Peanut Butter Pie Courtesy of ’50 Things to Bake’

When I opened my review copy of “50 Things to Bake Before You Die” by Allyson Reedy (Ulysses Press, $24.95), I was immediately overwhelmed with the aroma of fresh ink. It was so strong that I had to put the book away.

A few weeks later, I opened it again. It still smelled strongly of ink, but it had softened enough that I could read it without holding my breath. And once I did – I started reading, that is – I started salivating.

This book lives up to its (very long) subtitle: “The world’s best cakes, pies, brownies, cookies and more from your favorite bakers, including Christina Tosi, Joanne Chang and Dominique Ansel.”

It was a pleasant surprise to see Kat Gordon (Muddy’s Bake Shop in Memphis) and Kelli Marks of Central Arkansas among the 50 bakers featured in the book. And no, it’s not one of those books that features someone from every state. Other household names (to me) were Daniel Boulud, Tieghan Gerard (“Half Baked Harvest”), Erin Jeanne McDowell (“The Book on Pie”) and Ashley Manila (Baker by Nature). This is quite the impressive range of bakers.

Each recipe is accompanied by one or more gorgeous photographs, and each is written – even the most complicated multi-step ones – in an accessible style that encourages even novice bakers to try these recipes. Those in the complicated category include Courtney Rich’s Ultimate S’Mores Cake – a nine-layer “beauty” featuring graham crackers, chocolate cake, marshmallow filling, chocolate ganache, chocolate buttercream and torch-toasted marshmallow fluff – and Christina Tosi’s Layered Birthday Cake, a colorful concoction of rainbow-dusted cake layers dipped in vanilla-flavored milk and frosted with chocolate cream. butter topped with clusters of cake crumbs. At the simple end, there’s Stephanie Hart’s Pound Cake and Tessa Arias’ chewy one-bowl brownies, which Marks tells me she’s “completely obsessed with.”

Marks’ recipe for Peanut Butter Pie falls between the complicated and the simple. Here’s what Reedy wrote about Marks’ pie:

“It’s not just a dessert, it’s a mood. A peanut butter pie mood. A salty, sweet, creamy, bitter, rich mood that transcends calories and mascarpone and becomes a state unto itself. Because that’s what happens when peanut butter filling meets cocoa cookie crust – consciences are cracked and the days are done.”

You will definitely make someone happy if you bake this pie for them.

For more treats from Kelli Marks, her cookbook “Easy One-Bowl Baking: No Fuss Recipes for Sweet and Savory Baked Goods” (Rockridge Press, $12.99) came out last summer and is available in print editions. and digital.


Makes: 1 pie


½ cup unsalted butter, softened

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup Dutch cocoa

¼ tsp salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour


¼ cup heavy whipped cream

1/3 cup dark chocolate

For the filling:

2 cups heavy whipped cream

8 ounces of mascarpone

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ cups icing sugar

Chopped peanut butter cups, for garnish (optional)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine butter, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking powder. Mix with a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Scrape down sides of bowl and add egg; mix until smooth. Add the flour twice.

Once combined, press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch pie plate. (If you only have a 9-inch pie plate, don’t use all of the batter; it will be too thick. Use only the amount needed to cover a ¼-inch thickness on the bottom and sides .) Cook for 20 minutes. The sides will be puffy and the bottom will no longer appear shiny. Use a measuring cup to gently press the bottom and sides down. Reserve the crust and let cool.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine ¼ cup heavy cream and dark chocolate and heat for 30 seconds until completely melted. Pour into the bottom of the cooled crust.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, whip the 2 cups heavy cream to stiff peaks. Put aside. (Transfer whipped cream to a separate bowl, if using a stand mixer.)

Still using your stand mixer or hand mixer, in a separate bowl, combine the mascarpone, peanut butter, salt and vanilla and whisk until fluffy. Add the icing sugar, in thirds, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Fold in the reserved whipped cream by hand.

Spoon filling into cooled crust and top with chopped peanut butter cups, if desired. Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

Recipe adapted from “50 Things to Cook Before You Die” by Allyson Reedy

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