Pie Envy – Building a Better Pie (Stage One)

Pie Envy – Building a Better Pie (Stage One)

I    felt    cheated.
Color me petty,  you can say that’s at the very core of the quest to build a better pie.
but I did…
… and I’m not even going to feel bad about saying it.

It all began a couple of days ago on my cousin’s birthday… and with a status update,

“My wife made me Granny B’s Peanut Butter Pie for my birthday!” he says..

I smiled a little inside. I know from the happiness and joy that comes out of home-baked goods… and family memories. Casually, I flipped open the well worn and slightly rusted recipe box with the garish Pennsylvania Dutch motif that houses the family recipes. My fingers ticking over the dog eared tabs to the “PIE” section.
Granted, it was a little selfish of me. I was happy for him… of course I was. But, I wanted to share in that memory. I wanted the clouds to clear and be right there with him tasting that pie. But…

“huh… no peanut butter pie in the box.”

I shot him a quick message that I didn’t seem to have that pie in my collection…

“Would you send me over a copy?”

Of course he obliged… and scanning the recipe…

huh… I don’t know this pie… I’ve never had this pie.”

Our shared grandmother never made this pie for me.
Thinking that maybe my brain had slipped a cog and I just wasn’t processing things correctly, I did a little reconnaissance and casually asked Jane if she had ever tasted her mother’s peanut butter pie; she remembered it maybe having Cool Whip – but no, she only remembered her mother talking about it.

bah! Cheated

It was at that precise moment in time that I began plotting my revenge.
Revenging on a woman that has long since passed on is a little crazy… I know.. shush

I decided to use the pie recipe as a jumping off point.
Peanut butter is great and all, but I thought it needed something to round it out – to elevate it to something sublime – alright, to completely out-do her and make the be-all-to-end-all peanut butter pie. And that, means adding chocolate… and layers.

I’ve played around with four different base layers for the pie, and I finally settled on a  chocolate chess primarily for the hardened, crackly top crust the pie forms when baked.  With the weight of the peanut butter layer, I wanted something substantial between the dense nut butter and the near pudding of the chess pie.

I also wanted to make it gluten / dairy free.
It’s already going to be a massive calorie overload, so anywhere I can cut out some glut, all the better.

And it’s going to get some sort of meringue layer.. maybe Swiss?

And the edges crusted in ground pistachios, for some contrast., maybe…

But, today we’re only dealing with the Crust and Base Layer. Which, oddly enough, is a perfectly excellent pie in it’s own right…
So feel free to skip Crazytown, just make the base layer and call it a day.

Chocolate Chess Pie
with Almond Crust
Makes 1 9″ Pie
For the Crust
go HERE and get the recipe for the crust.
ADD 1/4 Cup Almond Meal to the mix and adjust the water by 1 to 2 tablespoons
For The Filling
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
5 Tablespoons Cocoa
2 Tablespoons GF Baking Mix
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk (the canned version, NOT the Drinking type)
3 Large Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
Large Mixing Bowl
9″ Spring Form Pan
Rolling Pin
Large Zipper Bag

  • Preheat the oven to 325
  • Prepare the GF pie crust
  • Place in the zipper bag, press into a disk and chill for 30 minutes
  • In the Mixing Bowl, add all the filling ingredients and whisk until smooth and thoroughly mixed
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and roll into a single sheet 1/8 – 1/4″ thick
  • Press into the spring form pan, pressing up onto the sides of the form about 1 1/2″
  • Blind bake the crust for 10 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and pour the filling into the  pre-baked crust, return to the oven
  • Bake at 325 for 60 minutes
  • Cool completely on a rack before removing from the pan
  • Serve room temperature or completely chilled.

2 thoughts on “Pie Envy – Building a Better Pie (Stage One)

  1. Great post, Toby,and as the pie maker earlier this week, i have to tell you i felt a bit cheated by it, too. He asked for a peanut butter pie for his birthday, but he wanted that one? I can cook, i wanted to MAKE a pie, that was an assembly project. In a few weeks we are going to have a party for him and i am going to do an amped up (and dairy free) version of it- with the rad whip recipe from the ppk.com site instead of cool whip and dairy free cream cheese and i'm thinking a chocolate pretzel crust. But, maybe i do this too. I'm thinking of doing a pie bar for the party, bc who doesn't love pie?

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