Tag Archives: cookie crust

Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter is a popular pie for potlucks. It is a pretty simple icebox pie that even non-bakers can whip up in no time. I have never been a fan of peanut butter pies (or potlucks, for that matter) because they are usually cloyingly sweet or too salty. I blame the cloyingly sweet part on the usage of Cool Whip. I just don’t get Cool Whip. (I don’t get Miracle Whip, either, but that’s another story.)

Homemade whipped cream is simple: heavy cream, sugar, a little vanilla. When you make your own, you can control the sweetness. You just have to be careful to stop mixing when you reach soft peaks, because it will go from whipped cream to butter in the blink of an eye. Although, making butter is fun, too. I used to do this activity with the kids when I was an after-school group leader. (Kids love craft projects they can eat.)

Back to the pie. The whipped cream I make for this pie contains no sugar because there is already sugar in the pie. I do not add salt because peanut butter is already salty enough. Of course, using some kind of hippie health food, no-salt, no-sugar peanut butter will give you different results. That’s fine if that is how you roll, but be aware that you may need to add salt and your favorite natural sweetener to make a palatable pie.

I am not a choosy mom, but I still choose Jif because my choosy mom chose Jif. I like the taste and the texture better than other brands. You can use the peanut butter you prefer, just make sure it’s smooth. Part of the appeal of this pie is the creamy texture. Peanut bits that will invariably get stuck in your teeth will ruin the effect, plus your friends with diverticulitis (Remember Doug and Wendy Whiner?) won’t be able to eat it.

While you can pick up a ready-made crumb crust at the grocery, I implore you to make your own crust. It is so easy and so much better.

Peanut Butter Pie

Crust
1½ cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about one sleeve)
5 tbs butter, melted
1 tbs sugar

Mix and press into pie plate. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Filling
8 oz cream cheese, softened
¾ cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
1½ cups smooth peanut butter
1 tbs vanilla
1½ cups heavy cream

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in peanut butter and vanilla until combined. Set aside. Beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Stir in 1/3 of whipped cream into peanut butter mixture, then gently fold in remaining whipped cream. Spoon into cooled pie crust and refrigerate at least four hours before serving. Garnish with a sprinkling of cookie crumbs or a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

I remembered to take more photos this time, except during the whipped cream part. I am easily distracted by whipped cream.

The obligatory ingredient lineup

Chocolate graham cracker crumbs. Chocolate cookie crumbs work, too

Mmm.... Butter! Do not skimp on the butter; four tablespoons really isn't enough

Use the flat bottom of a measuring cup to evenly press the crumbs into the pie plate

Completely cool the crumb crust on a wire rack before filling

Beat the powdered sugar and cream cheese until fluffy

Ooooh! That's fluffy!

Now it's time to add the peanut, peanut butter (hold the jelly)

Confession: I rarely measure vanilla extract

Beat in the peanut butter and vanilla until it looks like this

Use a spatula to gently fold in the whipped cream

Peanut-buttery goodness ready to become a pie

Gently fill the crumb crust and make it look pretty

I sprinkled cookie crumbs on top just to pretty it up a bit

After chilling for four hours, the pie sliced up perfectly

Advertisements

Coffee Lovers Pie

I am a bit of a coffee addict. I love the smell and the anticipation of the first sip in the morning. I love it hot or iced. I like my coffee how I like my men: strong and sweet. Cream and extra sugar, please. I’m on my third cup right now.  No decaf, thanks. Buzzzzzzzzzz!

I will admit that I started drooling when I came across a recipe for Coffee Cream Pie in the Martha Stewart’s New Pies & Tarts cookbook I checked out from the library. I immediately made a list of ingredients I needed and then put it aside because it sounded complicated. Hey, I’m just being honest. I like Martha, but sometimes she just makes things harder than they need to be. (Yeah, that’s what I said.)

I made some adjustments to her recipe, simplified things a bit, and my pie came out perfectly. I noticed that people left comments on her recipe post about the cream filling not setting correctly. I had no problem whatsoever. Please refer to my cream pie tutorial for tips on how to achieve perfect results.

