Let’s talk about THE best Peanut Butter dessert that one could ever eat – Sharon Pope’s Famous Peanut Butter Pie! The thing that makes this pie far superior to all others is one important fact: it MUST be eaten warm – preferably minutes out of the oven.
I know, I know. Eating a hot pie goes against almost everything you’ve ever known. I thought the same thing when Sharon first told me – but trust us on this one… It will change your life! (Don’t get me wrong, this pie is pretty rockin-awesome at room temperature too, but when it’s hot and ruining all over the place… Well, it’s an experience you don’t want to miss out on!)
So, without further a due – the recipe that will soon become your favorite…
SHARON’S ULTIMATE PEANUT BUTTER PIE
For the Crust:
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
9 tbs. shortening
5-6 tbs. ice water
Directions: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the crisco and “cut” the shortening into the flour. (I like to use my fingers and hands – you want the crisco to end up in little bits, about the size of a green pea.) Then drizzle the ICE water onto the flour mixture and mix well. (You want the mixture almost as damp as play dough – but not too wet. It will still be a little clumpy, but will hold together when pressed with your hands.) Press together into a ball, then turn the crust mixture out onto a WELL floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the mixture out to about 1/8 inch in thickness. (Try to keep the crust moving while you’re rolling by using the rolling pin to spin it a little – you don’t want it to stick to the counter.) Once the crust is rolled out to the right thickness, roll it up on the rolling pin and transfer to the pie dish. After fitting the crust into all the edges of the dish, trim the excess dough off the edges with a knife – leaving a little over an inch hanging off. Then fold the remaining inch of crust under the edges and crimp using your left thumb and pointer finger on the outside and your right thumb on the inside. This gives you that attractive edge!
Using a fork, pierce the crust about 10-15 times (to release moisture while cooking) and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. If the crust doesn’t seem to be golden after 20 minutes or so, turn the broiler on and get a little color on it. Be careful not to burn the crust at this point – keep a good eye on it!
Tip: This crust recipe is actually 1.5 times more than the original recipe, but I have my reasons. First off, I’m not the best at keeping my crust from cracking a fair bit when I roll it out, so with extra I can usually just cut off the cracks after I put it into the pie dish. Secondly, I’m a huge stickler on things looking good, and with extra crust I have plenty on the edges to do a stunning crimp! Plus, there’s enough in this recipe that you’ll be fine for a deep dish pie too!
For the Filling:
The Peanut Butter Crumbles…
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
Directions: Place in a medium bowl and mix together using a fork. They’ll be crumbles, of all sizes. (Try not to eat them all before you place them in the pie, please! :p) Set them to the side.
Tip: I add a little more of both ingredients because I prefer to have more peanut butter in the pie – but that’s just me:)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
1 tbsp. AP Flour
3 tbsp. corn starch
1/4 tsp. salt
3 cups milk (2% or whole)
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract (don’t measure, just pour a good ol’ dash in – you can’t add too much vanilla, ever!)
Directions: Place yolks, sugar, salt, flour and cornstarch in a bowl and whisk together well. Begin to add the milk, slowly at first, and whisk until combined. Place in a pot over medium heat. The goal is to thicken the mixture with heat until it’s the consistency of a custard/pudding. You can do this in the microwave (which Sharon taught me) by heating the mixture in 30 seconds intervals and stirring it in-between to make sure it doesn’t curdle and scramble the eggs. I prefer to do this on the stove top – but that’s just me. Either way, keep a watch on it! On the stove, I bring it almost to a boil and that’s when the flour and cornstarch do their thickening work! After it’s thickened, pull off of the heat and add the butter and vanilla, whisk to combine, then grab a spoon and taste it – best stuff ever! (Again, as with the peanut butter crumbles, try to leave some for the pie filling, please! :p)
For the Meringue:
3 egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 – 1 tbsp flour (I’ll explain below)
Directions: Place the egg whites in a bowl and begin beating with a mixer. (Using a whisk attachment if you have one) After they’re starting to turn white and a little foamy, begin adding the sugar slowly. Then beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.
Tip – sometimes, especially on humid days, it’s hard to get egg whites to hold their peaks. My mom taught me years ago that if you’ll add just a touch of flour to your egg whites and whisk it in well, it will help stabilize them when they cook and they’ll hold their peaks better!
Place 1/2-3/4 of the peanut butter crumbles on the the bottom of the cooked pie crust. Top with all of the custard mixture (but don’t over over-fill the crust. You can always snack on the left over custard later!). Spread the meringue over the custard and top with the remaining peanut butter crumbles! Place back into the 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes to cook the meringue and brown the top of the pie.
Pull out and serve within the first hour to fully enjoy. Like I said before, this pie is WONDERFUL at room temperature, but it truly is a life changing experience when it’s served warm! I’d let it cool for about 10-15 minutes to make sure you don’t burn your tongue completely off though… :)
I truly hope that you make this recipe with your friends and family for years to come. It’s recipes like this that hold so much meaning for me. Sharon, who shared this recipe with me on my 22nd birthday, is one of my dear friends from my time in Arkansas and we have made so many memories in her kitchen with our friends over the last several years. Every time I make this pie, I feel like Sharon is right there in the kitchen with me – laughing and acting like a total loon… And that’s what makes this SUCH a special recipe to me!
Take the time to create memories with those you love over recipes like this one… Not only will you feed the body, but more importantly you’ll feed the soul!