My Grandma Borton was amazing. She was the absolute picture of grace and beauty, with a merciless streak when it came to board games.
I hope my wife will forgive me for saying this, but my grandma was probably the best kids’ dessert maker in the whole world. She would have mopped the floor with Jacque Torres in a dessert contest where the judges were 12 and under. She knew her audience, and she knew how to press her advantage, much to her grandchildren’s delight.
Given that our firm is currently in the midst of an internal contest to smash Chuck Boyk in the face with a pie (leave a Google Review at charlesboyk-law.com/pie!), I couldn’t help but think, “What pie I would want to get smashed in the face with?”
The answer was clear and immediate: My Grandma Borton’s Peanut Butter Streusel Pie. This is an old-fashioned peanut butter cream pie commonly found in Amish households throughout the Midwest. This pie never fails to transport me through time, back to my grandma’s white farmhouse out in Fulton County.
Every bite is full of memories of every holiday, birthday, and family gatherings of my youth. The pie was a dependable and loved staple for her grandchildren. As a child, it was my deeply held conviction that her pie was the best pie ever, and you couldn’t convince me otherwise. Nostalgia is a powerful ingredient.
Graham Cracker Crust
1 1/4C Crushed Graham Crackers
1/3C Melted Butter
4 Cups Whole Milk
2/3 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Cornstarch
1 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
3 Egg Yolks
3 Tbsp. Butter
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
Whipped Cream Topping
2 Cups Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Nostalgia As much as you have on hand.
Make the Graham cracker crust
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Mix the graham crumbs and sugar with the melted butter and press into the base of a 9” pie plate.
3. Bake in the oven for about 10 min.
4. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the Pudding
1. In a bowl, whisk together: 1 cup milk, the cornstarch, salt, egg yolks, and vanilla until smooth. Set aside.
2. On the stove: heat the remaining 3 cups of milk, the butter, and sugar in a saucepan until the point just before it boils. You want to scald the milk, not burn it.
3. Once the milk is scalding hot (but not boiling), slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the saucepan while whisking. Continue to heat until the mixture thickens enough to coat a spoon.
4. Remove from heat and let cool. Then in plastic wrap, placing the wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to prevent that yucky skin from forming.
Make the Streusel
Mix the powdered sugar and peanut butter together using a fork/pastry blender until crumbs form. The largest crumbs should be smaller than a pea.
Assemble the Pie
Once the pie crust and pudding have cooled, begin assembly. First, add a layer of streusel to the crust, then spoon about half the pudding on top of the streusel layer. Repeat with more streusel and then fill the crust with the rest of the pudding. Top with the remaining streusel, reserving a little to decorate the top of the whipped cream.
Chill to Set
Refrigerate the pie for at least a couple hours until it is firmly set (overnight is best).
When it is ready to serve, make the whipped cream topping.
Make the Whipped Cream Topping
Add the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla to a chilled, metal mixing bowl and slowly mix. As the cream starts to firm up, kick up the mixer to high. Keep mixing until the whipped cream holds its shape when you pull out the beaters. This usually takes a minute or two. Do not over-whip!
Add the whipped cream to the pie and sprinkle with more streusel. Cool or serve.
1. If you want to make a very easy version, you can substitute the homemade pudding for vanilla pudding mix. You can also use a pre-made pastry or graham cracker pie crust and a tub cool whip. I mean the Amish wouldn’t do it, but go ahead, it will still taste great.
2. Do not substitute coconut extract for vanilla. It will taste like sunscreen and people will hate you. Trust me, I know.