Believe me when I say that I had the best intentions. Inspired by @SweetRevenge’s decadent peanut butter cake cupcake (pictured below), I sought to fix a pie that would harken back to one’s childhood — if your childhood was replete with honey cracked cookies and gobs of peanut butter. All was well with the world of peanut butter custard — the luscious, enveloping vanilla bean that imbued the pie with a fragrant depth of flavor — until I overfilled the pie.
This should have been a warning. One should always see a bit of crust peeking out amidst the cream. But a woman waved her hand away, said, DON’T STRESS OUT, FELICIA, ETC, ETC.
Maybe I should have stressed out.
Then there was the situation involving the honeycomb. Friends who know me well know that I’m a Type-A fiend who follows every direction to the letter. So imagine my surprise when my honeycomb dried into a foamy mush. Since one could not plop mush over lush cream, I ran out to the store for options. Chocolate cookies seemed to do the trick. Who would deny the crunch of chocolate, melted ganache, and peanuts on top of a cloud of cream?
My pie should have looked like the below:
However, it came out like the above. Let’s call a spade a spade. MY PIE IS UGLY. HOMELY. IT IS THE CHANGELING OF PIE. I have acknowledged its inferior state, but still was determined to plunge my fork in. And can I say it was DELICIOUS? The custard was feathery-light and unctuous and the cookies provided that necessary crunch? So although my version is a far, woeful cry from the ideal, the flavors are blowing my mind. This is a pie worth fixing.
ASSUAGE ME, FEARLESS READERS. Have you ever fixed a recipe that looked horrifying, but was delicious?
INGREDIENTS: Recipe adapted directly from Bon Appetit
9 graham crackers, coarsely crushed
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted
8 large egg yolks
12 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Honeycomb (click for recipe)
1/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts
Preheat oven to 325°. Finely grind graham crackers, sugar, salt, and nutmeg in a food processor.Transfer crumb mixture to a medium bowl. Add butter and stir to blend. Use bottom and sides of a measuring cup to pack crumbs onto bottom and up sides of 9″ glass or metal pie pan.Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
Mix yolks and 6 Tbsp. sugar in the bowl of a stand mixers fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat at high speed until ribbons form, stopping once to scrape down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes.
Combine milk and remaining 6 Tbsp. sugar in a large saucepan; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and add bean. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove bean. With mixer running, gradually add hot milk mixture to yolk mixture. Scrape mixture back into pan. Clean bowl. Whisking constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove pan from heat; whisk vigorously for 1 minute. Return custard to mixing bowl, beat on high speed until cool, about 4 minutes. Mix in butter on Tbsp. at a time. Add peanut butter, powdered sugar, and salt; beat to blend. Scrape filling into cooled crust; smooth top. Chill until set, 2-3 hours.
Stir chocolate and butter in a medium bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Drizzle some of the chocolate glaze over the peanut butter filling, making a circle in the middle of the pie and leaving a 1″-2″ plain border. Pile pieces of honeycomb and salted peanuts on top, then drizzle remaining chocolate glaze over.