When I moved to California, I could no longer get such a refined delicacy. San Franciscans clearly know nothing of gourmet food. Fortunately, the Magnolia Bakery has a cookbook, and that cookbook has a recipe for their famous peanut butter pie. Unfortunately, as we learned the first time that we tried to make it, the recipe for peanut butter pie in the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook is utterly wrong. When I say "we" I actually mean "she." My girlfriend did most of the cooking and I did most of the "supervising." Anyhow, the pie they teach you to make in the cookbook came out pretty bad. It was light, creamy, and mild. It was not right at all.
My girlfriend is a wizard when it comes to over-analyzing things. So, this is the rare occasion where such skills proved useful. Rather than merely ranting about every fine detail that was wrong with the pie for a half-an-hour, she was able to deduce what would make the pie better. I was skeptical. It seemed the recipe was a total dud. Yet, a few months later, my birthday rolled around, and lo and behold, she pulled it off. She made a pie that was on par, if not better than Magnolia. The trick? More of everything.
So - without further ado - I present to you - potentially lethal - peanut butter ice box pie!
Step 1: Go Get Stuff
For the crust:
1-1/2 Sticks of unsalted butter
A box of Nilla wafers
For the filling:
1-1/2 8 ounce bars of cream cheese (softened)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups of heavy cream
1 bag of Reese's peanut butter cups (8 for the filling, 4 for the garnish--see below)
1 jar of creamy peanut butter (I like Skippy)
For the garnish:
4 peanut butter cups, chopped
Approximately 1/4 cup of unsalted peanuts, chopped
For the caramel sauce:
1 cup cold water
3 cups of sugar
2 cups of heavy cream (room temperature)
Also required are a pastry brush or damp paper towels.
NOTE: Do not level your measurements. Use heaping portions of everything!
Step 2: Soften Butter
Step 3: Crumbs
Optionally, to get very fine crumbs, put the crushed cookie crumbs in a food processor or blender.
Step 4: Crust
Pat the mixture down evenly around the inside of your pie dish to form a crust.
Step 5: Freeze
Step 6: Caramel Sauce
Step 7: Chop, Chop, Chop
Step 8: Whipped Cream
Set it aside in a bowl and let it chill in the fridge while you move on to the rest of the recipe.
Step 9: Whippped Cream Cheese
Mix in the sugar gradually, lightly shaking it in as you mix so that the filling will be evenly sweetened.
Step 10: Vanilla
Step 11: Peanut Butter
Step 12: Peanut Butter Cups
Step 13: Whipped Cream
Step 14: Caramel
If it does not stick to the sides, do not worry. The weight of the filling will push the caramel from the bottom up the sides of the crust. That said, to prevent a total mess, you should be careful not to over-fill the crust with caramel sauce (like in this picture).
Step 15: Add Stuff
Step 16: Filling
Step 17: Cover
Step 18: Refrigerate
This pie can sit in the freezer for months and not loose any of its magic.