Friday, April 11, 2014

Individual Peanut-Butter S'mores Pies

I can't remember what we were watching, but Hoosband and I saw some reference to peanut-butter pie on TV a couple weeks ago, and he got that dreamy look in his eye. There might have also been an audible tummy response and a rogue drop of drool making a run for his chin.

"Oh man, I used to make peanut-butter pie all the time," I reminisced. 

He looked at me as if he'd learned I'd been skimming half his income into a private account in the Caymans. "And you've been keeping this from me?" the betrayed inquired.

My penance was clear. 

A bag of homemade graham crackers leftover from creating a fresh chevre cheesecake for a Mother Earth News post sat on my counter, so the timing was perfect for pie.

Now a custard-y peanut-butter filling in a crumbly homemade graham cracker crust is a fine thing on its own, but I wanted to have a little fun with it. I settled on two variations, and since I'm only really fond of one of my pie pans, I decided to make a bunch of mini-pies instead of two large ones. Portion control is an added bonus.

I knew right away I wanted to do a Peanut-Butter S'mores Pie, but I didn't have time to make homemade marshmallows, and I really didn't want to go to the store to get the Jet-Puffed variety.

Then I realized I had a perfectly marshmallow-y substance right at my disposal in the two egg whites I'd be reserving from the filling. Since crunchy-on-the-outside, marshmallow-y-on-the-inside meringues are an all-time Hoosband favorite on their own, I figured it was a fair swap out.

What do you think?

Individual Peanut-Butter S'mores Pies

~for the crust~
2 cups homemade-graham-cracker crumbs
2 T dark brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
3 T melted butter

~for the filling~
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup peanut butter (I use Jiff Natural)
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used Guittard Extra Dark)

~for the meringue~
2 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar (I used Wholesome Sweeteners Organic)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 12-cup, standard-sized muffin pan with muffin liners.

Use a fork to thoroughly combine the crust ingredients. Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared cups, and use your fingers to press the mixture firmly into the bottoms and up the sides of the liners. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the condensed milk, peanut butter, and egg yolks until very thoroughly combined. Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared crusts, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and wait about two minutes for the filling to settle before evenly distributing the chocolate chips among the pies. Set aside.

Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat on medium speed until foamy, voluminous, and just able to hold very soft peaks when the beater is lifted out of the mixer. With the mixer on, beat in the vanilla and one tablespoon of sugar at a time until the mixture is extremely white and glossy and able to hold stiff peaks.

Transfer the mixture to a large piping bag, and pipe the meringue in a climbing spiral over the top of each pie so that no chocolate or filling is showing.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and bake 20 minutes more.

Remove pies from the oven and allow to cool completely before very carefully lifting them out of the pan--a fork may be helpful in this process to avoid cracking the meringue.

Store the pies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, and stay tuned for variation number two, coming soon!

Thanks for reading! Here's to Being the Secret Ingredient in your life.

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