On Turning 29 and Peanut Butter Pie

So far 29 has taught me…

that cinnamon sticks do not light on fire and therefore cannot double as birthday candles, and also smell not like cinnamon when burning.

sometimes taking care of a sick person can be a blessing in disguise. It’ll lead to lots of cuddle and couch time.

a good birthday present to yourself upon turning 29 is disinfecting the entire house.

birthday parties at this age include some little people who may not even be able to join in on the conversation. This does not make parties any less enjoyable. We may be growing up, but everyone is still game to adjust their grown up schedules so we can all still hang out and be friends like normal.

time goes by so. fast. In the blink of an eye I’m a year away from 30. I remember when 30 sounded so old. Now it feel like NBD, just the next thing that’ll happen in this life.

Perfection is not something that comes on the first time. Well, rarely anyway. Who among us can say their first time having sex was awesome? Bad first date that turned into many more amazing dates? Who doesn’t feel there was some room for improvement in the first real job they took, the way they handled themselves in their first job? Perfection, let’s be honest, 29 years have taught me that it doesn’t exist, thank God. But ecstatically amazing, drool-worthy, break out the happy dance? That does exist. Twenty-nine says it exists if you admit to your mistakes, learn from them, don’t kick yourself, and give it another go.

Perfection did not exist in the first peanut butter pie I made for Michael, and at the tender age of 27 I did not know how to admit that. For the last two years I have heard endlessly about the perfect peanut butter pie from Smokey Bones.

Oh you’ve bought edible perfection? I can replicate that at home, bitch! I will now conquer the peanut butter pie. It must taste rich, but not overwhelming and peanut buttery with a layer of chocolate (milk chocolate, Julia, come oooon!). It should be topped with whipped cream. Above all, it must  have a firm texture and not be a peanut butter pudding in a pie crust.

I think this pie went through about four iterations. This year, for Michael’s 31st birthday I gave him a peanut butter pie that he deemed amazing, heaven, blissful, orgasm in his mouth even.

Do you see the list of requirements up there that I had to achieve in this pie? I feel like I reached perfection, even if that was not one of the adjectives Michael used to describe it.

So here is a peanut butter pie, one that taught me, one that will bring me into 29 with confidence.

Perfect Peanut Butter Pie
adapted from A Beautiful Mess

Ingredients
A single Pie crust (my favorite of which I use a bit more than half)
3 ounces milk chocolate (plus a little more for garnish)
1 cups whipping cream, divided
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare your pie crust. Preheat the oven to 400°. Roll out the crust and press it into a pie pan with about 1/4 inch hanging over the edge. Fold the edges up and pinch or crimp them with your fingers or a fork. Press a piece of aluminum foil, either buttered or non-stick side down, onto the crust. Fill the aluminum foil covered crust with dried beans (you won’t be able to cook with them again) or pie weights.

Bake the crust for 25 minutes. Take it out of the oven and remove the dried beans and foil. If any of the crust has bubbled up, gently press it down with the back of a spoon. Put the crust back into the oven for 10 minutes, or until it’s lightly browned. Remove it from the oven and let it cool.

Put the chocolate and 1/4 of a cup heavy cream in a small pot. Melt over medium heat, whisking frequently to make a ganache.

Put the chocolate and 1/4 cup heavy cream in a small pot and melt over medium heat, whisking often. Pour into baked pie crust.

In a mixer combine 1/4 cup of remaining whipping cream, cream cheese, peanut butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the last 1/2 cup whipping cream and vanilla extract, and beat until stiff peaks begin to form.

Spoon filling into pie crust and carefully spread it out without mixing in the chocolate layer on the bottom. Using the large holes on a grater, grate chocolate curls over the top of the pie.

Put the pie in the freezer for at least two hours. Serve chilled.

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