Every time I travel abroad for extended periods of time, I find myself craving certain foods that are mainstays of my diet back home. When I spent a summer in Asia, I craved Chipotle, fresh salads, and Cracker Barrel (my guilty pleasure). When studying in France, I craved Asian and spicy foods and, yet again, Chipotle (luckily I was able to temporarily curb that craving during a weekend in London).
In Toulouse (the city in southwest France in which I studied), I was very satisfied with my daily breakfast of a croissant but a friend of mine was desperately in search of peanut butter for his morning toast. He went to several of grocery stores and markets and scoured the American aisle looking on a quest for peanut butter. One day he came back to the dorms thrilled, thinking he had found a jar of it. After opening it up and spreading on toast, it was not at all what he expected. He had actually purchased a jar of speculoos, or a spiced cookie butter. He loved it, but it didn’t satisfy his craving. Eventually, my mom to brought him a jar when she came to visit and he got his fix.
While many other countries share a love for peanuts and use them in their cuisines, peanut butter is truly an ‘American’ phenomenon. It can be nearly impossible to find abroad, especially in Europe, and many other cultures look at it as kind of gross. However, we all know Americans love peanut butter and aside from breakfast and a classic pb&j, it is a popular dessert flavor.
And if you love peanut butter, you will definitely love this peanut butter pretzel pie. Out of all of the desserts I make, my friends and family always go crazy over this pie. It’s simple but the flavors work perfectly together to create a treat that is indulgent and addicting.
The crust is made just like a normal graham cracker crust but I switched out some of the graham crackers and used pretzels instead. I love the crisp texture and the hint of saltiness the pretzels add.
The filling is a peanut butter mousse which is good on everything (or just eaten by the spoonful) but especially good as pie. If you’re looking for other ways to include more peanut butter mousse in your life, check out these chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes.
I chose to garnish this version with chopped peanut butter cups and Nutter Butter cookies, but I’ve also been known to drizzle the pie with a healthy amount of chocolate ganache.
- [b]For the crust:[/b]
- 1/2 cup ground pretzels (see note)
- 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (see note)
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
- 8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- [b]For the mousse:[/b]
- 1 cup (242 grams) heavy cream, chilled
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
- [b]For the topping:[/b]
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped Nutter Butter cookies
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanut butter cups
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle position. Lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the pretzels, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt.
- Pour in the melted butter and stir until well combined. The crumbs should be moist enough to clump together if pressed between your fingers. If not, add a tablespoon of melted butter at a time until this happens.
- Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes or just until the crust is fragrant and lightly browned. Place the crust on a cooling rack and let cool completely before filling.
- In the chilled bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream, powered sugar, and vanilla on medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until the cream slightly thickens and is foamy. Turn the speed up to high and whip just until soft peaks form, about another 1-2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl.
- Using the same bowl of the stand mixer (you do not need to wash it) fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the peanut butter, cream cheese, and salt on medium speed until smooth, abut 3 minutes.
- Whisk half of the whipped cream mixture into the peanut butter mixture. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until the mixture is well combined but still fluffy.
- Once the crust is cool, spoon the filling into the prepared crust. Top the pie with the crushed cookies and peanut butter cups. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill for 2-3 hours before serving.
Which foods do you crave when you’re abroad? Comment and let me know!