If you are a peanut butter and chocolate fan—and you like the current craze for “salted” sweet things, then I have a treat for you. This is a recipe that I found about 15 years ago—around the time a group of friends here founded our book club called The Wednesday Group. I’ve talked about this group before, truth be told, we love to cook, eat and talk about food just about as much as we love our books—which is a lot.
Our tradition is that the hostess provides dessert, beverages and serves as the book discussion leader. So way back then, it was my turn to host for the first time. We had already had several meetings and the desserts had been delicious—and it seemed like every cake, pie, cookie and bar had been made by seriously experienced bakers. In fact, at our first Christmas meeting, Sharon even perfectly duplicated the super fancy, fussy, beautiful seven-layer Christmas cake that was on the December cover of Southern Living. And, it was good. Geez. Intimidating. So…. I needed to find something simpler to make—great tasting, but kind of foolproof. This little gem turned up from my mother’s recipe box and I was saved. The Wednesday Group kindly claimed to love it—and since then I have served this pie many times. You can make it in advance; it looks nice, tastes nice and never fails—a no-stress dessert!
Creamy, Crunchy Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
For the Chocolate Crust:
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups finely ground chocolate wafer cookies
For the Peanut Butter Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup chunky peanut butter
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
¾ cup dry-roasted, salted peanuts, chopped
For the Chocolate Topping:
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream
To make the chocolate crust:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put the chocolate chips and the butter into a medium glass bowl. Microwave on high for 30 second intervals until the butter and chocolate are melted. Stir together until smooth. Add the chocolate crumbs and stir with a fork until the mixture is well combined. Press the crumbs into a 9-inch spring form pan to cover the bottom and about 2 inches inches up the side. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and cool to the touch.
To make the peanut butter filling:
Using a stand mixer or a handheld beater, cream together the cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Clean the beaters and then in another bowl, whip the heavy cream until firm. Fold about ½ of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture, and then fold in the other half of the whipped cream and the chopped, salted peanuts. Spoon the filling into the cooled chocolate crust; smooth the top and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt. Refrigerate for about 3 hours, until set.
To make the chocolate topping:
Place the chocolate chips and heavy cream into a medium glass bowl and microwave on high for 20-second intervals until the chocolate is melted and mixture is hot. Stir to combine until completely smooth and then let the mixture stand for about 15 minutes until it is just barely warm. Spread the mixture over the peanut butter filling and sprinkle the top with the remaining ½ cup of salted peanuts. Put back in the refrigerator.
When you are ready to serve the pie, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the crust and then remove the spring form ring. Run a sharp knife under hot water, dry and then make a cut. Repeat for each cut to make nice wedges.