Peanut Butter Pie

There is no greater combination than peanut butter and chocolate when it comes to dessert, so when I went to meet my boyfriend's family for the first time, I knew exactly what I had to make: peanut butter pie. And we're not talking PB pie like you get at a restaurant that's so dense it's almost cheesecake. And we're not talking one that's sprinkled with peanuts and drizzled with chocolate either. We're talking crunchy cookie crust; light, airy, and creamy peanut butter filling, and soft chocolate ganache.

Peanut Butter Pie

1 3/4 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
(I always use Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers)
3 TBS sugar
5 TBS melted, unsalted butter

Blend together and press into 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 for 10 min. Let cool.

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I'm a Skippy snob)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream

Beat cream cheese with peanut butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat until well combined. In chilled bowl with chilled beaters, beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Fold 1/4 into peanut butter mixture, then fold in the rest. Gently mound filling in crust and chill 4 hours or overnight.

1/2 cup heavy cream
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Bring cream to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips. Let cool 15-20 minutes. Pour over pie. Chill for 30 minutes.

I made a little whipped cream to go on the side, which isn't necessary, but it does help cut the richness of the cake if you don't make your cream too sweet. This pie was a crowd-pleaser, as it always is. My only regret was that I was too full from dinner to even have any. It's good that I was snitching some as I was making it, and licking the bowls, of course.


Roasted Pumpkin, Sage, And Goat Cheese Pasta

Pumpkin, shallots, and sage

I'd never roasted a pumpkin before. Today seemed as good a time as any to try. I've made squash; this couldn't be much different. Also, the recipe I wanted to try was in Everyday Food. I knew it had to be fairly simple because that's a magazine I turn to for straightforward but full-flavored recipes.

So I set out all my ingredients and got to work.

The pumpkin just stared at me dauntingly. I could almost hear it taunting... you think you're going to peel me? Turns out peeling was the easy part. Trying to cut off the top and bottom of the pumpkin was the difficult part. I sharpened my 8-inch Wusthof chef's knife, but it barely seemed a match for the pumpkin's tough flesh. Out came my bread knife. I thought maybe I could saw the top off. At any rate, after a combination of the two, the task was finally accomplished.

Pumpkin with stem cut off

Next up: peeling. My roommate has this really nice handheld peeler -- the whole thing sits in the palm of your hand and you just put one finger through a loop on the outside -- that was perfect for the task.

Peeled pumpkin

The rest of the recipe is beyond simple. Cut the pumpkin into chunks; peel and quarter some shallots; toss pumpkin and shallots with sage, salt and pepper, and oil; and pop it all in the oven.

Pumpkin, shallots, and sage

While that was roasting, I cooked the pasta and mixed it with some of the pasta water, goat cheese, and butter.

Pasta with goat cheese

And then once the pumpkin mixture was roasted and the pumpkin chunks nice and tender, I took it out of the oven and mixed it up with the pasta.

Roasted pumpkin, shallots, and sage
Roasted pumpkin, shallots, and sage

It was the perfect fall meal.

Pasta with goat cheese, roasted pumpkin, shallots, and sage

And because I had started with a whole pumpkin, I had a whole bunch of pumpkin seeds that could not possibly go to waste. I roasted those as well with a little water and some salt. Something else for me to snack on all day long!