A simple, quick, and cheap pie recipe. Using vegan oil pie crust, you can whip up a creamy custard and make the whole peanut butter custard pie in an hour.
Peanut Butter Custard Pie
It's been a busy week here at MIT. Classes have been giving pset after pset, test after test. Schoolwork is always stressful, but honestly, I worry more about pie.
Earlier this week, I felt obligated to bake pie for Pi Day since I live on a hall called Floor Pi surrounded by a bunch of math majors. Ever since the Stata's farmers market closed, I've been rather fruit deprived, so what pie could I even make?
Fortunately, custard pie uses ingredients you have on hand and comes together in a jiffy. Custard is basically eggs, milk, and sugar, and using vegan oil pie crust means you don't need ridiculous amounts of butter.
Since I add peanut butter to everything from tofu to stew to oats, I also added it to the filling to make peanut butter custard pie. Adding meringueis too much work for a busy weekday, so I garnished the pie with crushed peanuts.
Never baked a pie before? You can buy store bought pie crust to save yourself a step and just make the filling. Peanut butter custard pie has cheap ingredients and quick prep, so it's a great place to start.
- 1 recipe of vegan oil pie crust
- 2 cups of milk
- 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
- ⅔ cups of sugar
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup of peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- ¼ cup of crushed peanuts for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Blind bake the pie crust for 15 minutes to firm up the crust.
- While the crust bakes, make the peanut butter custard. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch with a tablespoon of milk until perfectly smooth.
- Add the cornstarch slurry, milk, sugar, salt, and eggs to a medium pot. Mix until smooth.
- Stir constantly, and cook over medium-heat until thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla, and set aside.
- Once the custard has cooled, distribute the custard in the pie crust.
- Bake for 30 minutes until set.
- Pie crust: Any sort of pie crust works. Store bought would be the most convenient. For more vegan pie crust options, see the post on vegan oil pie crust.
- Milk: Rich liquid used in the custard. Any sort of milk works. Richer options include heavy cream or half and half.
- Sugar: Sweetens the custard. Use up to 1 cup. Any sort of sweetener works, but liquid sweeteners may result in a thinner custard.
- Salt: Balances out the sweetness of the peanut butter custard.
- Cornstarch: Thickens the custard with the smoothest, silkiest texture. Here are the differences between types of thickeners. Substituting 1/4 cup of flour should be okay.
- Eggs: Adds richness and thickens the custard. Use up to 4 egg yolks.
- Peanut butter: Adds rich peanut butter flavor. Use up to 3/4 cup.
- Vanilla: Adds flavor.
- Peanuts: Adds textural contrast. Can omit.
Step by Step Photos
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven preheats, prepare the pie crust. If you don't have any prepared crusts, you can whip up a batch of vegan oil pie crust in just 5 minutes.
When the oven has preheated, blind bake the pie crust for 15 minutes to firm up the crust. Vegan pie crust made with canola oil holds its shape fairly well. If you have a butter pie crust, you may want to use pie weights so that it doesn't collapse.
Let's make the best part of the pie - the peanut butter custard filling. The hardest part of making custard is preventing starchy lumps. To prevent this, in a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch with a tablespoon of milk until perfectly smooth. I do this in a 2-cup measuring cup so I can measure the milk in the same container.
Add the cornstarch slurry, milk, sugar, salt, and eggs to a medium pot. Mix until smooth. Cooking vanilla makes the flavor less potent, so we add it later. There's no point in adding peanut butter now, so we also add that later.
Cook over medium-heat until thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure to stir constantly. If you don't the starch will stick to the bottom of the pot, and you'll get a lumpy custard.
Once lumps form, the only way to get a smooth custard again is to sieve them out. Washing a sieve is quite a lot of work, so please please supervise your custard.
You can tell when the custard is done when it's thick enough to coat a spoon. The custard looks like a thin pudding. Now, the custard tastes fairly eggy, but this will soon be resolved. If your custard is lumpy, you'll have to sieve out the lumps.
Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla, and set aside. I would recommend using at least 1/2 cup of peanut butter for a more pronounced peanut flavor. Unfortunately, I ran out.
Once the custard has cooled, distribute the custard in the pie crust. Stirring in cold or room temperature peanut butter should bring down the temperature enough. The custard just needs to be sufficiently cool not to melt the crust.
Bake for 30 minutes until set. You'll find that the peanut butter custard pie is still wobbly right out of the oven, so you need to let it cool for at least 30 minutes before trying to slice it. If you like, you can garnish the top of the pie with crushed peanuts in a pretty pattern. Other fun garnishes include a peanut butter drizzle, a chocolate drizzle, or chocolate peanut butter cups.
I sliced the pie after it had been sitting at room temperature for a few hours. The peanut butter custard pie slices are still fairly wobbly. If you want picture-perfect neat slices, you should chill the pie in the fridge for a few hours. I'm way too impatient, so I just serve wobbly pieces.
Questions, comments, complaints? Feel free to comment below, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find me on social media. I love hearing back from you.