When it comes to pumpkin pie, you’re either a fan or a hater. I used to think pumpkin pie was disgusting. But, in all honesty, I thought that prior to even trying it. Then, one magical day in culinary school, we made pumpkin pie and got to eat our assignment at the end. It was then and there I was dead wrong about pumpkin pie all this time. It’s filled with the flavor of warm holiday spices and the creamy texture is perfect. This pumpkin pie is not traditional in the sense that it’s lighter in texture than a traditional pie. We use both egg whites and whipped heavy cream to lighten this pie up. It’s light, creamy and so tasty.
Thanksgiving is inching closer and closer as each day passes and I can not wait! It’s by far my favorite holiday. For me it’s all about family, food and football. The ultimate All-American holiday. Of course, the All-American holiday can’t be complete without some pie for dessert. But, what is THE pie for Thanksgiving? There is always an intense debate about which of the holy trinity of pies is THE pie for Thanksgiving. Obviously, the holy trinity of pies include pumpkin, pecan and apple.
Well, I’m not really a pecan fan. I do love pumpkin, but there’s still one that has my heart even over pumpkin. Yes it’s true. I only have eyes for one pie in my life and that’s easily apple. I mean you have apples, cinnamon and brown sugar blanketed in a flaky pie crust. You really can’t go wrong with that. If you’ve never tried a homemade apple pie, now is your chance to check that off your bucket list. We’re going to turn you into an apple pie making machine. I know some of you are fearing this, but it’s going to be okay…I promise. Some of you are intimidated by the mere thought of making pie at home. I’ll tell you the honest truth. It’s SO much easier than you think. I guarantee it.
Like many of you, I am also a peanut butter junkie. While some like it crunchy, I’m team smooth all the way. I love making recipes with peanut butter so that I can get my fix in. Candies with peanut butter? Yes, please! I’m also addicted to America’s favorite peanut butter cups. Like, my trash can is usually filled to the brim with those distinct orange wrappers. My name is Fatima and I have a problem. We all know my m.o. when it comes to recipes. They have to be delicious and they have to be easy. I mean, every now and then I like to experiment with the more intricate recipes. For the most part though, I prefer the quick and easy recipes. So combining that philosophy with my love of peanut butter, this recipe hits all the marks. The filling is rich, creamy and perfectly peanut buttery. I absolutely love it. It’s quick to put together and you can keep it frozen or refrigerated until you want to eat it. It really doesn’t get easier than this.
This recipe is originally intended for two 8 or 9″ pies. Well, since I’m typically eating these alone, I decided to make a mega pie instead of two. Same amount of course, but the eye test will fool my mind. Anyways, grease your pan or pans with some cooking spray.
We’ll need some softened cream cheese.
Some confectioner’s sugar.
Some peanut butter. I’m using smooth, but you can use chunky.
Lastly, some whipped cream. For a lighter option, use some whipped topping like Cool Whip.
To make the crust, combine all the ingredients including the butter and mix with your hands until it clumps together. This pie is great with both the cookie crumb crust and the graham cracker crust. Use whichever one you please.
Pour the crust into the pie pan or pans and flatten with the bottom of a measuring cup or pie pan.
Begin mixing the cream cheese until fluffy for about five minutes. Add in the confectioner’s sugar slowly and let it absorb before adding more, mix until combined.
Add in the peanut butter and mix until smooth. It will thicken up on you. Make sure to scrape the sides with a rubber spatula when you’re done mixing.
Drizzle in the milk slowly and mix until combined.
Mix in the whipped cream or whipped topping until uniform in color and creamy in texture.
Scrape down the sides again. Add in the pinch of salt. Taste to determine if the mixture needs slightly more salt or vanilla.
Pour the filling into the crust and flatten the top with an offset spatula.
Wrap in saran and freeze for a few hours or refrigerate for a few hours, depending on what texture you prefer.
Now, have some fun. Decorate as you please. I chose some rosettes.
I drizzled some chocolate, as well.
