Thursday, July 7, 2011

peanut butter pie with pretzel crust and hot fudge.


I think predictability is bleh.

You know, like how chocolate and banana or something sweet and salty has to be good? I think it's boring. I want to try funky crazy stuff. Weird yet surprisingly good combinations. Things that require a little bit of experimentation and imagination. And yet, I made this pie.

No wait. I made this pie... with hot fudge.


I bookmarked it a long time ago, when I first got my Baked cookbooks. It took me so long to make this because of what I lamented about earlier- it's a boring old peanut butter-chocolate combo. I couldn't get myself hyped up enough to make it sooner but I eventually got my butt in the kitchen because I had pretzels and cream cheese to use up.

Those of you who have the Baked Explorations cookbook may be a bit confused- there isn't any peanut butter pie with pretzel crust recipe, but there is a peanut butter pie with chocolate cookie crust one. And you may have noticed a strawberry salad recipe at the back. Basically, I combined the two together and voila! My not-so-original invention! And I didn't use the hot fudge recipe provided, I used the leftovers from my banana "ice-cream", which I still marvel about, by the way.


So here I am, going on and on about how yawn inducing this is, but you know what, this is good. Predictably good, but heavenly all the same. It's the magic of tried-and-tested flavour combinations. I don't have the power to beat that, and I shall not resist.

This pie can be eaten straight out of the freezer, and I made it last long enough to see it progress from a firm creaminess to a soft mousse-like texture. When it reaches that melting ice cream stage, the flavours become more pronounced. The pretzel crust is unlike any crust I've made before. It has the aroma of caramel corn and is sweet yet salty all at once. And when I took a huge chunk of that with some peanut butter mousse and oodles of hot fudge... I don't know what to say anymore. Really, I don't.


I got pretty sad when I only had a few bites left. Ooh, I almost hate myself for loving this so much.

I'm not sharing. Get your own.




Peanut Butter Pie
with Cookie Crust
and Easy Hot Fudge Sauce

[makes a 9” pie]
For the chocolate cookie crust:
30 chocolate wafer cookies (about 6 ounces)*
1 Tbs. sugar
6 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

Or Pretzel Crust:
8 ounces salty pretzels, (about 4 cups), crushed into coarse chunks
3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
For the peanut butter filing with chocolate bottom:
½ cup (3 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
½ teaspoon light corn syrup
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1½ cups heavy cream
For the easy hot fudge sauce:
6 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
6 ounces dark chocolate (64% cacao),
finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup light corn syrup
Chocolate cookie crust
In a food processor, grind the cookies to a very fine powder. You should have about 1½ cups. Put the crumbs in a bowl and stir in the sugar. 
Pour the butter over the crumb mixture and mix until well combined. The mixture will feel wet. Turn the crumb mixture out into a 9-inch pie plate and press it into the bottom and up the sides. You can use the back of a large spoon to even out the crust. 
Put the crust in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
For the pretzel crust
Heat oven to 350F and butter the sides of a pan.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and whisk in brown sugar. Add the mixture to the pretzel pieces and mix until combined. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes, set aside to cool.
Peanut butter filling with chocolate bottom
Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave oven or in a double boiler. Add the corn syrup and stir to combine. Use a spatula to spread the chocolate in a thin layer on the bottom of the chilled pie crust.
Put the crust back in the refrigerator while you make the peanut butter filling. Put the cream cheese, peanut butter, vanilla, and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until well combined and completely smooth. Set aside.
In a clean bowl, use the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to whip the cream until soft peaks form. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, with a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture until the mixture is uniform in color. 
Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and freeze for at least 4 hours. Once the pie is frozen, you can cover it with aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 days.
Easy hot fudge sauce
Place both chocolates in a medium heatproof bowl and set aside. 
In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat. Add the corn syrup and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolates. Let the mixture sit for 2 minutes. Starting in the center of the bowl and working your way out to the edges, whisk the chocolate mixture in a circle until completely smooth. The hot fudge sauce, cooled to room temperature and covered tightly, will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator. Rewarm the sauce in a microwave oven on medium heat for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until the sauce is warm; or reheat it in a small saucepan over low heat.
Place a frozen piece of pie on a large serving plate and spoon 3 heaping tablespoons of the warm sauce directly over the top of the pie. Eat and enjoy immediately.

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