…from the California Kitchen
How you doin’? Peanuts just might be the magical ingredient for a happy life.
The peanut's origins have been traced to Peru. It was brought to Europe by the Spanish and then spread to Africa and Asia. It arrived in North America in the mid-18th century with African slaves.
Before the salted caramel craze, there was the peanut pie. Some say it's simply a poor man's version of pecan pie—I don’t, I think it stands on its own and I love it. Others say its salty-sweet punch was inspired by the flavor thrills of a now-vanishing gas station treat created by pouring a five-cent packet of salted peanuts into a bottle of ice-cold Coke. Either way, we say it's a crackerjack pie.
It's at its finest when made with roasted, Virginia peanuts, the super-sized Cadillac of peanuts grown in the sandy soils of Tidewater Virginia and North Carolina. The near century-old Virginia Diner, located a stone's throw from the country's first commercial peanut farm in Wakefield, serves up a swoon-worthy peanut pie topped with a tender peanut-brittle-like veneer. It's totally addictive.
One of the first variations on the original recipe peanut pie that I tasted was Peanut Butter Cream Pie served at Williamsburg's Shields Tavern. There's something about this pie that gives it a nostalgic quality, whether through childhood memories jogged by the peanut butter flavor, or via the old-time creamy filling I remember as a kid.
This pie recipe makes, what I would call, an upscale ice cream pie with a delightful crispy rice crust. This is one of those heritage recipes that you can easily add to your family’s must have list.
Total Prep time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 10 minutes (for the crust)
Freeze time: 5 hours or overnight
Yield: 8 servings (1 9-inch pie)
For the pie crust
Food release spray (I prefer Pam)
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2-1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
For the pie filling
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
10 ounces sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup warm chocolate fudge sauce (more if you desire)
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
To make the pie crust
ChefSecrets: I use creamy peanut butter, but it is okay to use crunchy. You can substitute a store-bought chocolate wafer crust for the crispy rice crust if you prefer. The lemon juice brightens the flavor of the pie filling without added salt.
Quip of the Day: “Why did Charles Schultz call his comic strip Peanuts?
The name Peanuts was chosen because it was a well-known term for children at the time, popularized by the television program “The Howdy Doody Show,” which debuted in 1947 and featured an audience section for children called the “Peanut Gallery.”
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