My dad was right. The combination of peanut butter and ice cream is indescribably delicious. So the capstone to my peanut butter project is this ice cream pie that’s sure to please any peanut butter lover out there. I call it a pie, but it more resembles a cheesecake. When I set out to develop it, I had every intention of using a pie pan, but there is only so much ice cream you can cram into them. So I moved up to a 9-inch springform pan, which easily holds a generous quart.
Instead of using graham crackers or cookies for the crust, I opted for salty pretzels. On top of that goes a base of caramel sauce and crushed Reese’s peanut butter cups. It’s enough to put you into a peanut butter coma, but what a way to go!
For the ice cream, I use a technique that requires whisking the eggs vigorously for about two minutes until fluffy and light. This may give your arms a workout, but don’t underestimate the importance of this step. Of course, you will need a decent ice cream freezer. I use a Cuisinart ICE-30BC 2-Quart Automatic Ice Cream Maker, which I will talk about more in an upcoming post. It usually takes about 20-25 minutes to get a consistency similar to soft serve ice cream, which spreads easily into the cake pan.
I recommend a commercial caramel sauce, because they remain gooey and don’t harden in the freezer.
20 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures
6 oz. (170g) pretzels (thin, mini or sticks)
4 oz. (113g) butter, unsalted, melted
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
1/3 cup (80 ml) caramel sauce
2 large eggs
¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
2 cups (470 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (235 ml) whole milk
1/3 cup (80 ml) creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
¼ cup cocktail peanuts, chopped
Large mixing bowl
9-inch springform pan
Ice cream freezer/maker
Put the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in the freezer for about 20 minutes to make them easier to handle later.
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C/Gas Mark 4). Using a food processor, ground the pretzels for about 20 seconds or until crumbs are like course sand. Some small bits here and there are fine. In a large bowl, combine the crumbs, melted butter and tablespoon sugar and stir until well mixed. With clean hands, evenly spread and press the crumb mixture on the bottom of the springform pan. Bake until edges just begin to brown, about 12-14 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, unwrap the Reese’s cups and roughly chop. Pour the caramel sauce into the center of the springform pan. Evenly distribute the sauce by gently tilting and rotating the pan. (Avoid using something to spread the sauce, as this may disrupt the crust.) Arrange the Reese’s cup quarters in an even layer across the caramel. Freeze to set until ice cream is prepared.
Ice Cream Filling:
In a large mixing bowl, vigorously whisk the eggs until they are fluffy and light, about 2 minutes. Slowly add in the sugar and continue to whisk for another minute. Add the cream, milk and peanut butter and stir until well combined. Freeze and churn in an ice cream maker until the consistency of soft serve.
Gently and evenly spread the ice cream into the pan. Drop the pan onto the counter several times from a height of 4 or 5 inches (10 cm) to work out and pockets of air.
Place a layer of plastic wrap across the top of the pie and up and over the edges of the pan. Freeze the pie for 3-4 hours, until the ice cream is frozen solid throughout.
To finish and garnish, remove the pie from the pan and let it rest for 2-3 minutes. Use an offset spatula warmed in hot water to smooth the top of the cake. Evenly sprinkle the chopped peanuts and milk chocolate chips across the top, pressing them into the ice cream with the spatula. Serve immediately or return to the freezer. Allow the pie to rest on the counter for 5 minutes prior to serving.