As soon as I read the description about the Peanut Pie in “United States of Pie” by Adrienne Kane, I knew I had to make it.
The pie is made with Virginia Diner peanuts.
My mother loved Virginia Diner peanuts. I couldn’t say how she ever found them. We lived on the other end of the state. Maybe she ate there when she was a teenager or maybe it was just a taste she acquired after buying the big tins of peanuts from one high school club or another.
She was always good for a few bucks to buy oranges and grapefruit from the high school agriculture club, a few bucks to buy chocolates or popcorn from the Key Club –whatever, really.
We lived in high school band pizza for years.
The tins of peanuts eventually also became tins of peanut brittle and tins of chocolate covered peanut brittle, which is amazing.
The peanuts started showing up in the Charleston area a couple of years ago, after my mother had a stroke and had to go live in a nursing home.
I began buying (and consuming in great quantity) the peanuts as soon as I saw them on the shelves, usually at Christmas. I’d bring them to Mom when I visited over the holidays.
Mom died almost a year ago –March 1. I’ve been thinking a lot about her lately and the pie seemed like a nice way to remember her.
So, I looked over the recipe, went shopping again (because, honestly, who keeps dark corn syrup lying around?) and began assembling the pie.
Not everything went as planned.
The recipe called for the use of a hand mixer, but I couldn’t locate mine and ended up using a whisk to try and froth the three eggs the recipe called for. That may have contributed to the final product.
I wasn’t entirely happy with the crust and think I probably should have brushed the edges with an egg wash. Also, I think I could have passed the rolling pin over my dough once or twice more to get better coverage in the pan, but no matter.
It wasn’t a bad crust, just not as flaky or light as I wanted.
Also, the crust seemed to stick to the glass pan, which I don’t understand. My crust has enough fat in it to block the heart of a Honey Badger, but it stuck to the bottom of the pan.
This might have to do with the amount of sugar in the filling and it somehow breaking through the crust. That’s just a guess, though.
The filling made with brown sugar, dark corn syrup, a little vanilla, butter and roasted peanuts had a consistency similar to a Pecan Pie with a nutty crust over a sweet gooey center.
In my mind it tasted a lot like a Payday candy bar, which is fine, but disappointing. The process seemed to have robbed the Virginia Diner peanuts of their best quality –that fantastic crunch.
Virginia Diner peanuts are the crunchiest peanuts I’ve ever had, while still tasting like peanuts.
Anyway, it was an effort. I’m not particularly happy with the outcome and will probably give it one more shot before I call it quits on the recipe.