OMG Peanut Butter Pie

Did you know this past Sunday was Pi(e) day? Did you know there’s a peanut butter pie? A pie, of peanut butter?!?!?! Madness, you say? Poppycock? You are not alone, friend, for I can assure you that was my initial reaction when a particular young lady informed me of its existence. But low and behold, peanut butter pies do exist and are not some rarity invented by a small tribe living in some far corner of the world; possibly in some near-unapproachable mountains. With peanut butter trees.

Oatmeal Oatmeal Crust

I wasn’t able to find the person credited with the first peanut butter pie but my first mental image, after the Pinatu Mountain Tribe was a 19th century Heather, dressed like Madam Curie with a high necked dress, analyzing peanut butter in test tubes. Best. Job. EVER. Whoever is responsible for its inception, I take my hat off to thee.

Madam Heather

Recognizing the awesomeness of peanut butter and pie, this was something I had to do and I did so immediately. I decided to go with an oatmeal crust which worked out well, but turned out a bit harder than I would have liked. Be sure not to over bake your crust when you try this! I wish I had more photos, but I took this to work and it did not last long. Be sure to have a glass of milk handy.

PB Goodness

Peanut Butter Pie

Oatmeal Crust
2 cups oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons honey
1 stick butter; cut into four pieces
pinch of salt

Peanut Butter Filling
1 lb peanut butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons honey
pinch of salt

Chocolate Glaze
8 oz bittersweet chocolate; roughly chopped
1 stick of butter; cut into four pieces
2 tablespoons cream

Preheat your oven to 375° and grease a 9 inch pie pan. Run the oats in a food processor for about 30 seconds, then add your remaining ingredients and pulse until well combined. Evenly distribute your crust into the pie pan and up the sides and bake for 15-20; just until the crust begins to turn golden at the edge. Don’t over bake or you will have a harder, but still delicious, crust. Let cool completely.

Mix together all your ingredients and pour/spoon into your pie pan. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Melt your chocolate and butter via the double boiler method. Once fully melted, remove from heat, add the cream and stir until well combined. Let sit in the fridge for a few minutes to thicken and cool. Pour over your pie and place in the back in the fridge until glaze hardens. Serve and enjoy.

A Pot Pie That Isn’t A Brick

Vegetable Pot Pie

Pot pies.  That term does not stir up pleasant images in my head.  Thick pies of lead is what I see.  This image was not improved upon when I began my fast food career in high school.  There is nothing behind those counters that makes your mouth water and pot pies are certainly no exception.  I’ll leave at that, only saying that twenty pound tubs of butter are gross.

Vegetable Pot Pie

I don’t think we ever did the pot pie thing in my family and, to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever had one.  The weather here has been pretty nice for November but every now and then it dips down and I want something warm and hearty.  Having nothing to really go on with regard to what a pot pie should be, I decided to just go with what I would want out of a pot pie: strong presence of veggies with something that doesn’t make me feel like I ate a brick.

Vegetable Pot Pie

Vegetable Pot Pie

Any pie crust (flaky, biscuit, etc)
3 pounds yellow onion; sliced in halves
5 ounces butternut squash; cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 ounces broccoli; cut into small floret pieces
1 carrot cut into 1/2 inch half slices
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup cream (heavy, light, your choice)
1/2 vegetable stock
1 tablespoon dried marjoram

Prepare a 9 inch pie pan with your crust and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400.

Saute the onion under medium high heat with 1 table spoon of oil until browned, stirring only occasionally; approximately 6 minutes. Move to a large mixing bowl and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute the squash and carrots in two teaspoons of oil for 3-4 minutes until browning and add to bowl of onions. Saute the broccoli, corn and peas in one tablespoon oil for two minutes then add the vegetables back to the pan. Toss to mix, and the cream, stock, marjoram and mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Fill the pie pan with your vegetables and either top with more crust or sprinkle with cheddar. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the crust (or vegetables) have become browned or crisp. Serve and enjoy.

Pumpkin Pie While Cutting Calories and Saving Time

I don’t know why I haven’t figured this out before, but it’s really going to be a life saver for me this year.

Every fall a bunch of cooking magazines come out with articles that boast new ideas for pumpkin pie. I get pretty excited about this because I love pumpkin pie, but then I also feel torn because what if I make it for the holidays and it’s not that good? Then I have bad pie plus no traditional pumpkin pie. And there’s just no way I have time to make full pies with crust before the holidays in addition to making the real thing.

