With temperatures finally dropping to 30 degrees on a consistent basis, I find my cold salads and frozen desserts moved farther and farther back in the fridge and freezer, reaching those nooks of death where well-meaning, but unwanted food goes to perish. It’s times like these when the thermal underwear and fug Ugg boots come out of retirement that you need something that packs a little protein punch; and in terms of dessert, nothing says insular layers of fat like chocolate and peanut butter 😉
What’s great about this recipe, courtesy of Bon Appétit, is that it’s not your typical peanut butter pie with lots of stiff, hard peanut butter. Instead, the airy filling is moist and silky, accented with fresh vanilla beans. And while you also can’t go wrong with melted dark chocolate, the honeycomb candy [watch your fillings!] and tinges of nutmeg set this pie apart from your average “just-another-Reese’s-peanut-butter-cup.”
- Stand mixer or electric mixer with a whisk attachment
- Food processor or blender
- Double boiler (optional)
- Pastry brush (optional)
- Baking sheet
- 9-inch glass or metal pie pan or tart pie
- 9 whole graham crackers, coarsely crushed
- 1/4 cup [packed] light brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- Sprinkle of nutmeg
- 6 Tbl. butter, melted
- 8 large egg yolks
- 12 Tbl. sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise; or 1 Tbl. vanilla bean paste
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, rm. temp.
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 Tbl. powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 1/2 Tbl. unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts
- Honeycomb candy: 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3 Tbl. corn syrup, 1 Tbl. honey, 1 Tbl. sifted baking soda
Crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Finely grind graham crackers, sugar, salt, and nutmeg in a food processor. Transfer crumb mixture to a medium bowl. Add butter and stir with a fork to blend. Use bottom and sides of a measuring cup, or just your fingers, to pack crumbs onto bottom and up sides of the 9″ pie/tart pan. Bake until golden brown, about 15 min. Let cool completely.
Filling: Mix yolks and 6 Tbl. sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (if you don’t have a stand mixer, use an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment). Beat at high speed until ribbons form, stopping once to scrape down sides of bowl, about 2 min.
Combine milk and remaining 6 Tbl. sugar in a large saucepan; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and add bean [or just add 1 Tbl. vanilla bean paste]. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove bean. With mixer running, gradually add hot milk mix to yolk mix. Scrape mix back into the saucepan and clean stand mixer bowl. Whisking constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove pan from heat; whisk vigorously for 1 min. Return custard to mixing bowl; beat on high speed until cool, about 4 min. Mix in butter 1 Tbl. at a time. Add peanut butter, powdered sugar, and salt; beat to blend. Scrape filling into cooled crust and smooth top. Chill until set, 2-3 hours.
Honeycomb candy: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Combine sugar, corn syrup, honey, and 1/4 cup water in a heavy, deep saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high; bring to a boil. Cook without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until sugar turns pale amber color, about 10 min. Working quickly, add baking soda [mix will foam up dramatically]; whisk quickly just to combine. Immediately pour candy over prepared sheet [do not spread out]. Let stand undisturbed until cool, about 20 min. Hit candy in several places with the handle of a knife to crack into pieces.
Topping: Stir chocolate and butter in a double boiler with simmering water until smooth [or combine chocolate and butter in microwave-safe bowl and slowly heat on low, stirring at intervals to combine]. Drizzle some of the chocolate glaze over the peanut butter filling, making a circle in the middle of the pie and leaving a 1″-2″ plain border. Pile pieces of honeycomb and salted peanuts on top, then drizzle remaining chocolate glaze over.
Keep refrigerated. Keeps, covered, in the fridge about 1 week.