best laid plans come undone: bon appetit’s peanut butter honeycomb pie

peanut butter pie
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.

sweet revenge cupcake
peanut butter pie
peanut butter pie
sweet revenge cupcake
sweet revenge cupcake

3 thoughts on “best laid plans come undone: bon appetit’s peanut butter honeycomb pie

  1. I can’t think of a specific example, given that my brain is stuffed with cotton and sinus medication, but I feel certain that I’ve prepared something before that was a bit weird looking but yummy.

    And I don’t think your pie looks that bad… I wouldn’t have thought twice about it if you hadn’t shown the impossibly perfect, staged pie in comparison. (Admittedly, it doesn’t look precisely like a pie, but it does look like an interesting dessert that’s worth trying.)

    Does that help? :-}


  2. Funnily enough when I saw this pie in the magazine I thought the boneycomb on top would be a bit too much for me, so good to know that without it the pie is still well worthwhile.

    As for recipes that didn’t quite turn out, one time my boyfriend was making some slices and he reckoned he got the base all wrong, so broke it up and just threw it to the side. Whatever he did to it though it was a winner for me, because it was just like broken cookie bits with oats, coconut, cocoa and cinnamon.


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