For anyone in the future post-human species reading this in the year 3128, once the laptops have been excavated from fossils after a literal scorched earth has killed off all current living organisms and ossified or melted all electronics, first of all, thank you! I’m pleased my work is still being seen. Secondly, future post-human species, the year is 2020, and we are in. the. shit. It’s not good. To my current readers who are wondering my thoughts on Elizabeth Warren exiting the presidential race – I see you! – I do have a rough draft going, I am working on that, but I’ve hit pause because, global pandemic.
Coronavirus. COVID-19. I’m not sure what I can say that hasn’t already been said (WASH YOUR HANDS! DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE! STAY THE FUCK HOME!), so I’ll just go with, I’m here, I’m not going anywhere (literally!) and I’m seeing you. This is some scary shit. Take heart though, we’re in this together.
In a move that would appear to be wise prescience but is really propitious coincidence, I spent the past two weeks testing and photographing a nice handful of recipes to share here. The good news is that I have content. The bad news is that none of it is particularly geared towards quarantine cooking. But I hope you will enjoy them nonetheless and bookmark some for later (how much later? Argh!). Otherwise, I really don’t know what to expect from the next few weeks. I work from home anyway, but Mr. Wallace’s company has ordered all employees to stay home for at least two weeks. That’s… a lot of togetherness. I’m sure you’re in the same boat. I’ve halted my gym trips, we plan on avoiding bars and restaurants, New Jersey has declared a state of emergency. It’s all very weird. I’d love to know when insanity kicks in, just so I can plan for it. I keep reading that Shakespeare wrote his masterpiece King Lear while in quarantine from a plague. I think people mean that to be encouraging, but let’s be honest, I’m pretty sure I’m more likely to produce a Jack Torrance novel than a Shakespearean play.
So I’ll leave you with a pie for Pi(e) Day, a March 14th “holiday” meant to celebrate the discovery of pi (3.14 etc) and elevate the discipline of mathematics in general, but has been (mis)appropriated by food media as an excuse to make and eat actual pie. I will shamelessly join. This peanut butter mousse pie is one of several I tested for the occasion. I stuck to either chocolate or peanut butter rather than force an out-of-season fruit to rise to an occasion it simply cannot. This was hands down the favorite, which was no knock on the Chocolate Bourbon or the Peanut Butter Chiffon pies. But superior is superior. The crust is crunchy and salty, the filling is rich but not too much so, and the marshmallow whipped cream topping is shockingly and delightfully light. And I hope this pie has the added benefit of perhaps being doable in quarantine/social distancing. You may very well already have pretzels, peanuts, sugar, and peanut butter in your pantry. The remaining ingredients – cream cheese, marshmallow fluff, heavy cream – don’t seem to be in high hoarding demand right now. So I very much hope this pie finds you doing okay and can provide you a fun baking project and much-needed treat.
Peanut Butter Mousse Pie with Marshmallow Whipped Cream
- ½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts
- 7 oz salted pretzels (about 4 cups)
- ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 10 tbs unsalted butter, melted
PEANUT BUTTER MOUSSE:
- 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
- 1 tbs vanilla extract
- 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup creamy (not natural) peanut butter
- ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 pinches of kosher salt
MARSHMALLOW WHIPPED CREAM:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 7 oz jar marshmallow fluff
- Chopped roasted salted peanuts, for garnish
- Preheat your oven to 375 F.
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the peanuts until finely chopped. Be careful not to make peanut butter. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Put the pretzels in the food processor bowl (no need to clean it) and pulse until finely ground. Transfer to the bowl with the peanuts, then add sugar. Stir to combine, then add the melted butter and stir until well coated.
- Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Dump the pretzel mixture into the plate, then use the bottom of a greased flat drinking glass to press the pretzel mixture into the bottom and up the sides evenly.
- Bake the crust until set and slightly darkened, about 12 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
PEANUT BUTTER MOUSSE:
- In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the heavy cream with the vanilla extract on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
- In a large mixing bowl, use clean beaters to beat the cream cheese and peanut butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and salt and beat until smooth.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture until smooth and no streaks remain. Transfer the peanut butter mousse to the pie crust and smooth the top. Make sure you spread it completely to the sides of the crust.
MARSHMALLOW WHIPPED CREAM:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream, vanilla, and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Add the marshmallow fluff in two additions, beating after each one, until fully incorporated. Your end point is looking fluffy and glossy.
- Spread the topping over the pie, leaving a 1-inch border. It will tower fairly high on you. This is a good thing. Smooth the top flat, or flat-ish, and then sprinkle with the chopped salted peanuts.
- Refrigerate at least 2 hours to set up, preferably overnight.
- Leftover pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.