a huge peanut butter fan, but this looks really lovely. you might have just changed my mind.

Ingrid said...

Yum, perfect, huh?! Looks fabulous! Would love to have a slice with a big cold glass of milk.

Btw, I've never seen or read Julia's method, thanks for sharing!

Lauren said...

I think Paula Deen's PB pie is the best ever, but this looks like a delicious gourmet alternative! Will have to try your version sometime. Looks so creamy!

Bread and Jam said...

PB pie. I don't even know what to say! I have been craving a good peanut butter pie since I last had it down South. And now I stumple upon your recipe that has ganache in it as well? I may have to call in sick tomorrow so I can give this a try. :)

Vegetation said...

Mmm peanut butter heaven!

Joy @ Joy Of Desserts said...

gfron1, I saw your comment on The Foodie Blogroll about being able to find blogs more easily and had to stop by to see your pastries. My blog is all about desserts (and France too).

I see you must be a Julia Child fan like me. My grandfather would have LOVED this peanut butter pie! It looks great. I think I will try it out for my family.

Kevin said...

I really like the sound of a peanut butter pie!

Klary Koopmans said...

I have to admit it took me awhile before I noticed that that´s a chocolate peanut on the pie... anyway, I especially like the sound of the filling, and was thinking of just serving it as a mousse, maybe with some chocolate shavings on top? thanks for the recipe!

Gfron1 said...

Thanks everyone. First, yes, IMHO this is the best recipe. I've tried quite a few now, including Paula Dean's and this is better. Most recipes include cream cheese, which distracts from the peanuttiness. The only change I will make in the future is to cut down on the powdered sugar to make it a bit more savory. The other thought I'm having is that this could easily morph into a pistachio pie, piñon pie, etc.

Bridget said...

I loved your blog post so much I've included it in my Weekly top 15 recipe posts on twitter!By way of

Well done, keep up the great work and I look forward to seeing more of these wonderful recipes come swimming down my tweetstream.

Happy cooking,


Gfron1 said...

I just checked out Bridget's blog - very fun stuff. Well worth a read, and my regulars know that I don't pass on compliments lightly!

esheppeard said...

You said you used peanut oil? As it's not in the recipe, what did it replace and in what quantity?

Gfron1 said...

esheppard - look in the previous post and you'll see a from scratch peanut butter recipe. That's where I used the oil. I've since moved exclusively to using store bought, but still haven't found one that I think is perfect.

Anonymous said...

ok I made the pie tonight. I found no purpose in the whip cream and it has too much sugar in it. However, it was very good.I can work with it. I had problems having it set up. It was great pudding.

Gfron1 said...

Hi Boo. Thanks for trying the recipe. You may have missed the last paragraph - whip the cream and fold the pudding into it. Otherwise, in my opinion, the dessert is too heavy. And as far as sweetness, it all depends on what PB you start with. More often than not, at this point, I don't use the powdered sugar at all because I prefer it not to be cloyingly sweet. I hope you give it another try and let me know what you think.

Anonymous said...

This ultimate PB pie has twice as much sugar as peanut butter! Still, I gave the recipe a shot as-is, and ended up with something more like PB pudding. Next time I think I'll halve the sugar and boost the PB content.

Gfron1 said...

Yeah, its time for me to update this recipe. I've been doing it very differently for a while now. And yes it is like pudding but then you lighten it with whipped cream. I haven't added the sugar in ages.