Fast forward a bit and I find myself at home A LOT for a few months which gives me plenty of time to do one of my favorite things – flip through the hundreds of cookbooks that I have collected and had shared with me over the years. One of my favorite kinds of cookbooks continues to be the old school community cookbooks. You know the ones. They’re usually done by the local church, the junior league, or as a school fundraiser. They’re spiral or comb bound books filled with family favorites. These are always filled with great recipes because you know people are only going to submit the best recipes they have.
So I’m flipping through some of these books and I come across a recipe for Peanut Butter Pie that is wildly different than I’ve seen before. It’s a meringue-topped, custard-filled pie that has layers of a peanut butter crumble filling on the bottom and on top. I instantly think of all those requests and click over to my email to find those messages. Sure enough, it seems this must be the pie everyone has been asking about! Excited to taste it, I jump into the kitchen and whip up this deliciousness.
The result is amazing! It’s super creamy with a delicious meringue topping with two layers of peanut butter flavor. The method is a little different, but it works beautifully.
I worked on the recipe a little to update it a bit and make the process a little easier and less cumbersome – because y’all know I like easy. And I know y’all do, too!
So here it is… Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Meringue Pie – in all its glory!
How do I store a meringue topped pie?
This pie is best served chilled as it allows the filling to set up firmer, making it easier to slice. I recommend allowing it to cool on the counter completely, and then placing it in the fridge for about 4 hours to allow it to chill through. If I’m going to chill it for the 4 hours and then serve it quickly thereafter, I don’t cover the pie for the initial chill. I just place it in the fridge uncovered. To store it for a longer period of time, I place about 4 toothpicks in the meringue around the pie and lightly cover it with plastic wrap. The toothpicks keep the plastic wrap from touching the meringue and messing it up.
What kind of pie crust should I use?
I love the reliability, consistency, and convenience of a pre-made frozen crust. Simply follow the instructions to bake the pie crust prior to filling it. That said, if you’re feeling like an overachiever, you certainly can make a homemade crust.
A few other things to keep in mind:
Cornstarch is a great thickener that’s pretty reliable. If your custard won’t get thick, try increasing the heat some, just stir very frequently to keep it from sticking and scorching. The filling will need to be pretty thick – like thick pudding.
Whipping egg whites can be a little persnickety. Make sure your bowl is very clean and free of any grease or oil. A pinch of cream of tartar can also help get them to whip up if you have some in the pantry. Also make sure the egg whites are at room temperature. Keep in mind, too, that making meringue on a particularly rainy or humid day can make it super tough to get the whites to whip up correctly.
Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Meringue Pie
- 1 (9-inch) frozen deep dish pie shell
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2/3 + 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Bake the crust for a filled pie according to the package instructions and cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a small bowl, use a fork to mix the powdered sugar and the peanut butter together until it is crumbly. Spread about half of the peanut butter mixture in the bottom of the cooled pie crust. Set the other aside.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch, 2/3 cup sugar, and salt. Add the egg yolks and milk and whisk well. Heat over medium low heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until thickened - about 10 minutes. The mixture should be the consistently of thick pudding. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and butter. Stir until the butter has melted. Pour the mixture over the peanut butter mixture in the bottom of the pie crust.
- Make the meringue by beating the egg whites in a clean bowl until frothy. Gradually add the other 1/4 cup sugar and continue to beat until you get to the stiff peak stage. The time to get there varies based on the mixer you're using. The meringue should be glossy. Spread over the custard filling in the pie. Sprinkle the remaining peanut butter crumble mixture over the meringue and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely and then chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours or overnight before serving.