Peanut Butter Jelly Time

PBJ-Pie_Top

So, the other night, I crawled into bed–worn out and fed up on more level than one–with my laptop and 2 tasks I was so not in the mood to accomplish: type out the message for a congrats card to my recently wedded cousin (I have to think so hard to manage legible handwriting,  I need to already have what I want to say in cards figured and typed out) and decide on something to say about this here pie.I’d been stuck in one of those achy not feeling so loving or loveable places that most anyone with a soul will find their self in at some point or another, and honestly, the only thing I really had in mind about this pie and the fact that I think you should make it was this.

But then, I went into one of my personal Evernote [my lifeline] notebooks to start spouting some congratulatory/”huzzah for love” card filling and I came across a “note to self” I dropped last November:

Feed people, because sometimes it’s the best way you know how to care for them. It’s a comfortable way of showing love to a stranger. I may not know you, but I do know it is my place in this world to love you. Would I adore you if I got to know you? Maybe, maybe not. Do I know all of the things your insides ache for or understand what you need out of this life, this day, or this conversation? Nope. But I do know that you need to eat. Every one of us needs nourishment and handing a slice of pie to someone I just met at the bar*, if nothing else, says hey–I see you and I want you to live, and be happy, and enjoy the sweet moments life has to offer you. I care that you exist and that you’re here, I care that you have needs and desires I’ll never come to understand. And even if I never knew it at the time, I totally made this piece of the pie just for you
>*I was really into taking pies to bars with me at the time. My intentions were completely innocent. This I swear.

I have zero recollection of writing it, but that little reminder was everything I needed to read this week. And even if I didn’t know it at the time, maybe I totally wrote that  bit of touchy feely just so that I could read it and share it now. Also, you people should likewise know, that you’re a heck of a lot more than your low moments and that every time you feed somebody, you’re probably feeding more than their belly. And that’s a big deal. So good for you.

And as far as this here pie goes–it’s a little sloppy, a little playful, and would go over so completely well at your favorite booze-soaked neighborhood hang. I’m sure of it. Just saying.

Peanut Butter Jelly Time


Pretzel Crust

     13/4 cups finely crushed pretzel pieces
     1/4 cup brown sugar
     3 tablespoons milk powder
     1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

     10 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Combine first 4 ingredients (through salt) in a medium mixing bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add butter to bowl; toss to coat evenly. Press pretzel mixture firmly into bottom and up sides of a 91/2-inch glass pie pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 325° or until lightly browned; cool completely on a wire wrack.

Filling

 

     1/3 cup light brown sugar
     1/4 cup granulated sugar
     1/4 cup cornstarch
     1 teaspoon kosher salt
     11/4 cup half and half
     1 cup whole milk
     7 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
     3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
     3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
     1 teaspoon vanilla extract

     1/2 cup strawberry jelly *(not jam, not preserves–JELLY)

1. Combine sugars, cornstarch, and salt, in a medium saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Whisk in half and half, milk, and egg yolks. Heat mixture over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula (scraping bottom and edges of pan well), 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened to the consistency of a loose custard. Remove from heat; whisk in peanut butter. Add butter and vanilla to pan; whisk until smooth.

*Note: If you overcook the custard, no sweat–just whisk in a 2-3 extra tablespoons of milk or half and half to smooth it out. No biggie.

 

2. Pour filling into cooled crust and smooth into an even layer using a rubber spatula. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

3. Heat jelly in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring with a whisk, until loosened and saucy. Pour  jelly over cooled peanut butter pie, spreading into a smooth layer. Return pie to refrigerator until jelly sets back up.

Topping

 

     11/2 cups heavy whipping cream
     3 tablespoons sugar
     1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
     1/4 cup strawberry jelly

     1 tablespoon warm water

1. Place a metal mixing bowl in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove bowl from freezer; add cream to bowl. Using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat cream until soft peaks begin to form, gradually increasing the speed. As soon as cream begins to thicken add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and vanilla extract; continue beating until stiff peaks form. Do not over mix.

2. Arrange cream evenly over pie. Whisk warm water with jelly; drizzle over whipped cream.

Peanut Brittle Powder

 

     2 teaspoons unsalted butter
     1/2 cup granulated sugar
     1/4 cup blanched, unsalted peanuts
     11/2 teaspoons canola oil

     1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Grease a metal sheet pan with butter.

2. Heat the sugar in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. As soon as the sugar starts to melt, use a heatproof spatula to move it constantly around the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, 3 to 5 minutes or until the caramel is a deep amber color. Remove the pan from heat; stir in peanuts. Once the peanuts are well coated,  pour the mixture onto the prepared sheet pan. Spread in a thin even layer using heat-proof spatula. The caramel will start to set in less than a minute, so work quickly. Let brittle cool completely.

3. Break brittle into pieces; combine brittle pieces in the bowl of a food processor with oil and salt. Pulse until a fine powder forms; sprinkle powder over pie as desired.

*Note: This recipe makes way more powder than you need for a single pie. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 months. Use for topping other pies or ice cream or whatever else makes you happy.


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