Well, why don’t we eliminate the crust. It’s the most time consuming part and can also be the most variable. The pie filling is really the thing we want to test anyway.

If you have Corningware, and I really hope you do, you can combine all your ingredients, refrigerate it overnight if you don’t have time to bake it then and then the next day put the dish in the oven to bake. You can even serve it in Corningware.


Baking it in a dish instead of crust allows you to try more recipes faster so that you can plan ahead. It’s also a spectacular way to cut out calories. Pumpkin pie filling doesn’t have to be ridiculously fattening, but good crust usually does – lists one slice of crust only that has been prepared from a recipe contains 121 calories and 8 grams of fat. A whole 9″ pie crust contains about 949 calories and 62 grams of fat.


Enjoy more pumpkin pie filling varieties, save your favorite pair of pants!

I thought today’s recipe would be pretty sweet since it uses sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated milk, however it really wasn’t that sweet. It is spicy, however. If you can’t get enough of pumpkin pie spice, then you’ll definitely enjoy this variety.

Magic Pumpkin Pie
adapted from The Pumpkin Lovers Cook Book

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 12 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk, not evaporated
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of cloves

Blend ingredients together and pour into large Corningware dish. Bake at 375F for 45-50 minutes or until cooked. Cool and refrigerate before serving.

How About A Little Kahlua Pie With Your Inauguration Day?

Happy Inauguration Day! As I mentioned last week, the DC area has been crazy because of the festivities. Yesterday morning Edwin and I performed a service project for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day through Greater DC Cares. Apparently Usher and Tobey Maguire were somewhere in the school where we were painting, but sadly we didn’t see them.

Kahlua Pie Filling

I’ve never lived in the DC area during a presidential inauguration before, but it’s hard not to be infected by the celebration bug. I have no idea what the future will hold or whether President Obama will keep his campaign promises, but at least for this weekend everyone you see on the street here will tell you that change is coming.

Change is also coming to DINNERCAKES! Edwin and I had our own “state of the union” on Saturday where we discussed some ideas we have for the site, so be on the lookout for some new features! And as always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions.

But back to Inauguration Day – when I think about type of food that accompanies a celebration, I typically think of cake (let’s face it, when I think about most things I think of cake). But because it’s fairly soon after Thanksgiving and Christmas and my pants are still feeling a little tighter than I’d like, why don’t I try to change the way I typically think of celebration food (get it? change? was that too much?). Instead of a heavy celebratory cake, I decided to make a pie.

Kahlua Pie

This Kahlua Pie sits in an Oreo cookie crumb pie crust and I adapted it to include a layer of smooth peanut butter for some added sweetness. The pie filling consists of a nice and light fat free Cool Whip mixed with Jell-O Oreo Cookie Pudding and Pie Filling Mix instead of vanilla pudding, Kahlua instead of just Kahlua flavor and fat free milk. I also added just a hint of coffee.

I’m a big fan of Cool Whip pies (like Million Dollar Pie) because they don’t leave people feeling so weighed down and full afterwards. My husband really enjoyed it (he loves light desserts) and noted that he tasted the Oreo cookie crust and Cool Whip foremost, and that the Kahlua adds a nice, subtle flavor. I thought it almost tasted like caramel.

Hope you enjoy this smooth, fluffy pie and have a happy Inauguration Day!

Kahlua Pie

Kahlua Pie
adapted from Kraft Foods

1 1/4 cups Oreo cookie crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth
1 package Jell-O Oreo Cookie Pudding & Pie Filling (4 serving size)
1 tablespoon cold coffee
3 teaspoons Kahlua
1 cup cold fat free milk
2 cups fat free Cool Whip

If you can’t find a box of Oreo cookie crumbs at your grocery store and you don’t want to buy a ready-made Oreo Cookie crust, crush about one sleeve of Oreo cookies in a gallon ziploc bag with a meat tenderizer. Mix the crumbs in a bowl with the melted butter. Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9 inch baking dish.

Drop 1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter into the center of the crush. Gently smooth out the peanut butter to make a thin layer at the bottom of the crust. Be careful – move the peanut butter around as little as possible so that it doesn’t start sticking to your crust and pulling it apart.

