If this pie were a pie chart (it’s not, because you can’t eat a chart–how lame would that be of me?), it would be about 30% fluffy, 20% fruity, 12% fresh, 0.5% boozy, 40% salty, 35% sweet, 60% nutty, and 13% OMGPRETZELS.
That doesn’t add up, but you weren’t going to check my math anyway. Don’t look at me like I don’t know you… We’re both here for pie.
I don’t think we’re going to be disappointed. I’ve eaten many a peanut butter pie, but this one is different. Something special about it, you know? A little je ne sais quoi, except… Je TOTALLY sais quoi, and I’ll tell you all about it.
I fail at math and French today, but win at pie. It’s a fair trade.
Here’s what makes this one so special: it’s not heavy in any sense of the word. Peanut butter pies usually aren’t too sweet, and I love ’em for it. They tend to be very rich, though–with cream, cream cheese, and maybe chocolate thrown in there too. Believe me, nothing wrong with that, but.
It’s spring and that means something to our eating and dessert-ing lives. We see juicy, ruby-red strawberries everywhere we turn. We have lots of daylight, and the kind of weather that maybe has us wanting to go cavorting outside instead of taking a nap after dinner. This is an ACTION pie, not a coma pie. This pie keeps comfortable walking shoes in its purse/man-satchel.
Also, delicious. There’s that, too.
For starters: Greek yogurt, you guys. This isn’t news, but I want to put it in everything–and it’s exceptionally lovely in this. Creaminess and tang do wonderful things to a peanut butter pie. One note: make sure it’s at room temperature. Very important to avoiding curdled messes. I sort of pressed my luck on this one myself and it turned out fine, but… Don’t be like me.
I don’t think a pretzel crust needs an explanation. It’s possible that I just wanted to snack on pretzels dipped in peanut butter while I worked on the pie. You, dear friend, could certainly use a pre-made crust, whether plain, chocolate, or graham. But when weighing your decision, I want you to factor in the snacking potential, because I only want what’s best for you.
For a multi-component, multi-step pie, this isn’t too difficult either. The filling involves a double boiler situation, gelatin, and whipped egg whites, sure. But, then! Then you get to shove this foxy beast in the fridge, retire to the couch with pretzels and half a jar of peanut butter, and look at pictures of cats on the internet for a few hours–just long enough to get hungry again.
After a few hours of honest productivity, there you have it! Chilled to a perfect, airy, mousse-like, firm-enough-to-slice-clean texture.
The macerated strawberries don’t exactly stay that vibrant, red color–I’m okay with that. In return, they’re sweet with just a hint of jammy red wine. If you want the inside-strawberries to look as good as these decoration-strawberries, I think this could absolutely work if you skipped the macerating part. Or maybe you’re more into the idea of using bananas? I would support that. You know I would.
What’s important to me here is that I found the perfect base of peanut butter goodness to experiment with. I’m already scheming up other versions of this, so if you’re into it (and I hope you are), stay tuned because we’re going to have all the peanut butter fun. All. Of. It. Tell your allergic friends that we’re, uh, gonna be right back.
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved/quartered
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- A splash of Port wine (optional but nice)
- Enough pretzels for about 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of crumbs (a 10-ounce bag is more than enough)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 7 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 2/3 cup cold milk (unsweetened almond milk used here)
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 cup Greek yogurt (Fage 2% used here), room temperature
- Toss strawberries, sugar, and wine (if using) in a medium bowl and set aside for at least 30 minutes while you prep everything else.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Pulse the pretzels in a food processor until finely ground. Add the sugar and melted butter, pulsing to combine.
- Pour mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and press the crumbs onto sides and bottom of pan.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until firm. Set aside to cool.
- Sprinkle gelatin over cold milk and set aside to soften (10 minutes or so).
- When gelatin is soft, microwave it just until liquefied (about 20 seconds) and stir. Beat egg yolks, sugar, and salt together in a double boiler over simmering water until just combined, then beat in gelatin mixture and continue beating in the double boiler until mixture is thick and fluffy- about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and blend in peanut butter and Greek yogurt.
- Beat egg whites until they can hold firm peaks but aren't dry and crumbly, and fold into peanut butter mixture.
- Drain the excess liquid from the macerated strawberries and scatter them into the bottom of the prepared pie crust. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the strawberries into pie shell and chill in refrigerator until firm--at least a few hours. Decorate and serve with whipped cream (you could also make double the amount of macerated strawberries and serve the other half on the side).