Apple + Peanut Butter Pie

Apple and peanut butter is a classic combination – or so we’re told by many of you. In our household, it’s rather unusual. We grew up on bananas and peanut butter for quick or lazy snack times. Well, we’ve been trying to figure out how to make a banana and peanut butter filling work in a pie for a while now (one that uses the whole fruit, not a custard or cream one, without it turning out dry or gummy), but an apple and peanut butter one immediately seemed doable. And you’re right, apple and pb snackers. It’s a pretty good match.

Of course, peanut butter is a key ingredient in this recipe. There’s some in the filling and in the crunchy streusel topping, so get the good stuff. Try to get an all-natural peanut butter, ones without any hydrogenated oil or too much sugar added. That way your filling won’t become too sweet, greasy or clumpy. We used two kinds of apples for this recipe, Fuji and Gala, and both are great in a pie as long as you precook the filling. You get a flaky, tender crust, filled with a fruity, juicy and nutty filling and a sweet and salty crunchy topping that is great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

For the bottom crust:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
1/2 cup/one stick unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3-5 tbsp ice cold water
1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar

For the filling:
5 Fuji apples, cored, peeled and sliced
5 Gala apples, cored, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup peanut butter, unsweetened
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
3 tsps cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

For the crunchy streusel topping:
6 tbsp cold peanut butter, unsweetened
2 tbsp cold butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsps grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

Make your bottom crust. Combine butter (cubed for easier handling) and mix in 2/3rds of the flour, salt, sugar and water. Work until no dry flour remains and the dough is clumpy. Add vinegar or lemon juice. Sprinkle the remaining flour and work until all the flour is incorporated. Roll into ball. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Roll out. Cut the crust into smaller circles using a 6 inch pastry cutter. Press each circle into 5 well-greased and floured mini-pie pans. If you don’t have a round pastry cutter, divide your dough into smaller pieces and roll out each individual piece to press into 5 well-greased mini-pie pans. Trim and crimp edges.

Make your fruit filling. In a large pan, combine apple slices, apple juice, peanut butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, cinnamon and cornstarch. Stir well to make sure. Cook for 10-15 minutes until well-combined and mixture bubbles and thickens. Cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour before filling your crust.

Make the peanut butter streusel topping. In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, lemon peel, spices and salt. Cut in peanut butter and butter. Work until crumbly.

Assemble and bake your pie. Preheat oven to 400ºF/204ºC. Lightly brush crust with cream or milk. Fill crust with fruit filling. Top with peanut butter streusel. Bake pie for ten minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 350ºF/176ºC. Bake for an additional 45-50 minutes or until crust has turned golden brown.

Have some pie. Ice cream scoop optional (but highly recommended).

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