A Peanut butter lover and her pie

peanut butter - ganache divide
you can see where the ganache topping sinks into the filling

“… and someone brought a peanut butter pie, can you imagine that?! It’s like eating peanut butter straight. Ack!” My mom grabbed her neck with both hands and made a gagging noise.

I decided it would be wise not to tell her then that I thought a peanut butter pie sounded very good indeed.

I was not brought up on peanut butter, although there was a time when I was in high school that my mom became so immersed in making peanut butter that my sisters and I were eating it for several months. Have you ever tried natural peanut butter, just peanuts and oil and no additives? It’s a lot grittier than its commercial counterpart but the essence and aroma of peanut is more pronounced.

I can understand why some people don’t like this popular sandwich spread. Although it was promoted as a health food when it was first introduced in 1904, peanut butter is high in fat. It also has a cloying taste that makes my tongue feel that it’s suddenly too big for my mouth. Nevertheless, I love peanut butter but I only eat it when I’m feeling indulgent and can spare the extra calories.

Having said that, I like peanut butter:

  • on soft, hot bread sprinkled with a little sugar on top. The heat makes the peanut butter ooze down the sides.
  • smeared on a banana, or
  • for an extra special treat, sliced bananas on bread then slathered with Nutella and peanut butter.
  • on French toast
  • peanut butter perfect pie

    Once a year, I get an urge to make a peanut butter pie. I say ‘once a year’ because that’s probably how long I need to burn off the entire pie. That’s an exaggeration I know, but this dessert literally screams “CALORIES!” Heck, I love it anyway.

    A peanut butter pie is a ready canvas for interpretation, so every year I make a different pie, depending on my mood and what I happen to have in my pantry. This year, I made a graham cracker crust which I mixed with coarsely ground roasted peanuts and Ghirardelli chocolate chips. The filling is a mixture of Skippy® peanut butter and Hershey’s milk chocolate. I had a bar of Nestle Crunch Dark that I broke into pieces and layered over the peanut butter filling. The topping is a simple ganache (Callebaut chocolate and cream) mixed with a little corn syrup for stability and shine.

    Texture is important in a peanut butter pie since it’s so cloying and rich. To keep the taste exciting and the mouth wanting more, I add peanuts for crunch, which also serves to highlight the peanut flavor. Different chocolates provide variety – the sweetness of milk chocolate and the smoky tones of dark chocolate play off each other, adding depth to flavor.

    I gave my mom a slice of this pie. She loved it, wouldn’t you know.

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