I quartered some peanut butter cups and placed them on top, because why not more peanut butter?
That’s it! Super easy, looks great and tastes better. Yum!!
See how I do it:
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 8 oz. package cream cheese
- 1 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- 16 oz whipped cream or whipped topping
- pinch of salt
- 12 oz graham cracker or cookie crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (if using graham crackers)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 oz sugar
- 2 oz melted butter, leave some more out if needed.
Combine all the crust ingredients and mix together until it clumps in your hands like wet sand.
Prepare your pie pan by greasing it with cooking spray.
Beat your cream cheese for about five minutes until fluffy.
Add in the confectioner's sugar a little bit at a time, until fully absorbed by the mixture. Mix for a couple of minutes.
Scrape the sides, then add in the peanut butter and extracts and mix until uniform in color and thicker.
Drizzle in the milk slowly until fully combined and mix.
Scrape the sides again and add whipped cream or whipped topping and mix until uniform in color and it becomes creamy.
Add the pinch of salt and fold it in. Taste and decide if it needs more salt or vanilla.
Pour the filling onto the pie crust and flatten the top with the offset spatula.
Wrap in saran and freeze or refrigerate for at least three hours.
You can use graham cracker or cookie crust. You can use smooth or chunky peanut butter. Decorate as you please! For a firmer texture, freeze for a few hours, then leave out for about 20 minutes, before you eat it. If you refrigerate, you'll have a softer texture, so there's no need to let it sit out for more than five minutes before eating. Whipped topping like cool whip can be used for a lighter option.
Many people think the key to a successful pie dough are complicated tools and ingredients. Well, those people couldn’t be more wrong. The keys to delicious, flaky pie dough are two simple things. First thing is the cold. All your ingredients, excluding the vinegar and salt should be cold. The butter and lard/shortening especially should be really cold. If they’re not the right temperature, they won’t properly blend into the flour. This may sound crazy, but I even put the flour in the fridge for a couple of hours in an airtight container. If you have a really cold kitchen, that’s probably not necessary. The second key is to use your hands. You don’t need a food processor or any other gadgets or tools. All you need are the best tools you were blessed with, your hands. This recipe utilizes the fraisage method. Sounds fancy and complicated, but it’s really not. It basically means mixing the dough with the heel of your hand to properly blend everything, without overmixing it. This method always produces a nice flaky dough and besides that, you won’t have any machines to clean up. And that’s always a bonus.
This is a recipe that utilizes a scale. It’s the best way to get an accurate measurement of the ingredients. With pie dough, the ratios are important to get right. You want your ingredients to be very cold. I’m talking Alaska cold. You can use either lard or shortening. Either one helps produce a flaky crust.
Begin by dicing the butter into 1/4″ pieces.
The original recipe requires pastry flour. If you’re like me and you can’t find pastry flour in your area, you can use cake flour in the ratios specified below. Pastry flour and cake flour have similar protein percentages, but the cake flour percentage is slightly lower. To make up for that, we’re going to add more cake flour. Dump in the flour into a bowl and dump in the butter pieces.
Toss the flour and butter together and sift it in your hands to ensure the butter is well coated. Begin to flatten the butter pieces between the thumb and index finger until most or all the butter pieces are flattened.
Next, add in the lard or shortening in small pieces and toss to coat the shortening and flatten the shortening pieces until all are flattened. It will appear lumpy after.
Combine the water, vinegar and salt. Make a well in the flour mixture and add the ice cold water in. Begin to mix with the heel of your hand in a kneading motion until combined. It will appear dry and crumbly.
Dump the bowl of dough onto a marble surface or something similar. Avoid wood surfaces, because it will stick even more. Using the fraisage method, use the heel of your hand to push the dough forward and use the plastic scraper to bring it back into a dough ball. Keep doing this process until the dough is slightly sticky and some gluten development happens.
On a lightly-floured table, roll up the dough in Saran wrap. Allow the dough to rest up to 6 hours.