My favorite part about baking is the earliest phase where you get to do a little dreaming. The ideal time to do that dreaming is when you’re hungry or when you’re sitting around with friends who appreciate a good pie as much as you do. Or, right after a particularly dense lecture on benefit-cost analysis, when you really need to take your mind off of demand curves and consumer surplus. This was precisely the combination of events that led to dreaming up this pie.
Apples and peanut butter are two foods I have eaten and loved since I was a little girl. They are about as all-American a combination as you can get. That is, until you put them into pie form, which takes everything to a whole new level. I don’t think there is a patriotic superlative worthy of this trifecta of American favorites all wrapped into one.
The second phase of baking, after the dreams have been devised, is to send a request into cyberspace or a cookbook to see if anyone else has already tried their hand at the same thing. Usually, this is the part where you quickly learn just how un-original your precious pie dream is. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, I was not the first to dream up such a thing as peanut butter apple pie. The good thing about precedent, though, despite making you feel a little less special and unique, is that it makes life much more efficient. The way I see it, there’s no shame in standing on the shoulders of intrepid baking warriors who have come before me.
A final note — I lied about my favorite part of baking being the dreaming phase. My favorite part is unequivocally the part where you open up your pie-hole to take your very first bite and find out that the whole experiment was not a total disaster. That really is one of the best feelings in the world.
Peanut Butter Apple Pie
Recipe from Serious Eats
For the crust:
Roll out half of a double-crust pie dough recipe, press into a pie dish and place in the fridge to chill as you make the filling.
For the filling:
6 medium apples (a combo of tart and sweet works nicely), peeled and sliced
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Preheat your oven to 450°F.
Place the peanut butter, butter, brown sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and heat on a very low flame and stir until well combined. Remove from heat and add the cream. Mix until smooth and set aside. Let cool.
Place the apples in a large bowl and sprinkle the flour on top of the apples and toss with your hands until the apples are well coated.
Place the peanut butter filling in the pie shell. Place the apples in the filling one at a time in concentric circles, pressing down so that they become immersed in the filling. Periodically press down on the apples to allow the filling to rise. Continue until all of the apples are incorporated into the filling. Sprinkle the granulated sugar on top of the pie.
Place the pie in the oven and bake at 450°F for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 50 to 60 minutes until the top is golden brown.
Tip: You can cover the edges of the crust with strips of aluminum foil to protect the crust from burning. You can either add the foil once you see that the crust is turning a deep golden brown, or add it at the beginning and remove for the last 20 minutes of baking.