She gardened, canned, baked, cooked, baked and baked and baked some more. And she was good at it. If Grammie found out you really liked something, she would make it special for you when you came. It became known that her Peanut Butter Pie was my younger brother's favorite. I'm not sure how he was singled out because we all loved it, but it became his special dessert. It was so good. I can taste it just sitting here and the pie has been gone for a good three days.
I've been looking for a special occasion to make her Peanut Butter Pie again and this past week I had an opportunity. My parents and my Pop Pop (Grammie's husband) were here for the weekend and my dad had recently had a birthday, so I decided to make it for him...and Pop Pop...and my mom (Grammie's daughter). Oh, and for me:-).
This is a special occasion pie for a few reasons. First, it's incredibly rich. Second, it's incredibly sweet. Third, it's a tad involved. But, do not...I repeat, do not...change this recipe or write it off as too involved. It's perfect the way it is and the instructions are simple.
Grammie's Peanut Butter Pie (my grandmother's recipe)
Makes 1 pie
1 package graham crackers, crushed into crumbs (1/3 of a box)
1/2 cup softened butter
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup milk
3 egg yolks, beaten (save the whites!)
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 cups milk
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/3 cup sugar
To prepare the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, softened butter and sugar in a small bowl until well-blended. Press the crumbs into a 9-inch pie plate and bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Set aside.
To prepare the crumbs, combine powdered sugar, peanut butter and white sugar in a small bowl until they resemble coarse crumbs. Set aside.
To prepare the custard, combine sugar, cornstarch, 1/2 cup of milk, beaten egg yolks (save the whites!) and vanilla in a bowl until well mixed. Pour 2 cups of milk into a medium-sized saucepan and add egg yolk mixture. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until thick and bubbly. Reduce heat and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes. Set aside and let cool to almost room temperature (can be slightly warm).
Now, go fold laundry, read to the kids, sweep your kitchen floor or pay some bills until the custard has cooled to barely warm.
Sprinkle 1 1/4 cups of the crumbs onto the bottom of the graham cracker crust. Pour the cooled custard over the crumbs. Set aside.
To prepare the meringue, use the whisk attachment of your stand mixer (or hand mixer) to beat the egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar until frothy. Slowly add the sugar. Beat on high until stiff peaks form. Spread the meringue over the custard and sprinkle the remaining crumbs on top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the meringue and crumbs have begun to brown.
This pie is best served chilled, so let the pie cool completely and then refrigerate it several hours to overnight to allow it to set.