Chocolate Cookie Crust
26 chocolate wafers
5 tbs. butter, melted
3 tbs. sugar
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Use a food processor or a Ziploc bag and a rolling pin to make cookie crumbs. Pour crumbs into a medium bowl and add butter, sugar, and salt. Stir until well combined. Press mixture firmly into a 9-inch pie plate. You can used a flat-bottomed measuring cup to evenly press the crumbs across the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake about 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Coffee Cream Pie
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
2½ cups milk (I used 2 cups 2% milk and ½ cup heavy cream because that’s what I had on hand)
2 tbs. instant espresso powder (I used Café Bustelo, the only instant espresso powder I found at Publix)
4 egg yolks
¼ cup Kahlua (one mini bottle will suffice)
1 tsp. vanilla
4 tbs. butter

Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in milk and espresso powder. Cook over medium-high heat until thick and bubbling, whisking constantly for about 5-7 minutes. You will know it’s done when big bubbles form and the whisk leaves a nice trail along the bottom of the pan. Do not overcook!

Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in milk mixture in a steady stream until incorporated. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat until just boiling, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add vanilla and Kahlua. Stir in butter 1 tbs. at a time, whisking until melted. Let cool, whisking occasionally, about 10 minutes. Pour custard into cooled cookie crust. Press plastic wrap on surface of custard (to avoid the dreaded pudding skin) and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours. Prepare whipped cream right before serving.

Real Whipped Cream Topping
1¼ cups heavy cream
1 tbs. powdered sugar
1 tsp. espresso powder

Whip cream, sugar, and espresso powder in a chilled bowl until stiff peaks form. Spread over top of chilled pie. You can crush regular or dark-chocolate-covered espresso beans to add as a garnish atop the whipped cream but only if you are serving/eating the pie immediately. The beans get mushy in the cream overnight and take on an unpleasant texture.

Now for some pretty pictures.

Cookie Crust Ingredients

Here's what you need for the chocolate wafer crust

mini food processor

Making cookie crumbs in the mini food processor

pinch

Look! A pinch of salt! My mom found the cute mini measuring spoons for me

cookie crumb crust

Making the cookie crust and recreating the photo in Martha's book

Ingredient lineup

Ingredients for the coffee cream filling

whisking

See the trails left by the whisk? This is how you know the custard is done

Coffee Cream Filling

Carefully pour the cooled filling into the cookie crust

Cover in plastic wrap

Press plastic wrap over filling to avoid the dreaded pudding skin

Coffee Cream Pie, anyone?

You Can Have Cookies for Crust

The topic of pies came up the other night while sharing beers with friends. (I know, right? How random. Pie.) And someone mentioned they don’t like pastry pie crust, but they do like cookie crusts. I started thinking about all of the cookies I could use for crusts. Mmm…. Cookies.

I made an Oreo crust for the Grasshopper Pie. And a— wait a minute. Oh my! Look at all of these OREO pie recipes!! I’m so easily distracted by pie and recipes….

I’ll have to check that out later because I want to talk about how easy cookie crusts really are. Plus they are delicious. Graham crackers are the classic. I think my sister uses some kind of almond cookie for her awesome cheesecake, and that would make a delicious pie crust, too. I used a package of Pepperidge Farms shortbread cookies for a Mandarin Orange Cheesecake Pie (recipe TK!) a few weeks ago, and that was darn tasty.

I noticed that a lot of the older cookbooks recommend Zweibacks as a cookie to crumble for a crust. Man, I loved those teething biscuits. Seriously. Crunchy goodness. Sounds kind of odd for a crumb crust, though. Maybe it’s just me.

A few cookies I recommend are Anna’s Thins (any flavor, but ginger rocks), LU’s le Petit Beurres, and, most importantly, Jules Destrooper‘s Almond Thins or Butter Crumbles. Yumness right there.

The basic recipe is about 2 cups of cookie crumbs and 2-4 tbs butter, melted. You may need more butter if the crumbs feel too dry. Depending on the size of the cookie an your pie plate, you may use 12-24 cookies. You can either use a food processor, or put the cookies in a Ziploc bag and smack the heck out of them with a rolling pin. That’s how I like to do it. With a rolling pin. Trust me.

Mix the crumbs and melted butter together and press into a pie plate.  You can cover with plastic wrap and press a smaller pie plate into the crust to get it even. Or you can use the bottom of a glass to do the same thing. Just make sure that you press the crumbs evenly on the bottom and up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes in a preheated 350° oven and let cool on a wire rack before filling. There’s your crust.

I have seen recipes, like this one for Nabisco’s FAMOUS® Chocolate Wafer crust, that add sugar to the crumbs and butter. More sugar? I don’t think it’s necessary.  (So I have to point this out, but does Nabisco own the rights to shouting “FAMOUS!!” or just the word FAMOUS in all caps? Weird. Oh, shit! I probably owe them money now.)

That’s pretty much it. Go ahead and have yo’ cookie crust!

Any questions?