“Peanut butter is the paté of childhood.”

So says food writer Florence Fabricant and I couldn’t agree more. As a child, one of my favorite after school snacks was apples and peanut butter and it remains an after work snack. And I will be honest here, I have no problem sticking a spoon in a jar and will just start to nom on plain old peanut butter.

So when this peanut butter pie recipe came across one of my Google Reader subscriptions, I immediately said: YES PLEASE!!! Now, I believe I had previously mentioned that I am no pastry chef. In fact, I enjoy consuming desserts more than cooking them. But this recipe looked so easy that even I couldn’t mess it up. I will forewarn you that not only is the pie super duper yummy, but if you are on a diet this will take a large portion of your calorie count for the day. But when things are this delicious, who is counting?

Pie crust
1 1/4 cups chocolate graham crackers, crushed
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter

Pie Filling
8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Optional additions
Whipped cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Candied Peanuts
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup peanuts
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water

Prep Time: 20 minutes (add another 10 if making whipped cream & peanuts)
Cook Time: 10 minutes (for crust add another 30 if making the candied peanuts)
Calories: 432
Servings: 8-10

Pie crust
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix graham crackers, sugar, butter or margarine in a bowl. Then press into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes and then cool. If making the peanuts don’t shut oven off, just turn down to 300 degrees.

Pie filling
Blend cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, butter, and vanilla until well mixed. Before adding the cream, whip it by beating until it starts to peak. About 5-7 minutes. Fold into the peanut butter mixture.

Spoon filling into crust. Smooth top with spatula. Refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours.

Candied peanuts
Mix sugars, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon and set aside. Beat egg white and water until frothy (bubbles form). Add peanuts and coat evenly. Sprinkle nuts with sugar mixture and mix well until all peanuts are covered with the sugary mixture.

Spread nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven, and separate nuts as they cool. Store in a Ziploc bag or Tupperware until ready to use.

Homemade whipped cream
In a large bowl mix ingredients and whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Make sure not to over-beat because cream will then become lumpy and thicken to a butter-like state.
Top pie with whipped cream and candied peanuts before serving.

Food for Thought:
-For those of you who don’t understand what nom means (mentioned in first paragraph), I refer you to this website.
-I switched the crust to chocolate graham cracker because I thought it feature the peanut butter filling more. To crush the crackers, I put them in a large Ziploc bag and rolled over with a rolling pin until small crumbles formed.
-I needed to add one more tablespoon of butter to the pie crust mixture to get it form together and easily mash into the pie pan.
-The candied peanut recipe was inspired from one of my favorite food blogs smitten kitchen. It came out more like peanut brittle than what was described but the candied nuts added a nice touch nonetheless.
-For those of you who have never made whipped cream: peaks are the pointed mound that can be created when a mixture has been whipped long enough to become stiff.
-Skipping the whipped cream and candied peanuts will reduce the calories count by about 50.
-I started to dig into the pie pictured below and then realized I hadn’t taken a picture resulting in its deformed state. I told you this pie is damn good.