October 9, 2014

Peanut Butter Caramel Pie with a Chocolate Cake Crust

Do you remember when I made Black and White Mini Cupcakes and I told you that it makes a buttload of cake? Do you remember when I oh-so-subtly pondered on what one could do with all those leftover, frosting-less mini cupcakes? Yeah, they've been sitting in my freezer ever since.

See, I never know what to do with leftover cake. Usually, I just eat it, but this was a little much just for me. I stirred some chunks into some mocha ice cream, and that was good, but there was enough cake for about 25 gallons of ice cream. So I consulted the interwebz, like you do, and most of the results were predictable. Trifle (meh). Cake pops (ick). Put in ice cream (been there, done that).

Then I found a recipe where the cake was crumbled up, toasted in the oven, and then used like cookie crumbs for a pie crust. Now we were talking.
The only thing that remained was a filling to put in the pie. Something that would pair well with the dark chocolate cake, but was still easy to make (my free time has been taken up by NYCC and prep for the brother's wedding and I still got asthmatic kitty to worry about) and maybe didn't dirty too many pans.

Enter the crazy deliciousness that is this Peanut Butter Caramel Pie from the Cooking Actress. Not only is it peanut butter and caramel, but you make it in the microwave. Chill, top with whipped cream, et voila, vous etes finis. Plus, it makes your house smell amazeballs. Like, if Willy Wonka took over the Reese's factory good.
The toasted cake crumb crust is chewier than a traditional cookie crumb crust, less crisp, but not soggy or soft by any means, and it tastes like cake which is awesome. Plus, you can use any kind of cake you like. Are you gluten free? Use a gluten free cake. Got an egg allergy? Go with an egg free cake. And then there's the peanut butter caramel. Words cannot describe how much you need peanut butter caramel in your life. It's caramel, but with a rich, peanut buttery undertone. Neither flavor overpowers the other, but instead they meld into this amazing new flavor and it is necessary for living

I may or may not be eating this pie right now. For breakfast. Don't judge.

Peanut Butter Caramel Pie
Yield: 1 9" pie (8 servings)

For the crust:
2 cups toasted chocolate cake crumbs (instructions below)
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

For the caramel:
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch salt

For the whipped cream:
1/4 cup chilled heavy cream
1 tbsp. powdered sugar
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

To make the toasted cake crumbs: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Crumble chocolate cake onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about an hour, until the cake is dry. Once completely cooled, pulse in a food processor until finely ground. Store in an airtight bag or container.

Prepare the crust: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch pie plate with butter or non-stick cooking spray. Combine the cake crumbs and melted butter, and press evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes, until the crust is set.

While the crust is cooling, prepare the caramel: In a large, microwave safe bowl, add the sugar, heavy cream, and peanut butter, and whisk until completely smooth. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove and stir. Microwave on high for another 2 minutes, or until bubbly and thickened. Stir in the vanilla and salt and let cool until thickened, but still warm. Add to the prepared pie crust, cover, and chill in the refrigerator, minimum 4 hours or overnight.

Before serving, prepare the whipped cream: Add the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer). Mix on low until well combined, then gradually increase the speed to high. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Spread evenly on top of the pie and serve.

Tip: Let the pie sit at room temperature for a bit so it's easier to cut

Crust recipe adapted from PastryJane.com*. Pie recipe adapted from The Cooking Actress
*The website where I found the pie crust recipe has since expired, so I can't link to the original