Friday, May 18, 2007

A Date With Mr. Peanut

Oh, you poor people with peanut allergies, I feel so very, very sorry for you. Peanuts, you see, are one of my favorite things to eat in the world. I love them straight from the Planters’ jar, or dug out of a paper bag at a baseball game. I love them encased in M&M candy coating, or ground up in a tidy Reese’s cup. I love them sugar-coated, roasted, spiced, and boiled. I love sitting in bars and nibbling on them, especially in the kind of bars where you can toss the shells onto the floor. I used to look forward to airplane rides simply because I knew those little foil pouches were headed my way. And you can always count on me to negotiate my Cracker Jacks’ prize for just one of your candied peanuts.


Jimmy Carter and I would get along just fine.

I also love peanut butter. When I lived in France, my care packages contained nothing but jars of Jif. That’s because it used to be quite hard to find beurre de cacahuetes in the City of Light, since the French seem to find the spread about as appealing as toe jam. No matter. I’d tear open the box with the jars, head straight to one of the little street markets, purchase half a dozen apples and return to my room, locking the door and closing the canopy to the bed. I’m sure Madame had her suspicions about what I might be doing in there but I doubt any of them involved spreading the paste of a legume on a wedge of fruit.


These days, I keep a couple of different jars in the pantry. There’s the organic variety that needs to be stirred vigorously and the fancy-shmancy brand that is woven through with dark chocolate. For ordinary stuff I usually buy Reese’s brand: creamy and crunchy are both good for emergencies.

To my surprise, the royal offspring have never been fanatical about peanut butter, although for a while they took pleasure in making and eating Fluffernutter sandwiches. And who am I to doubt their wisdom? Lucy the pooch takes her many meds buried beneath a spoonful of peanut butter (or two if she’s looking forlorn). And when I need a nibble, peanut butter is one of the first things I’ll reach for. I guess I’m not alone in my predilection: Wikipedia claims that a half a billion people rely on peanuts as their primary source of protein. That’s a lot of goobers, baby.

So here’s a recipe for those of you who share my affections. The flavor of the pie filling is a bit subtler than you get by dipping a spoon straight into a jar, but it makes up for that in richness.

This pie is also a good workaround for those of you who suffer from Arachibutyrophobia, the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth.


Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate (or regular) graham cracker crust
1 ½ c. whipping cream + 2 T.
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1/3 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 c. peanut butter
¼ c. chocolate chips
¼ c. peanuts, coarsely chopped

Whip 1 ½ c. cream until soft peaks form. Remove from mixing bowl and reserve. Beat cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and vanilla until well blended. Add peanut butter and continue mixing until incorporated. Fold whipping cream into mixture and pile into prepared graham cracker crust. Freeze for at least an hour. Heat chocolate chips and 2 T. whipping cream in microwave until chocolate has melted; stir until smooth. Remove pie from freezer and drizzle with chocolate mixture. Sprinkle peanuts on top. Freeze again until chocolate is firm. Remove pie from freezer at least 30 minutes before serving. You may keep remaining pie in freezer or refrigerator, depending on your texture preference.


At 9:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What else can I possibly say, but... "yum"?


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