Peanut Butter Jelly Time
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
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.
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.
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
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
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.