The diner had not been our first choice. The four of us had been driving, for seemingly forever, in search of the Chinese restaurant. It was just past 4 p.m., and my lunchtime hunger window had come and gone a good two hours prior. So when we pulled into the parking lot to see the Dragon Garden door locked and its lights out, can you blame me for wanting to cry a little?
Instead, our family headed in the direction of the beckoning diner sign a few yards down the road, where we swapped chow fun for club sandwiches. And when my daughter saw the words "chocolate peanut butter pie" etched on the menu, all our spirits lifted higher. Sometimes, your Plan B turns out to be exactly what you wanted after all.
I grew up in New Jersey, a state whose unofficial motto might be "baking done on premises." My idea of a great restaurant involves laminated menus and an illuminated carousel of desserts. But while the likes of key lime and lemon meringue are appealing in their own ways, there is to my mind no better finale to a plate of fries and maybe a tuna melt than something that tastes reminiscent of a giant Reese's.
At home, chocolate peanut butter is a surprisingly easy indulgence. It comes together in minutes, and it's ready to eat almost immediately. Mine has a generous Oreo crust, a cream cheese and whipped cream base and a thick ganache topping. You can throw it together while you're boiling the water for a pasta dinner and have a killer dessert waiting for you at the end of the meal.
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I made this recipe for my family last week and can attest it tasted like it had been put in front of us by a lady named Pearl with a pen behind her ear. Serve as is, or with a flourish of whipped cream and chocolate shavings for the full diner effect.
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- 20 Oreos
- 5 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 6 ounces softened cream cheese
- 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (See Cook's Notes)
- Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse the Oreos to fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse until combined. (If you don't have a food processor, crush the Oreos in a Ziploc bag with a rolling pin, then pour into a bowl and stir in the butter.)
- Press the crumbs into a 9-inch pie pan to form a crust, then stick in the freezer while you make the rest of the pie.
- Make the filling: With a hand or stand mixer, beat 1 1/4 cups of the cream until stiff peaks form. Beat in the peanut butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and salt until blended.
- Remove crust from freezer and pour in the peanut butter filling. Stick it back in the freezer.
- Make the ganache: In a small saucepan, simmer the rest of the cream, then stir in the chocolate until melted and smooth.
- Remove the pie from the freezer. Gently pour the ganache on top, smoothing out to cover.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To save even more time, use a premade Oreo pie shell.
Chopped semisweet chocolate works fine if you don't have any semisweet chocolate chips on hand.
of our favorite diner classics
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