I'm posting this pie in honor of Jennifer Perillo -- no doubt you know her wonderful blog, In Jennie's Kitchen. I've only met her once, but she's every bit as warm, kind, talented and completely lovely as she comes across in her writing. I was so terribly saddened by the news of her husband's passing. I wish I could do more for Jennie and her family, and I hope to -- but for now, I'm joining with others in the food blogging community in posting one of her husband's favorite treats. Jennie, wishing you peace at this most difficult time.
Below is my version of this pie, here's Jennie's. Make one for someone you love.
Chocolate–Peanut Butter Pie
(From my cookbook, "You Made That Dessert?")
Prep time: 40 minutes
Baking time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 4 hours
Serves 10 to 12
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from a box, or crush 15 graham crackers in a food processor)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (don’t use “natural”)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream, chilled
Pinch of salt
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Mini pretzel twists or nuggets, for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Make the crust: In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt; stir with a fork to mix. Add the melted butter and stir again with the fork until all the ingredients are moistened. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch pie plate.
3. Press the crust mixture with your fingers to cover the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Use the back of a spoon or the bottom of a dry measuring cup to gently press the crust into an even layer. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set the pie plate on a wire rack to cool completely. (Wash and dry the large bowl.)
4. Make the filling: Using an electric mixer at medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the peanut butter, vanilla, and salt. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a flexible spatula and beat again until all of the ingredients are well combined. (Wash and dry the beaters from the mixer.)
5. In a separate large bowl, with an electric mixer at medium-high speed or a whisk, beat the cream until firm peaks form. Plop about one-third of the whipped cream into the bowl with the peanut butter mixture and use a flexible spatula to turn the mixtures over each other until the cream is mixed into the peanut butter filling. Try to mix as little as possible so that you don’t deflate the cream too much. Add the rest of the cream to the bowl and fold it in the same way.
6. Spoon the filling into the cooled crust, smooth the top with the same flexible spatula, and refrigerate the pie until the filling is firm, about 3 hours.
7. Make the topping: On a cutting board, using a sharp chef’s knife, chop the chocolate. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the 1/2 cup cream and butter in a saucepan until the butter has melted and the cream is simmering. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and whisk it until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
8. Let the chocolate topping cool until it’s lukewarm but still pourable, about 10 minutes. Then pour the topping over the peanut butter filling, spreading it with a flexible or offset spatula to cover the filling completely. Garnish the top with pretzels, if desired. Refrigerate the pie until the topping is firm, about 1 hour.