Author Notes: My all time favorite peanut butter pie is from the Joy of Cooking. The filling is made with peanut butter, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and whipped cream. It is smooth, not overly dense, and just plain luscious. I decided to take a stab at making a dairy free and potentially vegan version using silken tofu and a little lemon juice in place of the cream cheese, and whipped coconut cream in place of whipping cream. I was thrilled with the results - the texture and flavor were both spot on. No one would know this was a "knock off" version! I love to combine peanut butter with chocolate and salt, so went with a pretzel crumb crust and a layer of chocolate sprinkled with flaky Murray River salt on top. I garnished with some crust crumbs, but a sprinkling of roasted peanuts or toasted coconut would work as well. If you want this to be vegan make certain to read the label on your pretzels, bittersweet chocolate, and brown sugar. I used a natural muscovado brown sugar to keep it vegan, but it's fine to use regular brown sugar if you're just looking to be dairy-free. - hardlikearmour
Makes one 9-inch pie
- 7 to 8 ounces mini-pretzels (knots or sticks)
- 1/4 packed light brown muscavado sugar
- 3/4 cup melted coconut oil (I like extra virgin for it's mild coconut flavor. If you don't want the coconut flavor, use refined instead)
- neutral oil (vegetable, canola, etc...)
- Pulse pretzels in 2 batches in food processor until a fairly equal mix of fine and coarse crumbs, about 10 one second pulses per batch. Measure 2 cups of crumbs (save remaining crumbs to use as garnish later if desired), and return them to the food processor. Evenly distribute brown sugar and coconut oil over the crumbs. Pulse mixture together until pretzel crumbs are evenly coated with oil, about 5 to 6 short pulses.
- Lightly oil glass pie pan with a neutral oil. Press all but 1/4-cup of the crumb mixture into the pan in an even layer along the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan. (If not using the crumb garnish, go ahead and use all of the crumbs for the crust.) Place the pie pan in the freezer to set the crust while making the filling.
- Crumb garnish: Stir together the remaining crumb mixture with any left over pretzel crumbs you might have. Transfer the mixture into a layer on a parchment or waxed paper lined plate, and freeze until set. Transfer the mixture to a storage container, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish each slice when serving to prevent the crumbs from getting soggy.
Peanut Butter Filling
- 1 14-oz (400 ml) can coconut cream* (I used Aroy-D)
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used Endangered Species)
- 12.3 ounce package extra-firm silken tofu (I used Mori-Nu)
- 1 cup natural peanut butter (I prefer smooth, but feel free to use crunchy)
- 1/2 cup packed light brown muscovado sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- flaked salt - I like Murray River, but any flaky salt will do
- optional garnish - chopped peanuts or toasted coconut
- *Coconut cream is not the same as cream of coconut. It can typically be found in Asian groceries. If you cannot find it purchase 2 cans of a good quality, high fat coconut milk (like Whole Foods 365 or Chaokoh brand), chill the cans, then separate the solid cream and the milk portions. Add enough milk to the cream to measure 400 ml (or 1 2/3 cups.)
- Transfer the coconut cream to a clean medium bowl. It will not be homogenous, so whisk briefly to blend. Transfer 1/2 cup to a 2-cup glass measure, and bring to a boil in the microwave. Place the bowl with the remaining coconut cream in the freezer to chill. Finely chop the chocolate and add it to the hot coconut cream. Let it sit for several minutes, then stir until smooth. Set aside.
- Open package of tofu, and pour out any liquid that may be present. Transfer tofu to a medium bowl. Add the peanut butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Using a hand mixer beat until smooth, and no little white flecks of tofu remain. Scrape the bowl and beat another 10 to 15 seconds just to be safe!
- Using a whisk, briefly whip the chilled coconut cream until it is thickened. It's not going to whip as nicely as whipping cream, but it will perceptibly thicken with whisking.
- Fold about half of the whipped coconut cream into the tofu-peanut butter mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whipped coconut cream.
- Remove the pie shell from the freezer and pour the filling in. Smooth gently, then pour the chocolate mixture over the top. I like to leave a little rim of the peanut butter filling visible at the edges. Use the back of a spoon to gently smooth and spread the chocolate. Sprinkle several pinches of flaked salt over the chocolate (if not doing a garnish, either skip this step or do it when serving as the salt makes the top of the chocolate spotty looking). If not using the pretzel crumb garnish, feel free to garnish with chopped peanuts or toasted coconut now. Refrigerate until cool, then cover and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve chilled, garnishing each slice with crumb mixture if desired.