Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Pie
Peanut butter has had its day in the sun. I remember when I had a food-porn page on Tumblr while I was at university, everybody was sharing pictures of delectable peanut butter creations: brownies, cheesecakes, ice cream. It's been chewed up and, from what I gather, people are a bit bored of it now. People are moving on - maybe they'll come back to in a few decades when they remember it as a health food item.
At this stage, it's hard to think of anything to do with peanut butter that hasn't already been done. People combined peanut butter with chocolate, caramel, coconut, chilli - it's honestly all been done - there's nowhere new you can take peanut butter. But forget about trying to be novel, all you can do is take it back to basics. This recipe for a simple peanut butter pie is nothing groundbreaking, showy or extravagant. It tastes as it looks (very good, I hope we can agree) and it's so simple that is gives peanut butter some class again.
This recipe is an old Southern recipe, variations of it are more-or-less the same, just with varying quantities. Back in the olden-days of plantations in the American South, peanuts were an abundant commodity, especially in rural Georgia. People didn't know what to do with them, this is one of the results. You could fit some form of chocolate or caramel into this pie, but I honestly beg you not to. Just enjoy it in its simple glory, purely for what it is. Use good quality, organic peanut butter, not the gummy American types like Skippy or Sunpat. That way you will better capture the pure flavour of this outrageously delicious nut, without all the bells and whistles of the 21st century.
OLD-FASHIONED PEANUT BUTTER PIE
- 400g Shortcrust Pastry (home-made or shop-bought)
- 280g high-quality, organic Peanut Butter (smooth or crunchy)
- 250g full-fat Cream Cheese
- 150g Icing Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 300ml Double Cream (optional decoration)
- If you use shop-bought or home-made pastry, line an 8-inch tart dish with the shortcrust pastry and place into the freezer for 15-20 minutes to chill. In the meantime, preheat an oven to 180C. Take the tart shell out of the freezer and line with foil. Fill the foil-lined tart with baking beans (or dried beans/peas). Place the tart into the oven to cook for 20 minutes at 180C until firm to touch. Remove from the oven, remove the baking beans and the foil and bake the tart for another 5 minutes to allow the pastry to brown a little.
- Now the pastry is done, we can make the filling. Place 250g of full-fat cream cheese into a mixing bowl and mix until smooth and whippy.
- Add in 280g of peanut butter (warmed in the microwave until runny) and mix into the cream cheese.
- Sift in 150g of Icing Sugar and gently fold through until no lumps are visible.
- Add in 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and mix until combined.
- Pour the peanut butter pie filling into the prepared tart pastry and set the whole thing in the fridge to cool for at least 3 hours until set.
- Once cool and ready to serve, whip 300ml of double cream and spread across the top of the pie, or pipe small mounds onto each portion of pie. Serve and enjoy!