One of the amazing things about the internet is the way it connects people. About 3 weeks ago, there was an enormous outpouring of love in the food blogging community for Jennifer Perillo from In Jennie's Kitchen, whose husband Mikey suddenly passed away. She asks us to celebrate his life and the loved ones in our own lives by making a peanut butter pie on the second Friday of August. While I didn't make these exactly on that date, it is never too late to celebrate those you love, whether by baking or not. All too often we get caught up in the daily routines of life and forget to take a moment to enjoy being with our family and friends. So here is my 'Pie for Mikey' and a reminder to cherish the people around you!
These mini pies are made with sweet shortcrust pastry , filled with a creamy natural peanut butter filling, topped with whipped cream and a chocolate spider (or 'haystack'). They are very rich so are excellent in this bite size form and perfect for sharing.
Mini Peanut Butter Pies
180g plain flour
approx. 50mls cold/iced water (around 2-3 tablespoons as a rough guide)
500mls thickened cream
250g cream cheese, softened
140g peanut butter (I used natural)
70g icing sugar, sifted
300mls thickened cream
100g fried noodles (I used Changs)
220g chocolate/chocolate melts (I used milk, but you can use whatever you like)
55g peanut butter (around 2-2.5 tablespoons)
To make the pastry: place the flour sugar and butter in a food processor. Process until the mixture becomes similar in texture to fine breadcrumbs. With motor running, gradually add the iced water until a smooth and well combined dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface (I use a pastry mat), and knead lightly. If the mixture is too moist then knead in a little more flour. Roll the dough into a ball then cover with plastic wrap, and place into the fridge for about 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the chocolate spider/haystack topping. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Melt together the peanut butter and chocolate in a microwave/on a stovetop until runny and smooth. Carefully fold in the fried noodles until they are fully covered with the chocolate mixture. Drop small teaspoonfuls of mixture onto the lined tins to form little 'spiders' or 'haystacks'. Transfer trays to the fridge and refrigerate until firm.
Next, Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease a mini (or whatever size you prefer) muffin/cupcake tin with butter.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out on a floured surface (or between two sheets of baking paper) to about 4mm (a bit over 1/8 inches) thick (or as desired). Cut circles of dough to fit your baking tins using round cookie cutters (you may have to experiment with a couple cutter sizes to get an ideal fit). Gently push the pastry circles into the tins.
Once the tins are filled, cut out small squares/circles of non-stick baking paper and place on top of the pastry circles. Fill with pastry weights or uncooked rice/beans and blind bake for 5-7 minutes. Remove the weights then return to the oven for a further 7-10 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and light-golden brown. Remove from the oven and stand for 2-3 minutes. Carefully remove pastry cases from the tins and place on a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, whip the 850ml cream (300ml + 550ml) in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip to desired consistency (I whipped mine to medium peaks - not too stiff and still a little soft). Transfer to another bowl and set aside in the fridge.
Next, make the filling. Using the same bowl and whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter and icing sugar on medium-high until combined, smooth and aerated. Fold in about 550-600g of the whipped cream until smooth and combined. Transfer filling to a large piping bag fitted with the tip/nozzle of your choice ( I chose a large fluted tip). Carefully swirl the mixure into the cooled pastry cases until filled as desired. Top with a dollop of the remaining whipped cream, and a chocolate spider/haystack.
Makes about 25 mini pies depending on the size of tin used.
Store refrigerated in an air-tight container. Best consumed within 3 days.
Sources: Pastry adapted from Donna Hay Modern Classics Book 2, filling adapted from Ezra Pound Cake, chocolate spiders adapted from Changs.