When I describe the food I make, I use buzz words like “elevated comfort” and “upscale Americana” and “Southern . . . with a twist.” This kind of jargon is insufferable, and anyone else using these words would elicit an eye roll from me likely to detach an ocular nerve from its socket. Ouch. That hurt. But what I mean is that I want to serve you the kind of food you’d enjoy over a heated game of canasta in a Methodist church’s basement. But really the basement is in Oprah’s house, and maybe we’re all wearing statement necklaces. Yes, Stedman, even the boys.
If you understand that the best kind of food defies category or you simply love peanut butter, then this is the pie for you. My good friend Tara described it as both “delicate and decadent,” and it straddles these oppositions perfectly. The whipped cream folded into a peanut butter and cream cheese mixture manages a texture that is light and rich, a peanut butter cup you could use as a pillow before you eat it in your sleep.
I’ve always loved to make this sort of cream pie, but I struggled with recipes that called for using ground Oreos or other store-bought cookies in the crust. Finally I discovered the banana cream pie from Momofuko, which uses a homemade cookie crumble that you press into a pie plate or tart pan. Once I decided to cut the salt (something I’d never thought I’d do in any recipe because my palate is conspicuously salty), I had my go-to cookie crust. Thank you, Christina Tosi—that business is delicious.
And of course you could make this same recipe by using Oreos like the Pioneer Woman does. But as I’ve mentioned before, I always take the long way around as though I’m some kind of Dixie Chick with an axe or rolling pin to grind. I’m forever threatening Micah and Beckie with the thought of homemade puff pastry, and they inform me every time that I am crazy and should listen to my elders who insist store-bought is fine. It probably is.
So get out a big glass of milk and your super-soul-Sunday best because this peanut butter cream pie wants to take you to church—or at the very least its basement.
- ⅔ cup flour
- 1 tsp corn starch
- ½ cup sugar
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp espresso powder
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tsp sugar
- ⅛ tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- pinch of granulated sugar
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 300F. Whisk together first six ingredients until fully incorporated. Add 6 tbsp melted butter and beat until just combined. Spread clumpy mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, breaking up clusters at the halfway point. Remove once finished and let cool before proceeding to step 2.
- Pulse the cookie crumb mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment until fine. Remove to a small bowl and toss with 2 tsp sugar, ⅛ tsp kosher salt, and 2 tbsp unsalted butter. Press mixture into pie pan or fluted tart pan (as pictured) until dish is coated completely.
- Make the filling: In a bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip 2 cups heavy cream until semi-stiff peaks form. Add a pinch of sugar to stabilize.
- Clean the mixer and set the cream aside. Next whip the cream cheese and powdered sugar until combined. Add 1 cup peanut butter and 1 tbsp milk and whip until smooth.
- Gently fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture. Pour mixture into prepared pie shell.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving. Serve with ganache if desired.
- Make the ganache: Bring 1 cup of heavy cream to an almost-rolling boil. Pour over 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips and whisk until combined. Mix in 1 tbsp butter to make ganache lustrous. Refrigerate until desired consistency. Drizzle over chilled pie.