2008_11_PEANUT.jpgFill me up, peanut butter cup, don't break my heart. Photo: Hugh Merwin
For our final Thanksgiving recipe, we turn to Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito of the Red Hook bakery Baked. Their new book is aptly called Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, and it contains instructions on how to build your own nifty Milk Chocolate Malt Ball and Root Beer Bundt Cakes. You’ll find a classic Apple Pie in there too, and even a recipe for the bakery’s Peanut Butter Crispy Bars (but alas, no Grasshopper Bar recipe).

For the very reason that stove space is a most precious kitchen commodity on Thanksgiving Day, we chose a recipe from the Baked cookbook that requires absolutely no time in the oven: the epic-sounding Peanut Butter Pie with Cookie Crust and Easy Hot Fudge Sauce. As Lewis and Poliafito (who at Baked have effectively replaced Lewis and Clark in terms of pioneeriness), “This pie is a no-bake masterpiece and the center of our peanut butter dessert universe.”

With just the right amount of MacGyveresque ingenuity, you could even conceivably whip up this pie with $10 worth of corner store ingredients on Thanksgiving. If you get lost in the recipe and can’t quite figure something out, follow this handy link to a Today Show clip from early last month to witness the makings of major gravitational force in the cosmic realm of cakes, tarts, and pies. Through the magic of the Internet, at the exact same time Al Roker is co-hosting the 82nd Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, with Lewis and Poliafito he can also be helping you put together this pie.

Peanut Butter Pie
with Cookie Crust
and Easy Hot Fudge Sauce
[makes a 9” pie]

For the chocolate cookie crust:
30 chocolate wafer cookies (about 6 ounces)*
1 Tbs. sugar
6 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

For the peanut butter filing with chocolate bottom:
½ cup (3 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
½ teaspoon light corn syrup
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1½ cups heavy cream

For the easy hot fudge sauce:
6 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
6 ounces dark chocolate (64% cacao),
finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup light corn syrup

Chocolate cookie crust:
1) In a food processor, grind the cookies to a very fine powder. You should have about 1½ cups. Put the crumbs in a bowl and stir in the sugar. 2) Pour the butter over the crumb mixture and mix until well combined. The mixture will feel wet. Turn the crumb mixture out into a 9-inch pie plate and press it into the bottom and up the sides. You can use the back of a large spoon to even out the crust. 3) Put the crust in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

Peanut butter filling with chocolate bottom
1) Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave oven or in a double boiler. Add the corn syrup and stir to combine. Use a spatula to spread the chocolate in a thin layer on the bottom of the chilled pie crust. 2) Put the crust back in the refrigerator while you make the peanut butter filling. Put the cream cheese, peanut butter, vanilla, and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until well combined and completely smooth. Set aside. 3) In a clean bowl, use the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to whip the cream until soft peaks form. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, with a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture until the mixture is uniform in color. 4) Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and freeze for at least 4 hours. Once the pie is frozen, you can cover it with aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 days.

Easy hot fudge sauce
1) Place both chocolates in a medium heatproof bowl and set aside. 2) In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat. Add the corn syrup and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolates. Let the mixture sit for 2 minutes. Starting in the center of the bowl and working your way out to the edges, whisk the chocolate mixture in a circle until completely smooth. The hot fudge sauce, cooled to room temperature and covered tightly, will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator. Rewarm the sauce in a microwave oven on medium heat for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until the sauce is warm; or reheat it in a small saucepan over low heat.

Place a frozen piece of pie on a large serving plate and spoon 3 heaping tablespoons of the warm sauce directly over the top of the pie. Eat and enjoy immediately.

*In the book, Lewis and Poliafito say that Nabisco makes a fine chocolate wafer cookie, but also recommend Newman’s Own.

Peanut Butter Pie with Cookie Crust and Easy Hot Fudge Sauce recipe reprinted with permission from Baked:New Frontiers in Baking, by Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito, and Tina Rupp. Copyright © 2008. Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang