There is a little diner in our city that has been in business for at least 50 years that has the best cream pies with meringue. This place is a tiny little place and unless you were a local, you probably wouldn't even stop there, but on any given day you can go there and they will have homemade chocolate cream pie, coconut cream pie, lemon cream pie, sometimes butterscotch cream pie and most days the very best pie they make...peanut butter cream pie. It is to die for and if you are peanut butter lover like I am, it will be your favorite.
Now I know most like the cold, pudding like whipped cream peanut butter pies and I like those also, but this is a different type of peanut butter pie. The filling is cooked and it's made in a regular pie shell with meringue on top. It's truly a southern delight and if you have never had one, you have to try it. Here is all you will need:
1 9 inch pie shell, baked
1 cup milk
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter (4 Tbs.)
3 Tbs. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs, separated and at room temperature (use just the yolks in the filling and reserve the whites for the meringue)
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
3 egg whites (room temperature eggs make better meringue)
1 tsp. baking powder
4 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. corn starch
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine milk, egg yolks, sugar and corn starch in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 3 minutes. Whisk well. Add in the butter and vanilla and cook for about 3 more minutes. Remove and whisk again until very smooth. This filling should be thick by now, if not cook a little more and whisk again. Add the peanut butter and beat until smooth. Pour into the baked pie shell.
You can also do this on the stovetop. Just bring the ingredients up just to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened and add butter, vanilla and peanut butter right at the end.
For the meringue, add 1 tsp. of baking powder to the egg whites and start to beat the whites with an electric mixer on high. Gradually add in 4 Tbs. of sugar, continuing to beat. When stiff peaks start to form (this takes some time) add in 1 tsp. of corn starch and 1 tsp. of vanilla. Don't go too heavy on the vanilla or it will change the color of your meringue or use the colorless. Make sure your bowl and beaters are completely clean and dry before you start making the meringue. Any oil or residue will cause the meringue not to be high and light. This includes oils on your hands. Do not touch the egg whites when separating them. I actually read a tutorial on making meringue lately that said to strain the egg whites through your fingers...don't do that for meringue. The natural oils on your fingers and hands can affect your meringue.
This is how your meringue should look.
Spread the meringue over your pie and be sure to seal the edges of the meringue all of the way around by just closing any gaps or air pockets. People ask frequently about why their meringue shrinks and pulls away on the sides, it's because they didn't seal it down all the way around the pie.
Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
Southern Peanut Butter Cream Pie!