Monday, August 19, 2013

One Great . . . frozen peanut butter pie

You know the hardest recipe requests I get? Childhood grails: That's when someone remembers a taste from childhood. Oh, you can find a version of that dish. But will it taste the same? Probably not. Time and youth burnish flavors in a way that things eaten in the present can never match.

When I married my husband 28 years ago next week (ha! bet he thought I forgot again), he came with a grail recipe: A peanut butter pie he had eaten on a trip to the West with his parents when he was a kid. All he remembered was that it was fluffy and tall, and he couldn't stop eating it, even when he was so full, he hurt.

That means I've spent 27 years trying fluffy peanut butter pie recipes. This one must have come close: As soon as he took a bite, he started telling me about a pie he ate when he was on a trip to the West with his parents.

I know, honey. I know.

Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

From "The Mac + Cheese Cookbook: 50 Simple Recipes from Homeroom, America's Favorite Mac and Cheese Restaurant," by Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade (Ten Speed Press, $16.99).

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

PREHEAT the oven to 350 degrees. Stir together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Bake until brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

WITH  a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (a regular hand mixer with a paddle will work, but it will take longer), whisk the cream at high speed until it forms peaks that stand up straight. Transfer to a clean mixing bowl and set aside.

FIT the mixer with the paddle attachment and beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, brown sugar and vanilla at high speed until smooth.

FOLD the cream cheese-peanut butter mixture into the whipped cream with a rubber spatula, drawing it up through the middle and turning until it's mixed with no streaks of white showing. Spoon into the cooled pie shell. Freeze for at least 1 hour and up to several days. Take out of the freezer 15 minutes before serving.