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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie

About a year or so ago, before I was blogging, I was scrolling through food blogs and came across this peanut butter pie everywhere I turned.  All the food blogs were posting it - extremely unusual.  Turns out that a food blogger had just tragically lost her husband, Mikey.  This was his favorite dessert and so everyone was making a "pie for Mikey" to show their love and support.  After I finished crying, I decided to make one too.  It quickly became Jim's favorite as well.  It has everything he loves all in one dish...peanut butter (check!), cream cheese (check!), homemade whipped cream (check!), chocolate (check!).  One day, I will try it with reduced fat cream cheese and reduced fat condensed milk instead of the full fat that the recipe calls for so that we don't feel as bad eating it, but not when it's his birthday...which is tomorrow.  I don't want to risk a failed attempt at making this healthier for us on his birthday.  I've already decreased the sugar by more than half the original recipe because it was way too sweet for us.  So now it is perfect and I am afraid to mess with it just yet.  Until then, this is a serious indulgence - which is okay by me.  I only make it once or twice a year, and when I do, it always reminds me to appreciate everything on a daily basis - including yummy pies and especially my husband.  I myself learned very recently after losing my 56 year old father suddenly to a stroke that you never know when you might lose the ones you love most in this world.  You may not even have a chance to say goodbye.  So eat this pie with those you love and savor every moment with them.

1 8 oz box chocolate cookies
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
8 oz any kind of chocolate chips (I use 60% dark)
1/4 cup unsalted and dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I use natural)
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Put the chocolate cookies in a food processor and process into fine crumbs.  Melt the butter and combine with the cookie crumbs in a bowl.  Press the mixture into the bottom and an inch up the sides of a 9-in spring form pan, making the crust of the pie.  Melt 4 oz. of the chocolate chips (I use the microwave on 20 second intervals.)  Pour it over the crust and spread around so it covers most of the bottom.  I tilted the pan around to do this because when I used a spatula or knife it would take up the cookie crumbs.  Now sprinkle the chocolate with most of the chopped peanuts, reserving some for the top of the pie.  Place the pan in the refrigerator until you are ready to pour in the filling.

Put the heavy cream in a medium bowl.  With a hand mixer, beat on high for about 3 to 5 minutes until stiff peaks form.  Place this bowl in the refrigerator as well.  In another bowl, combine your cream cheese and peanut butter.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add the sugar on low speed until combined.  Then add the condensed milk, vanilla, and lemon juice.  Beat on medium speed until combined and smooth.  Now add 1/3 of the whip cream.  Fold this into the mixture to lighten it before adding the rest of the cream.  Fold all the cream in gently.  Pour this filling into your pan.  Melt the rest of the chocolate chips so you can decorate the top of your pie with chocolate and peanuts as desired.  When all done, put the pie in the refrigerator at least three hours or overnight so it has time to set.  This pie is worth the wait!

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