Saturday, March 5, 2011

Year of the Pie #3 & 4: Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pie and Joe's Stone Crab Key Lime Pie

This round of pie is a two-fer! Given that much of the winter months are spent in hermit mode here on the island, March is when we start getting restless for some socialization. A friend/fellow teacher decided it was time for a potluck, and set forth plans for this evening. I decided to bring a pie. Or two. I based this reasoning primarily on the fact that I couldn't decide which pie to make, but also on the type of pies I was stuck on. One is chocolate-peanut butter - sort of rich and wintry, the other is key lime - a hint of spring. Kind of like March, winter isn't quite over, but spring is just around the corner (though in northern New England, spring can sometimes yield a snow day in April). 

ingredients for a pie or two. or more.
I may have looked at an extra pie
recipe when making the grocery list.

Both recipes required quite a few ingredients that I didn't have on hand, so I had to make a last minute trip to the grocery on Friday night, rushing around to find things, or substitutes for things, in the last half hour before closing at 6. Luckily I found just about everything I needed, aside from a quick shopping trip in the neighbor's pantry. Valuable time was spent staring at the cookie shelves in search of chocolate wafer cookies (or chocolate Nilla wafers); they were nowhere to be found so I opted for Chocolate Teddy Grahams - you'd never know the difference.

I prepped both crusts on Friday night - graham cracker crust for the key lime, and chocolate wafer crust for the chocolate peanut-butter. During the crust preparation phase I experienced my first pie baking fiasco of the year. Despite common belief, butter does not, in fact, make everything better - especially if that everything is the interior of the microwave. Note to self: cutting up the half stick of butter will prevent butter-ific explosions (even when the power is set on medium). Whoops.
and then there was butter. ALL over the microwave.
I prepped the chocolate-peanut butter pie first; it called for longer time in the fridge, and needed more time to prep the mocha sauce topping. The ingredients and prep weren't difficult: blend the peanut butter, cream cheese, some confectioner's sugar, vanilla; then whip the heavy cream with remaining confectioner's sugar to whipped state, fold in to the peanut butter mixture, then chill for at least three hours in the chocolate cookie crust. 
almost mocha sauce.
would also be delicious on ice cream!
The mocha sauce was made by heating the heavy cream, instant coffee, and butter to a simmer, then melting in the chocolate chips, and combining the corn syrup, and vanilla. It cooled some before getting poured over the chilled peanut butter filling, then went back in the fridge to set. The final product was a fudgey layer over a light and creamy peanut buttery filling. Yum.

The only thing I found with this recipe is that there is A LOT of peanut butter filling - I had enough for two pies although the recipe only calls for one crust. Next time I'll either plan to make two pies (and double the crust and mocha topping) OR cut the filling in half. The leftover filling does, however, make for a tasty late-night snack.
tub'o'peanut butter filling.
Now to be honest, I've made the key lime pie twice before - just not THIS year. It's the first pie I made from the book, initially for an Easter potluck last year, and then again while visiting a friend (who is a big fan of key lime pie) in April. It went over well on both occasions. The recipe comes from a restaurant in Miami, and unlike some key lime pie, does not have a meringue topping but rather is slathered in whip cream. Like most key lime pies, it is a very simple recipe: egg yolks, zest of lime, condensed milk, and, of course, key lime juice, in a graham cracker crust. The yolks and zest are beaten until light and aerated before adding the condensed milk, then the lime juice. 
10 minutes and done!
The pie is baked for 10 minutes to set, cooled completely at room temperature, then chilled for at least two hours. For serving, heavy cream is whipped with a small amount of confectioner's sugar, then slathered on top. I like this layer to be nice and thick, like a meringue might be.

not-yet-whipped cream.
the poor mixer worked overtime on this round of pies
Both pies were well received, as pie pretty much always is, though the chocolate-peanut butter appeared to pull ahead in the end. There was even a stampede for the kitchen when I mentioned what kinds I had made. Of course, there should always be a stampede when pie is involved. 


1 comment:

  1. A two-pie party has to be a hit! Try a Key Lime pie when you can actually buy Key Limes. Makes a huge difference. And who would cut a recipe in half because you ended up with too much peanut butter filling?? Not I said the Little Red Hen.....