They say that most Chefs suffer from a sort of Peter Pan syndrome; basically, we never want to grow up, and we use food as a way of re-creating fond childhood memories – reliving each happy moment with each bite.
A Chef I know, even went so far as to say that for most of those “Peter Pan” chefs, the single most important culinary figure in their lives is their grandmother.
Well, I haven’t taken an official survey, but in my case, I admit that it is true.
As the daughter of Portuguese immigrants and part of my family’s first-generation born Canadian, I wasn’t privy to many of the local culinary treats – even less so to Dixie Pies (Pies from the Southern States of the USA) – as is the case with Peanut Butter Custard Pie. But I was very familiar with Peanut Butter…
Everyday, the school bus would drop me off at my grandmother’s house after school. And my grandmother always greeted my sister and I with a delicious, healthy (and usually decorated) snack. Sometimes, she would peel then open an orange just enough to have the segments separated while the base kept it all together. She would then fill the centre of the orange with Whipped Cream… Other times she would cut an avocado in half and fill the pit’s cavity with tuna salad (my grandmother’s recipe includes, canned tuna, mayonnaise, hard boiled egg, grated raw onion and green olive halves – the ones with the red pimento in the middle). But my favourite was always Peanut Butter on toast (my grandmother knew the perfect ratio of PB to toast and she always made sure the temperature of the toast was just right so that by the time it got to me, I’d get an ooey-gooey warm toast, dripping deliciously with extra smooth Peanut Butter… After which, my taste buds would be exploding with eagerness for more, and I would have to go grab the jar of peanut butter from the pantry, a tablespoon, a tall glass of milk and I would literally stuff myself on spoonfuls of Peanut Butter, while watching “Supergran” and “The Pink Panther”.
Aaaahhh, the memories! Not the classiest snack, but it is still a favourite of mine – and my girls.
Despite my love affair for Peanut Butter, I have NEVER been a fan of anything Peanut Butter flavoured… Until I discovered this pie (as part of my Taste of America Home Cooking Roadshow workshops).
This pie is so yummy, light and unexpected that when my daughter Madison (9 yrs old) tried it for the first time, her reaction was to call out to me and say:
Madison – “Mommy, do you know where I am, right now?”
Me – “In the kitchen?”
Madison – “Nope! I am in Heaven!!”
I hope you enjoy it that much, too!
Peanut Butter Custard Pie
This classic Dixie Pie is sure to surprise anyone who eats it… A light, flavourful and easy-to-make recipe that you’l be making over and over again.
1 Keebler ready-crust chocolate cookie pie base
1 Cup Icing sugar
1/2 cup Creamy peanut butter
2 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste ( or vanilla caviar or extract)
3 eggs, separated
4 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 cup sugar ( for meringue)
- Open Pie base package and leave on the side.
- In a small bowl, mix the icing sugar and peanut butter with a fork until the two are mixed into a “wet sand-like” mixture..
- Place half of the mixture in bottom of the pie base and leave the rest on the side for later.
- In large saucepot, place egg yolks, milk, 2/3 cup sugar, vanilla, salt, and cornstarch. (This is the custard)
- Whisk well until the cornstarch and eggs are welll blended. (Cornstarch must always be combined with cold liquids).
- Heat the custard on medium, stirring constantly until thick (about 20mins). If you stop stirring, it will clump up so, if you need to step away, take the pot off the heat.
- Once thickened, pour the custard over the peanut butter and sugar mixture in the pie base.
- Next, whip egg whites until foamy, and add 1/4 cup of sugar, bit by bit.. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. (This is the meringue part)
- *** FUN KITCHEN TRICK: If the egg whites are properly beaten to a stiff peak, you will be able to turn over the bowl without them falling out. ***
- Now, tap into your inner artist and pour the egg whites over the pie. Be careful to properly seal the custard (there should be no visible custard).
- Sprinkle the remaining peanut butter and sugar mixture over the meringue)
- Bake at 170C for thirty minutes. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
- * When making custard, I always start the process with a whisk to make sure that there are no Cornstarch clumps… Once the milk starts heating up, I switch for a heat-proof silicone spatula since it provides me with a larger surface to stir with and reduces the risk of the cream sticking to the bottom of the pot.