What is Peanut Butter Pie?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Peanut butter pie is a pie which is made with peanut butter as a star ingredient, as you might imagine from the name. This pie appears to have originated in the American South, where both pies and peanuts are abundant, and there are a number of variations on the basic peanut butter pie, many of which are very easy to make. Peanut butter pie is generally a project for home cooks, although some bakeries and specialty stores may carry it, and it can also be custom-made as a special order dessert.

A jar of peanut butter.
A jar of peanut butter.

The most basic form of the peanut butter pie is a no-bake version, which is made by blending the ingredients, pouring them into a cooked pie crust, and then chilling the pie. No-bake peanut butter pie typically includes peanut butter, cream cheese, sugar, and milk to cut the richness of the peanut butter and cream cheese. Even with milk, it is still an extremely thick, rich pie, and it is typically prepared in a graham cracker crust. Some cooks also like to add a layer of chocolate or fudge to the pie for extra flavor.

It is also possible to find versions which are designed to be baked, with a more custard-like consistency. Baked peanut butter pie includes condensed milk and eggs along with the peanut butter, and it is typically also served chilled. The baked pie is less rich, thanks to the eggs, with a more light flavor and a reduced intensity which allows people to eat bigger slices. Baked pies can also be paired with chocolate or fudge, for those who desire it.

This pie can be eaten plain, or with a side of whipped cream or another whipped topping. It is also possible to decorate the top with swirls of chocolate or caramel to make the pie more flavorful and visually interesting. A side of vanilla ice cream can also be pleasant with peanut butter pie, although the combination may be too rich for some consumers.

This Southern pie is also sometimes called peanut butter silk pie, referencing the larger pie family of silk pies. Silk pies are characterized by being open-faced with a very smooth, creamy texture, and they are typically served chilled, rather than warm or at room temperature. These cold pies can be quite refreshing in the hot and humid weather of the American South in the summer.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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