Say what you will about Magnolia Bakery. The one thing I learned while living at the perplexing intersection of West 4th and West 12th streets, was that Magnolia made a mean slice of peanut butter pie. It was love at first bite. Within days, this pie became a staple of my diet. For a mere few dollars I could get a slice of pie that could stand in for just about any meal of the day (perhaps two). Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that it is by any means the healthiest meal of the day. A single slice probably contains about a million calories due to about five pounds of peanut butter, cream cheese and chocolate. It kind of hits like a brick to the head. Like I said, it is good stuff.
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
The Magnolia Cookbook recipe is for wimps. If you really want to do this right, you will need the following ingredients.
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!