Do you really need a reason to make a peanut butter and jelly pie? We didn’t think so. But we’ll give you one anyway: it’s the end of summer, school is starting. For a whole lot of people (possibly teachers excepted), this is a cause of celebration. If you’re a parent, it means you'll finally get a little peace after a long, kid-filled summer. If you’re a kid, it means getting away from your parents to see your friends again. And if you’re neither, it means streets and shopping malls are blissfully free of bands of school aged-children.
So to mark all of this, we offer you the nostalgic flavors of the lunchroom, refashioned into dessert. A homemade graham cracker crust that contains just enough whole-wheat flour to add a nutty, wholesome character, but not enough to make the pastry tough. It’s got a velvety, almost truffle-textured filling brimming with salty peanuts and cream cheese. And as an irresistibly sticky topping, an entire jar of concord grape jelly is melted and poured on top. Best of all, making a pie is one of the best reasons there is to invite your friends over for dessert. After all, you wouldn’t want to eat the whole thing by yourself. Would you?
Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie with A Homemade Graham Cracker Crust
For the graham cracker crust:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup whole-wheat flour
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick butter (4 ounces), cold and sliced into pieces
1 large egg yolk
For the PB&J filling:
1 cup peanut butter (8 ounces), at room temperature
2/3 cup cream cheese (6 ounces), at room temperature
4 tablespoons butter (2 ounces), at room temperature
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup heavy cream
1 jar (12 ounces) concord grape or other jelly
Chopped honey roasted peanuts, for garnish (optional)
- To prepare the crust, put the flours, sugar, cinnamon and salt into a food processor bowl and pulse a few times. Add the butter and pulse until the dough starts to come together in a crumbly way. Pulse in the egg until the dough is just smooth. Scrape the dough into a piece of plastic wrap and use the wrap to help you flatten it into a circle about ½-inch thick. Chill until cold, about 30 minutes to an hour.
- Unwrap the chilled dough. If it’s too hard to press into a pie pan, let it sit out for a few minutes to soften slightly. Press the dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Chill the dough again in the pan until thoroughly cold, at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the crust until lightly golden around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
- To make the filling, combine the peanut butter, cream cheese, and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until fluffy, scraping down the sides occasionally. Beat in the sugar and vanilla.
- Using a clean bowl and beaters, beat the cream until it holds soft peaks. Gently fold the cream into the peanut butter mixture to lighten it. Spoon the filling into the crust and chill for at least 1 hour. The filling should be cold and solid.
- For the topping, melt the jelly over low heat in a small pan, whisking to help break it up and smooth it out. If you’re in a hurry, transfer melted jelly to a metal bowl and set it in an ice bath, then stir until the jelly is cool to the touch. Or just let the jelly cool for about 20 minutes or so (it can feel slightly warm but not hot to the touch). Pour the jelly over the peanut butter filling and return pie to the fridge for at least 20 minutes to set the jelly. Sprinkle with peanuts if you like before serving.
— You can use any kind of peanut butter, or almond butter, you like. I used a natural, chunky-style one, Smucker’s to be exact, which I like because it has a good amount of salt. If your peanut butter doesn’t have salt, add a big pinch to the mixing bowl.
— Bringing all the filling ingredients to room temperature is crucial or the filling might not whip together smoothly.
— Don’t use homemade jelly here, unless you are sure you’ve added enough pectin to make it set again after it’s been melted.