Fudging Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter PieOne of my favorite starving artist past times is taking recipes that are perhaps a bit…. over-involved or over priced or just plain obnoxious and making a starving artist version that is just as tasty for a fraction of the cost and time. Many weeks ago, long before bootcamp and certainly at a time where I was not at all concerned with what I was eating, I got a random craving for a peanut butter pie. Now the responsible thing to do when a craving like this hits is to recognize that it is born of misplaced desires and emotions and simply ignore it. Or you can behave completely irrationally and immediately leave your house to purchase ingredients. At this stage I went with option 2.

But before I could run to the grocery store in a fit of hysteria, I needed a pie. My go to for most things is Alton Brown – I adore the man and am a huge long time follower of Good Eats. Through some bizarre stroke of serendipity (or perhaps a cruel joke from the universe), his peanut butter episode was on Food Network that morning, which includes a peanut butter pie. You can view the recipe here. Now, as much as I love Alton, sometimes his recipes are just what I described above: over the top. Take this peanut pie for example: homemade chocolate crust, homemade peanut butter, chopped bittersweet chocolate… I get it, I do. This is what Alton does, he takes a recipe and makes it at the highest culinary level possible. And sometimes I’m in the mood for that. For peanut butter pie? Not to so much. Here is what I swapped out:

  1. Crust: do you know how expensive those chocolate wafer cookies are? Like over $5 for a pack. No. I bought a pre-made crust on sale for $2.99. They didn’t have chocolate, so I used granola. Perfect. 
  2. Peanut butter: I’m sure Alton’s homemade version is fantastic, but I’m not buying and roasting peanuts. Please. 1.5 cups from a $3 jar of Jif. Done.
  3. Bittersweet chocolate: I always have bulk semisweet chocolate chips in my kitchen. Those worked just fine.

Using all these substitutions I followed the recipe as it’s written and I have to say, I had a perfectly splendid peanut butter pie. Sorry, Alton!

Blueberry Pie!

This past Saturday I attended one of my first summer cookouts, hosted by my friends Alexis and Sam. It was a gorgeous day and they had a splendid spread of barbecue favorites: hot dogs, kebabs, baked beans, potato salad, etc. I must say that I was dually impressed with Alexis’ rice krispie treats, which she made with brown butter and rosemary. A truly “adult” spin on such a classic. I ate way more at this party than I care to admit.

I offered to bring dessert, and since it’s blueberry season, what better treat than a homemade blueberry pie. I have to tell you I found an incredible, fool proof, works-every-time recipe that I’ve used over and over again. No, it is not mine, in fact it is Alton Brown’s Frozen Blueberry Pie. I couldn’t recommend it more highly. What makes it so versatile is that the pie filling is prepared with fresh blueberries and then frozen in a disc that can then be used to make fresh, amazing blueberry pie anytime you like. And I’m not at all ashamed to admit that I use a Pillsbury pie crust when it comes time to make the pie. Flakey and delicious every time. I add a little more sugar than what Alton calls for since I like my pie sweet, otherwise the recipe is a total home run. Enjoy!

Look out for my next blog entry, which will be all about my attendance at yet another glorious Tender Greens Beer Garden. Hope everyone had a spectacular summer weekend!