Before she moved to Durham to open her namesake market, restaurant, and bakery in 1990, Sara Foster grew up in a pie-loving household in Tennessee. Pies were always on the table during holidays and Sunday suppers. So naturally, Foster populated the menu at her market with Key lime and mixed berry, chocolate chess and bourbon pecan. Among the most popular is her friend Jen’s chocolate-peanut butter pie, a dessert that Foster calls “a peanut butter cup aficionado’s dream.” Today, those pies — and the homey atmosphere at Foster’s Market — are a long-running tradition in the Bull City.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings.
CRUST: 1 prebaked 9-inch Black Bottom Cookie Crust with ¼ cup ground peanuts (recipe below)
CHOCOLATE GANACHE LAYER: 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped ¾ cup heavy cream
PEANUT BUTTER LAYER: 6 ounces cream cheese, softened ¾ cup creamy peanut butter, softened ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 cups heavy cream
TOPPING: 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 cups whipped cream, reserved from the peanut butter layer ¼ cup toasted peanuts 2 tablespoons ganache, reserved from the ganache layer
For the chocolate ganache layer: Place the chocolate in a large bowl. Place the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate melts and the mixture is fully combined and smooth. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the ganache for the topping. Let the remaining ganache cool slightly, then pour it into the cookie crust and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, until firm.
For the peanut butter layer: Cream the cream cheese and peanut butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer or wooden spoon. Add the condensed milk and beat until thoroughly blended. Add the vanilla and stir to mix.
In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to whip the cream into soft peaks. Set aside half of the whipped cream for the topping and gently fold the remaining half into the peanut butter mixture. When the ganache is completely firm, spoon the peanut butter mixture on top of the chilled ganache, spread evenly, and refrigerate for about 1 hour, until firm. You can refrigerate the pie overnight or up to several days at this point.
For the topping: Fold the vanilla into the reserved whipped cream. Using a spatula or pastry bag, evenly spread or pipe the whipped cream over the pie and sprinkle with peanuts.
Gently reheat the reserved ganache in the microwave for about 10 seconds, until soft enough to pour. Cool slightly and drizzle the ganache over the pie. Chill until ready to serve.
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and stir to mix. Pour in the butter and stir to combine, moistening all the crumbs. Spread the mixture in a pie pan, evenly pressing it over the bottom and up the sides of the pan to create a crust. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until slightly firm. Remove from oven and let cool; crust will firm as it cools.