29 January 2010

Not-the-Blue-Willow Peanut Butter Pie

I love peanut butter.  There is something about its savory stick-to-your-ribs-ness that I can't resist.  On a recent visit to Atlanta, my parents treated us to lunch at the Blue Willow Inn, an institution in Social Circle, Georgia, about 50 miles east of Atlanta.  Set in a large Victorian house, it's a HUGE buffet of all things Southern, including a dessert island loaded with everything imaginable.  One of the sweet treats was peanut butter pie, which I felt obliged to try.  Dense, creamy and crunchy, and covered with a thin layer of something sweet, it was the best PB pie I had ever tasted.

As luck would have it, my mother has the Blue Willow Cookbook.  As soon as we returned home, we made a beeline for the cookbook and found the recipe for the pie.  We copied it (for archival purposes, of course) and brought it back to Dallas.

Tom got the ingredients from our local Whole Foods Markup store, but instead of a graham cracker crust for which the recipe called, he got a chocolate cookie crust.  (Think Oreos.)  As it turns out, the label on the crust had its own recipe for a peanut butter pie.  What a quandary!  Do we make the tried-and-true Blue Willow pie, or gamble on "Wholly Wholesome's" suggestion?  Difficulty of preparation was not an issue because each recipe has six ingredients or fewer, and neither requires baking.  Tom went with the Wholly Wholesome pie.

With all due respect to the Blue Willow's impressive spread of Southern decadence, Wholly Wholesome's pie kicks it's [peanut] butt[er]!  It's lighter, a bit sweeter (although neither is overly sweet), and the chocolate crust takes it over the top.  I see a new Grand Champion in the making for the Annual MontiDelConcho Block Party dessert competition.  (All you neighbors may as well not bother entering.  It's THAT good!)

Tom's Wholly Wholesome Peanut Butter Pie

2 medium bowls
electric hand mixer or whisk

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (we used Skippy)
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
2 tbsp. whole milk
1 cup powdered (confectioner) sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
9" chocolate cookie pie crust (we used Wholly Wholesome, of course)

In one bowl, thoroughly mix the first 4 ingredients.
In the other bowl, whip the cream.
Fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture.
Spread mixture into the crust.  (Tom made little decorative peaks on top of the pie for added flair.)
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  The recipe says it can be stored for up to 3 days, but it's unlikely there will be any left after the first meal.