31 January 2013

Shenanigan's Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Shenanigans:  mischief, antics, fooling around or frolicksomeness (my personal favorite).  As in this pie is utterly shenanigans.  The thought of eating is enough to send one into a total fit of tom-foolery.  And I have been waiting for months to bring this pie to you.  Shenanigans is the name of the pie as it is the culinary triumph of the classic restaurant, C.I. Shenanigan's (insert Super Troopers joke here).  If you've ever bitten into a peanut butter cup and thought, "Huh...could be better" this pie is for you.  

Warning:  There are a million pictures in the post.  Because I love this pie so flipping much.

I don't know how my mom came across this recipe, but I do know it was by legal means.  She either charmed the pants off of somebody or clipped an article from a 1990 newspaper.  But out of the goodness of her peanut-butter loving heart, she consented to share it with yours truly.  And any recipe that's a mom-recipe is pretty much guaranteed to be a winner.  You know, the ones that get passed down because the evoke such strong food-memories from childhood.  The ones you bite into and immediately feel all the bliss of cozy slippers on your 5 year-old feet as you sneak a taste before dinner.  

But enough about childhood!  Let's dissect this pie, starting with the filling.  Its rich, creamy, peanut-buttery filling has just the right amount of sweetness.  It's so divine.  Deliciously savory peanut butter is gloriously wedded with tangy cream cheese, rich whipping cream and a whole lotta love.  When you mix that many creamy things together, you are bound to get something glorious.  The nutty flavor of the peanut butter is sweetened and balanced in this filling.  I could eat it with a spoon (and pretty much always do, hence a slightly less-full pie pictured above).

Holding up that fluffy peanut-butter glory is the best chocolate cookie crust in the history of the world.  The chocolate cookie crumbs is the part the hubs attacks with a spoon until I wrestle it away from him.   I've learned that it's easier to crush extra cookies for him to munch merrily out of a tiny bowl while I bake.  Or should I say, no-bake.  As in yes, this is a no-bake pie.  Which makes it even more glorious.  Just press in the crust and pop in the fridge while you make the filling.  

And just in case there's not enough chocolate in that cookie crust, that blessed Shenanigan's chef saw fit to spread more across the top.  Oh, and why not add a few extra nuts, too?  Though I've never met him, he's my favorite Shenanigan's chef ever.  Layers of chocolate and peanut butter with the creamiest, dreamiest texture imaginable.  Every time I make this, I bite into it and realize I've forgotten how good it is.  

I have been aching to make this bad boy since late-October.  But the season was ripe for pumpkins and apples before moving into cranberries and citrus.  So January is Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie month.  And honestly, this pie is such a glorious reprieve.  Its rich, savory flavor keeps it from becoming overly sweet.  And the texture is surprisingly light and fluffy.

A big ol' slice right out of fridge.  Please note that no where are there any pictures of us actually eating this.  We scarf it at such a furious rate, there's no time to pause for a photo.  Unless you want to see a very frightening image.

Shenanigan's Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
  • 1 c whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened (we use reduced fat and you cannot tell at all...promise!)
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbs melted butter
  • Chocolate Cookie Crust
  • Chocolate Topping
  • 2-3 tbs chopped peanuts
In a medium bowl, beat the cream until firm, then beat in vanilla.  Set aside.

In a second bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, peanut butter and melted butter.  Beat on low speed until ingredients are smooth.  Add 1/3 of the vanilla whipped cream and beat in on low speed.  Fold in the remaining whipped cream with a rubber spatula.  Transfer into the Chocolate Cookie Crust and smooth with the spatula.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.  

To finish, spread chocolate topping on top of the cooled pie, starting at the center and working your way out.  Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and refrigerate for one hour.  Serve with a smile

Chocolate Cookie Crust
  • 1 1/2 c crushed chocolate cream-filled cookies (plus an extra 1/2 cup for munching)
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp mace (or omit for a pinch extra cinnamon and nutmeg)
  • 1/4 c coarsely chopped almonds
  • 1/4 c melted butter
  • 1 tbs vanilla 
  • 1 tbs dark rum or whiskey
Combine cookies, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace and almonds in a small bowl.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then stir in the vanilla and rum/whiskey.  Pour into the cookie mixture and mix together well.  Spray a 9-inch pie pan with non-stick and press in crust evenly around sides and bottom.  Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling.

Chocolate Topping
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
Combine chocolate, oil and butter in a small bowl or the top of a double boiler.  Melt over medium heat, stirring constantly.  When chocolate is completely melted, remove the bowl from heat.  Let cool for 5 minutes before topping the pie.  

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