Mix Jell-O mix with coffee, Kahlua and milk in a medium size bowl until thick. Add the Cool Whip and continue mixing until fully incorporated. Spoon the mixture into the crust and level it. Freeze pie for approximately 4 hours or overnight.

Tip from Kraft – after removing the pie from the freezer, dip the plate into warm water, just to the rim, for about 30 seconds to make it easier for cutting and serving.

My Six Pie Party, a Thanksgiving Day Wrap-Up

I hope that you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday! Mine went well, and you can be sure that after enjoying three full Thanksgiving dinners, I will not be stepping on a scale anytime soon.

Granny Smith for Apple Crumble Top PieApple Filling

I also hope to focus more on the dinner side of DINNERCAKES after my baking blitz on Wednesday resulted in 6 pies and 3 loaves. Yes, I am a crazy person.

Pie Dough

But, I learned some very important lessons about baking:

  1. If you’re planning on baking 6 pies, invest in more than one pie dish. The pie tins at the grocery store just don’t cut it, it’s still flimsy even after you double up with two tins per pie and it increases your cook time. Next time I will enlist the help of some reasonably priced Pyrex pie dishes.
  2. Making pie dough from scratch doesn’t have to be a harrowing experience. I used Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee recipe, refrigerated the dough overnight, let it sit out for 10 minutes before working with it, and then just rolled it out to make crust.
  3. If 4 out of your 6 pies require graham cracker crust, just buy a box of graham cracker crumbs instead of using a meat tenderizer to demolish whole crackers. This saves time and sanity.
  4. Any marks left in your pumpkin pie after inserting a knife to make sure it’s fully cooked can be easily disguised with a leaf or heart shape made using extra dough.
  5. Do not open a bottle of champagne until you’re done.

Bittersweet Chocolate for Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

My pie extravaganza included: Heavenly Pie from 101 Cookbooks, Triple-Chocolate Pumpkin Pie from Martha Stewart, Crunch Top Apple Pie from Paula Deen, my favorite Classic Pumpkin Pie from Libby’s, and two Million Dollar Pies adapted from

The Heavenly Pie is the only one that disappointed me. It’s a chocolate pie with tofu and cream cheese. I know it sounds odd, but it tastes like a delicious chocolate mousse. Unfortunately I can never seem to get the consistency right. This may be because I don’t have the assistance of a food processor, so if you have tried this recipe using one please let me know how it works for you. I can never get it to be completely smooth, I’m always left with little tofu granules. No matter how good it tastes, I don’t like the grainy presentation.

Heavenly Pie and Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

I first saw the Triple-Chocolate Pumpkin Pie in my Martha Stewart Living magazine (yes, I subscribe). I’m usually a purist with pumpkin pie – you know I love pumpkin, and my Libby’s recipe has never failed me. I’m so glad I tried this, though. This pie is absolutely packed with spices and it’s incredibly creamy. The layer of bittersweet chocolate spread over the crust before adding the filling gives it a nice kick, and when it’s cut it’s also very attractive. I did not drizzle milk chocolate over the top simply because I didn’t want to make a mess in someone else’s kitchen (so my pie was more of a double-chocolate pumpkin pie instead of a triple). I’m glad I skipped that part because it is a very rich pie, which isn’t always the best idea after Thanksgiving dinner. This recipe also made a lot more filling than what would fit in the pie dish. I put the extra into some corningware to bake separately, and what I did pour into the crust spilled over a bit. Be careful!

Apple Crumble Top Pie

The Crunch Top Apple Pie from Paula Deen turned out very well. I liked that this pie didn’t need more pie dough for a top – because this was my first time making pie dough completely unsupervised, I didn’t want to take too many risks. I used Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee pie dough recipe instead of Paula Deen’s. I also packed in an extra cup of apples and I thinly sliced them instead of chopping. The top wasn’t “crunchy,” so I’m not sure about Paula’s naming of this pie, but it was very tart and tasty.

Million Dollar Pie Ingredients

My brother first had Million Dollar Pie at a restaurant called Fisherman’s Wharf in Wanchese, NC. I believe he got the waitress to give him the recipe, but who knows where it is now. I used the recipe to recreate this pie for him. It’s not necessarily a Thanksgiving pie, but it does provide a nice, light alternative to many of the heavy pies usually featured on Thanksgiving. It’s also incredibly easy, and you can add more or less of whatever you do or do not like.

