Introduction: Peanut Butter Chocolate Silk Pie

The ultimate comfort pie to celebrate pi day (or any day) is right here! I can assure you that this recipe is not difficult and it will not take all of your culinary willpower to make this delicious pie. Take it from me, a student studying for exams and an amateur baker, this recipe is fairly easy. After all, the machines do most of the work for you ;). You have here a flaky and buttery nutmeg crust topped with a specially (read accidentally) light chocolatey filling and a slightly salty and nutty peanut butter topping all in a fancy ceramic pie plate that I got for Christmas (thank you mom). Keep scrolling if you want to learn how to make this creamy yet airy, rich and smooth chocolate peanut butter pie.

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

For the Crust:

- 2 cups of all purpose flour

- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

- 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted chilled butter

- 1 teaspoon salt

- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

- 4 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening

- 1/2 cup cold water

- 1 egg white

For the Chocolate Filling:

- 2 egg yolks

- 1 cup dark or bittersweet chocolate chips

- 1/4 cup unsalted butter

- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar

For Peanut Butter Filling:

- 1/4 cup melted butter

- 3/4 cup of smooth peanut butter

- 1/4 cup of powdered sugar

Optional Topping:

- Cocoa Power

- Candied Peanuts (Adds extra texture!)

- More Whipped Cream

- Melted Chocolate drizzle

Here I just use cocoa powder but you can try any (or all) of these variations!

You will also need this equipment:

- Food Processor

- Stand or Handheld Mixer

- Sauce Pan

- Silicone/ Rubber Spatula

- Pie Plate

- Rolling Pin

- Cling Wrap

- Pastry Brush

Step 2: Pulling Together the Crust

So to start, you can literally dump almost all of the crust ingredients in the food processor and press start. It’s that easy!

Add all purpose flour, baking powder, 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, salt, nutmeg, and shortening, all to your food processor. Then set the machine to pulse until it is all combined. At this point, it should look quite dry and crumbly. Add the water slowly until the dough moistens significantly. Stop adding the water if the dough looks too wet or too thin, it should hold together and look smooth. If it is too moist, that’s ok, just add a bit more flour.

Now, when measuring the dry ingredients be sure not to pack it all in, but loosely push off the excess with your finger. Remember that the butter, the shortening, and the water should be cold, this makes for a great crust!

Usually, pie crust will be much drier but after several bouts of trial and error (by several I mean more than 3) I found that making the dough moist early on makes it easier to shape, allowing room in the dough for extra flour.

Step 3: Kneading the Dough

Take the dough out of the food processor and onto a floured surface. In this step, you can just play around with the dough a little bit. Push it down with your palm, squeeze it, throw it around (just kidding don’t do that).

But really, the point of this is to activate the gluten in the flour. I found that the most effective way is to push the dough toward the edges of your surface with your palm so that it forms a thin layer of dough. Then, gather it back up and repeat until the whole mass has been spread thinly and returned.

Step 4: Chill Time

Your dough has been through a lot at this point, so it's time to let it rest for a while. Gather it up into one mass and wrap it with cling wrap. Pop it in the fridge. It can stay there for two hours to overnight, but don’t leave it there for more than that. When you take it out, it should be more firm and easier to handle.

Step 5: Shaping the Dough

Of course, this one depends on the size of your pie plate. Try to roll out in as even of a square as possible. The dough should be about 1/2 an inch to 1/4 inch thick.

Use the flour liberally in this step so that the dough does not stick to your work surface or rolling pin. Make sure that the center of the dough is not thicker than the edges, it’s a mistake I have made a few times!

Step 6: Introducing the Pi Plate

Ideally a pie plate will have lowered sides for easy slicing. Mine is ceramic but I have heard that metal ones work the best. In reality though, no matter the type of pie plate, as long as it can withstand oven temperatures it can produce a nice pie.

So now you can carefully lift your rolled out dough and place it into the pie plate. Press it into the corners of the dish until it fits perfectly with the shape of the plate. If there is excess dough, you may trim the edges and save it for later use. Some suggestions are pop-tarts for easy breakfasts or a smaller, mini tart for a fun dessert.

With a fork, pierce the inside bottom of the dough, making small holes along its surface. This keeps the dough from puffing up by allowing steam to escape.

Step 7: Eggcelent Crust

Crack open one large egg and separate the yolk from the white. (It is easiest to do this using the eggshells to slide the yolk from one piece of the shell to the other, letting the whites drop into a small bowl underneath.)

Keep the egg whites in a small bowl next to the pie crust and plate. Grab a pastry brush and dip in into the egg whites. Working fast so that it doesn’t drip, run the eggy pastry brush over the entirety of the crust. This not only gives the upper edges of the crust a beautiful brown tint after baking, but it also adds texture to the bottom crust of the pie.

Now, pop the crust in the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit or 230 degrees Celsius for 10 to 15 minutes. It should turn golden brown and crumbly when it's ready.

Step 8: Whip Up Some Whipped Cream

While your crust is baking, you can start on your chocolate filling. First, it's important to make whipped cream to give the filling its characteristic light and silky texture.

Gather your heavy whipping cream and pour it into a large bowl fitted with a stand mixer. Starting at low speed, whip the cream until you see very soft peaks form. At this point, you can gradually increase the speed for a quicker result. When the cream has risen and stiff peaks have formed, you are ready to move onto the next step.

Step 9: Churning Chocolate

In a heavy sauce pan set over medium heat, add egg yolks, chocolate, butter, and sugar. Stir this continuously so as not to scramble the eggs. When the ingredients are fully incorporated, You can take it off of the heat and set it aside to cool for about 2 minutes.

Step 10: Chocolate Silk

Remove the large bowl from the stand mixer. Scoop the delicious fudge out of the pan and try not to eat any (I know it’s hard but bear with me). In 3 intervals drop it into the whipped cream and fold them to incorporate. Be gentle here! We want to keep the airiness of the whipped cream in the filling. Scrape the sides of the bowl to incorporate any remaining whipped cream and proceed to fold until the filling is no longer streaky.

Step 11: Crust, Meet Chocolate

Gently push the mixture out of the bowl and onto the cooled crust using a rubber spatula. Then, smooth the filling evenly over the crust. It should fill a little more than half of the space in the pie plate.

You can now place the crust and filling back in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to set. The filling should be solid but soft when it is removed.

Step 12: Butter Bonanza

In the same bowl fitted in a stand mixer, add the melted butter, powdered sugar, and peanut butter. The mixture should be runny, but if it’s not you can just add a tablespoon of room temperature water at a time until it has the desired consistency.

Step 13: Last But Not Least...

Spread the peanut butter over the chilled chocolate filling. For my pie, I cut out a stencil for pi (3.14) and applied cocoa powder on the cut-out part so that it formed the numbers on the pie. However, to add more texture just add caramelized peanuts and/or chocolate drizzle for a more intense chocolate flavor.

Thank you for reading and enjoy the pi!

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