Peanut Butter Pie
When I was a little girl my family had an RV. We would spend two weeks each summer driving around the western states, stopping in a new location each night. Every other year we would go either north or south from San Francisco. North meant a stopover in Tacoma, Washington to see my Uncle Joe and his family. South meant Disneyland, San Diego (well, Port Hueneme, to visit the Seabee museum), and sometimes, Tijuana. One year we spent two weeks driving to Colorado and back. Another was spent in Arizona (in June, when it was 115 degrees). Sometimes we’d drive only a few hours a day, other days we’d be on the road for eight.
My dad drove on these trips and my mom navigated from the passenger seat. My seat was at the kitchen table. I spent many hours sitting at that table, drawing or reading or sleeping. When I wasn’t doing one of those things, I was reading road signs. My favorite road sign were the blue ones, telling what services were offered at the next offramp, gas, hotel, or my favorite, food. I would watch those signs all day in the hopes of seeing one restaurant sign: Dairy Queen. You see, my parents and I had a deal. They loved antique shops. We usually stopped at several on our trips. When I was a child, going to antique shops was the equivalent of watching paint dry. B-O-R-I-N-G. So we had an arrangement: if they stopped at an antique shop, I got a stop at Dairy Queen. It got so that when I saw that red oval-shaped symbol coming up on the highway I would scream at the top of my lungs, “DAIRY QUEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
I realized, after I started travelling with my husband as an adult, that not everyone reacts to this scream the way my parents did. (That is, they expected it. He didn’t. Oops.)
Dairy Queen offers lots of choices, but I always got the same thing. A Peanut Butter Crunch Blizzard. This was before all the Blizzards were devoted to candy. The only peanut butter kind you can get nowadays involve Butterfingers or Reese’s. Those aren’t the same. The Peanut Butter Crunch Blizzard had vanilla ice cream that was infused with a peanut butter sauce and little pieces of chocolate crunchies. The peanut butter sauce made the treat. It made it taste like peanut butter ice cream. I’ll never forget the day in high school I went in for one of my favorite treats ever and they no longer sold them. Dairy Queen just wasn’t the same after that. I was never really happy with what I got. (Until recently when I had one of their “pie” flavors. With chunks of crust in the Blizzard. Genious.)
Anyway, back to the point. When I first made this pie a few years ago, I tasted the peanut butter mixture before mixing it with the cool whip and I was instantly transported back in time. I was back in my parents’ RV road-tripping across America. The mixture tastes exactly like the peanut butter sauce they used in that long-ago Blizzard. I was beyond excited.
The pie is a Weight Watchers recipe. I have made my own crust because I’m not a huge fan of the store-bought graham cracker crusts. To keep it in the “points” range, I used less butter, so it is crumbly. Once it’s frozen though, it doesn’t matter. It’s very rich, which is probably why they say one pie serves 10, but who are we kidding? Who has a tiny sliver and doesn’t want more? Weight Watchers says the PointsPlus value is 8, but you’ll need to adjust that if you get less than 10 servings.
If you don’t like using low-fat or non-fat ingredients it’s not a problem. Just substitute regular items for the reduced-fat kinds. (I’ve marked the items you can sub-out with an asterisk in the recipe.) Low-fat or not, this pie is awesome. It’s creamy, rich, and just the right amount of sweet. If you remember the Peanut Butter Crunch Blizzard, this pie will take you back in time.
- 20 small (or 5 sheets) reduced-fat graham crackers
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- ½ cup reduced-fat peanut butter
- 4 tablespoons fat-free cream cheese
- 4 ounces Neufchatel cream cheese or low-fat cream cheese
- 12 ounces (1 can) fat-free sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 5 tablespoons mini chocolate chips, divided
- 1 cup Cool Whip Whipped Topping (Cool Whip Free)
**Non/Low Fat ingredients can be substituted with their regular, not reduced-fat equivalents. If you don’t like to use Cool Whip you can use real whipped cream, but the texture won’t be exactly the same.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Finely chop your graham crackers in a food processor. Place graham cracker crumbs in a large bowl and add the sugar and melted butter. Mix with a fork until combined. Press into a pie plate (9” diameter or less). Bake for 10 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely before filling.
- Using an electric mixer in a large bowl beat together the peanut butter and both types of cream cheese until smooth. Slowly beat in sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice. Fold in the Cool Whip and 4 tablespoons of the mini chocolate chips. Spoon mixture into cooled pie crust. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of mini chocolate chips over the top of the pie. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight. Warm a knife to help you slice the frozen pie.