Pie Envy – building a better pie – Take That!

Pie Envy – building a better pie – Take That!

It all started with this recipe:

Granny Butterworth’s Peanut Butter Pie
3 oz Cream Cheese (softened)3/4 c. Sifted XXX Sugar1/2 cup Peanut Butter2 Tbsp Milk1 Smaller Container of Cool Whip1 8 in Graham Cracker Crust Pie Shell
Beat Cream Cheese & Sugar together til fluffy. Add PB & Milk til smooth. Fold Cool Whip into mixture. Pour into Crust. Chill 5-6 hours. Top with Chopped Peanuts. You can store in freezer to help it set more

… and some relatively small minded bitchiness on my part. I wont go into it again… but you can follow it back >> here << and get the Chocolate Chess part of the recipe.

The thing was to elevate that pie to something better, something Gluten and Dairy Free, and really… something to blow that old pie out of the pie plate.

The crust is really the trickiest part of the recipe as most gluten free pie crusts are either scads long in the ingredients, a small fortune in materials, or actually just don’t work very well at all. Even when you have a good recipe, humidity – oven – the way you hold your head – all impact the way the crust works. And inevitably – you’ve got a bad crust. I’ve based mine on The Pie Crust at Simply Gluten Free and added 1/4 Cup of almond meal to the recipe. Fair warning, you will need to futz around with the water a bit to make things gel with the addition.

So, the pie…
You’ll need several pieces of equipment for the pie:
1 – 9″ Spring Form Pan
Stand Mixer with Whisk and Paddle Attachments
Parchment Paper
Assorted Spatulas
Assorted Mixing Bowls

Step 1
Make the Crust and Chocolate Chess Layer
Go here for that
Once the pie is baked and cooled, place in the fridge until you’re ready to make the next layers

The Peanut Butter Layer
In making the peanut butter layer I’ve used Tofutti Tofu Based Cream Cheese – which is on the low fat side of things, but still fairly high in moisture. High moisture and tons of sugar are a bad combination when you’re trying to get something to set, so I decided to sub in a lowered fat peanut butter that relied on an increase of peanut flour and not so much sugar to fortify the butter. (It’s actually Kroger store brand butter in which I’ve called and checked that it is gluten free)

For the Peanut Butter Pie:

1/2 Cup Reduced Fat Peanut Butter
3/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
8 Ounces Tofutti Cream Cheese
1/3 Cup Coconut Milk (again, it’s the canned type, not the recently developed carton drinking type)
1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Paste (or 1/2 Tsp extract)
In the stand mixer with a paddle attachment, Beat together the peanut butter and “cream cheese” until smooth
Gradually add the powdered sugar a little at a time until it forms a thick paste
Add in the coconut milk and vanilla until it begins to look the consistency of brownie batter
At this point you’ll want to remove the prepared chess pie from the fridge

Remove the spring form and measure a sheet of parchment paper 2″ above the top of the ring
Spray the parchment liberally with cooking spray and wrap around the prepared chess pie.
Reattach the form ring
Pour the prepared peanut butter filling into the parchment ring and smooth the filling on top of the chess pie
Refrigerate a minimum of 3 hours – or freeze for 2 hours

The Meringue Layer
Although I do love me some lemon meringue pie kind of meringue, I wasn’t terribly happy with the finished product. For this to work, The meringue has to:
1. Set fairly quickly
2. Stay fairly rigid
3. Not break down with the cold layer beneath it.

… and with those things, the standard “pie” kind of meringue just didn’t perform all that well, there was still a little meringue failure between the layers. To remedy that, I switched out the normal castor sugar for confectioners sugar in the mix and added cream of tartar.

The Meringue

3 Egg Whites
1/4 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1/3 Cup Confectioners Sugar
With the Whisk attachment and a clean bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form
Gradually add the confectioners sugar and beat until very stiff peaks form
Set Aside

Preheat the oven to 375
Remove the pie from the chiller and evenly spread the meringue over the peanut butter layer
Place the pan in the oven and bake at 375 for 5 minutes
Turn off the oven and bake another 5 to 7 minutes until the center of the meringue is set

Allow the pie to cool on a rack then place back in the fridge for 2 hours (or the Freezer for 1 hour) before unmolding and serving

4 thoughts on “Pie Envy – building a better pie – Take That!

  1. @ SAL ( I believe in recipes that begin with "early in the week…") – actually, I worked on it, off and on, for about 2 weeks. But condensing the steps – and doing things concurrently – chilling the PB filling while the chess pie bakes – and only one complete cooling in the freezer after – it'll take about 2 1/2 hours to make start to finish

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