I’m not an expert on relationships, but if anyone were to ask me advice I would recommend lots of delicious, home cooked meals for a great partnership. Believe me, I’m not preaching the archaic “a woman’s place is in the kitchen” outlook on life (though it is my dream to be locked away in a fully stocked, state-of-the-art, industrial kitchen all day and coincidentally get paid for it). Simply put: the way to a man’s heart is, without a doubt, through his stomach.
Ever since the start of my relationship, I’ve been feeding Joe the best possible dishes I can think of. In the beginning, it was fun to discover what his favorite foods were. On the same token, I learned very quickly what he couldn’t stand; since 2007, my “Chicken Parm” has been “Parm-less”. Parties, birthdays and holidays have been marked with memorable recipes like pastor-style tacos, chocolate bread pudding and apple cider brined turkey. We have also made it through some kitchen disasters, like the Valentine’s Day 2009 homemade lobster ravioli that took us five continuous hours to make; by the time it was ready, we were uninterested.
Just as I win Joe’s affections through my meals, he never fails to tell me how great my food is and he constantly brags about my skills in the kitchen. Plus, his dishwashing skills are on point, even after a four-course meal. Now that we are engaged, I feel even more responsibility to produce amazing dishes and am making it a point to create recipes with his favorite ingredients.
On a regular basis, I catch him with a spoonful of peanut butter, straight from the jar. He could eat peanut butter and jelly every day and be perfectly happy, and all of the desserts he flocks to include the thick, salty spread. This recipe for peanut butter pie might be one of the reasons he asked me to marry him.
Peanut Butter Pie
Adapted from Saveur
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
½ cup smooth peanut butter
½ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
5 egg yolks
2 cups milk
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon plus one teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons sugar
Cook rolled pie crust according to package directions and let cool. In a medium bowl, stir together confections’ sugar and peanut butter until it forms crumbles. Put ½ cup to the side, and pour remaining crumbles into pie crust and evenly spread on the bottom. In a saucepan, whisk together salt, brown sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks and milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, continuing to whisk, and cook until mixture thickens into custard. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and 1 Tablespoon of vanilla. Pour the custard over the crumbles and smooth. Chill in the refrigerator for approximately 1 hour. Aggressively whisk together 1 teaspoon of vanilla, cream and sugar until the mixture forms stiff peaks; spread over chilled pie and top with remaining crumbles.
You know if I’m eating something delicious from my very vocal reaction and my “oohs” and “aaahs”. This recipe, though, left me speechless. The peanut butter crumbles ever so slightly melt into the crust once the warm custard is poured on top, and also live another life on top of the pie adding texture to the homemade whipped cream. The custard inside the pie might fool you with flavor; the color and texture would make one think it was a peanut butter filling. The custard tastes more like a light, butterscotch pudding and balances the salty peanut butter layer underneath. Many custard-filled pies have a reputation for being slightly heavy, but this one seems almost weightless in comparison. The topping of whipped cream is worth the arm workout you get from whisking the mixture until it becomes thick.
On that note, when creating the custard be sure to generously whisk over the heat. Since it includes egg yolks, it could cook too much if left unattended and you’d be left with an interesting concoction of sweet, scrambled eggs. Whisking, pretty much until your shoulder burns, will ensure that your custard mixture lightly cooks into a pudding-like consistency.
This recipe states it serves eight, but good luck with that; my version of the pie was cut into six wedges. For peanut butter lovers, though, that may even be stingy. Still, if you’re eating this with the one you love, they may be willing to share (especially if you made if for them). Now that Joe knows this recipe is in my repertoire, his heart is forever mine; the only thing I have to share it with is peanut-butter.