Pumpkin Pie and Apple Crumble Top Pie

I used Martha’s Pate Brisee dough for the regular Pumpkin Pie and the Crunch Top Apple Pie, and I made graham cracker crust for the others. The Triple-Chocolate Pumpkin Pie had a special recipe for graham cracker crust, which was certainly very good. To make a simple graham cracker crust
, combine about 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs with 6 tablespoons of butter. Press the crumbs into your pie dish to form the crust. Bake for about 8-10 minutes in a 350 degree oven until it’s hard (without filling).

Edwin and I would love to hear what you made for Thanksgiving and how it turned out; please comment below to share it with us. Also, thank you for all the kind and encouraging words from friends, family and new visitors in support of DINNERCAKES – we appreciate it!

It's Not The Recipe, It's the Art… Sorta

A few weeks back a friend and I went to Homestead Farm in Maryland for apple picking. I’m a huge (read: obsessed) fan of apples, going through a minimum of two a day, however this was my first time picking. Needless to say I went a little overboard and ended up with a 28 pound bag of Cameos, Pink Ladys (best. apple. ever.) and Sun Fujis.

Now, 28 pounds is a lot of apples; stretching the limits of my fridge’s storage capacity (and my roommate’s patience with my obsession for food), so I decided to take full advantage of this by going into apple cooking/baking overload. We’re talking apple crisp, baked apples, apple honey challah bread, apple tarts…. These all had… varying levels of success.

One of the things I have never done is a pie. My mom makes awesome pies. Growing up she’d always do at least two pies: one cherry for my sister and one apple for me (no, we didn’t eat the entire pie ourselves). I friggin’ loved those pies. So what better way to learn how to bake a pie than via the mom? So I took a trip down to Richmond Saturday to learn the art of pie making (and to make a potato gun with the dad, but that’s another story).

Cinnamon Apples

One of the big things mom stressed was “reading the dough.” According to her, you have to be able to vary the recipe based on how things turn out. Maybe it’s a dry day and therefore the dough is dry, or maybe the opposite. Or maybe things just aren’t coming together, so you have to improvise.

Mixing the Dough

My mom uses a very simple recipe for pie crust; one she apparently got off a Crisco box (as a piece of the food snob in me dies to hear this). The apple pie filling? I have no idea.

Apple Pie

Mom’s Apple Pie (with help from Crisco)

– 1 1/3 cups of flour
– 1/2 cup of shortening
– 3-5 Tbsp of water
– 2 pounds of baking apples (I’m a fan of granny smith)
– 1/2 cup granulated (white) sugar
– 1/2 cup light brown sugar
– juice from half a lemon

Make the filling:
Peel and core the apples, cutting them in half then slicing them further; eight to twelve per apple. Combine the apples, lemon juice, white and brown sugar until apples are thoroughly coated. Let sit.

Make the crust:
Preheat the oven to 400°F and put a rack in the middle.

Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and “cut” the shortening into the flour – meaning, cut the shortening into chunks instead of just dumping the whole slab in the bowl. Then using either a pastry blender or just some butter knives, cut into the butter until you get it a mealy consistency. Something like coarse cornmeal.

Add the water one tablespoon at a time and get dirty. Mix the dough in your hand(s) until the dough is a bit tacky and sticks together. If too sticky, add flour. If not sticky enough (i.e., falling apart), add more shortening. If too dry, add water. Ask yourself what will happen if you try to roll this dough out and how it’s going to cooperate.

After you’ve “read” your perfect (::cough::) pie crust, divide it into two halves. Lightly flour a clean surface and roll out the dough. There’s a bit of flexibility on how thick you want this – basically, go for a diameter and two inches larger than the diameter of your pie pan (8-10 inches suggested for pan sizes). It’s better to have a crust that’s too large than too small. Roll from the center out, trying to get a uniform circle shape. The thickness doesn’t matter so much as the diameter.

Carefully take your rolled out dough and transfer it to your pie pan. If it’s sticking too much make a mental note of this for next time, and use a pastry cutter as a quasi-spatula to separate it from your work surface. After this, fill your pie with the filling and repeat with the second half of dough. Make a few holes in the top of the pie crust for heat to escape.

Put your pie in the oven and cook for 45 minutes. Remove when the crust is golden brown.