My earliest memory of eating a PB&J is when I was about 5 years old.
My family lived in New Mexico and my mom would take me to half-day Kindergarten in the morning, pick me up around noon and promptly make me a diagonal-cut PB&J once we got home.
I would eat my sandwich hovering over a towel “place mat” on the floor in front of the television, eyes glued on “Woody the Woodpecker,” slurping down milk between oversized bites.
Life was good back then. Mom planned everything, fed me when I was hungry, made my bed. Activities included cartoons, Nintendo and riding bikes. But life wasn’t “rich” then like it is now, filled with so many amazing people and experiences, which is why I’m OK accepting adulthood with open arms.
Maybe eating a PB&J today as an “adult” is some silly attempt to hang onto the simplicity of my childhood – a time when life seemed easy and Nintendo was king.
I think life can still be simple now, we just have to be intentional about it. And it doesn’t hurt to eat a PB&J (pie) once in a while just to keep things in perspective; to stay humble.
Somehow the combination of peanut butter and jelly does that for me. It takes me right back to 5-year-old Dana, even if just for a lunch hour.
When setting out to make this recipe, I actually wanted to make a “PB&J Dip,” which you could still totally do if you wanted to go crustless. But the minute I saw the way coconut whipped cream reacted to date “caramel,” I knew a pie was in order.
You guys? This filling? It’s amazing.
Coconut whipped cream is already delicious on its own. But when you (naturally) sweeten it with date paste and throw in some peanut butter, things get CRAY. It becomes the thickest, fluffiest most ridiculous pie filling you ever laid eyes on.
Don’t you worry. I have other ideas for this combo up my sleeve. And I LOVE that it’s entirely refined sugar-, dairy- and gluten-free! Amazing stuff going on over here.
So the pie. Assembly goes as following:
1. Bake 2-ingredient crust (the only baking involved)
2. Make strawberry compote and cool.
3. Whip coconut cream.
4. Add peanut butter and date paste.
5. Whip once more.
6. Add pie filling to crust and top with cooled compote.
7. Chill. Eat. Start living your life.
Capiche? Capiche. Let the party begin.
This pie is ridiculous. Hands down one of my favorite recipes to date. It’s
Loaded with flavor
Sealed with a graham cracker crust
Is there anything NOT to love about this pie? I think not. Plus, it can be even further simplified by omitting the crust and making it a dip instead.
Serving bowl, fluffy peanut butter layer, strawberry jam, served with graham crackers, cookies and fruit. Hello, dip genie who suddenly has 15 friends lined up at your door for seconds.
More like hello poopularity. Yes, ‘poopularity.’
You guys MUST make this pie. You will flip over how good it is. And if you do, share it with the world by tagging #minimalistbaker on Instagram. I’d love to see you relive the PB&J of your youth in pie form. Chee-ers!
- 1 sleeve Nabisco Original Graham Crackers* (or other vegan-friendly cracker/cookie)
- 3 Tbsp melted vegan butter (I like Earth Balance) or melted coconut oil
- 1 pound (~3 cups) fresh or frozen strawberries (or sub another berry of choice)
- optional: 2 Tbsp orange juice (for sweetening)
- optional: 1 tsp chia seeds (for thickening)
- 1 cup pitted dates (if they’re not sticky and moist, soak in warm water for 10 minutes then drain)
- 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 2 14-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk (or coconut cream*), refrigerated overnight
- 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp salted, natural creamy peanut butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and place a large mixing bowl in the freezer (for peanut butter mousse filling).
- Add graham crackers to food processor and process until a fine meal is achieved. Then add melted butter or oil and mix to combine. Transfer to pie dish (or an 8x8 square glass dish) and press evenly into a crust (use plastic wrap to help get it flat if you’re having trouble. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Then set aside to cool.
- Prepare compote in a saucepan by cooking strawberries and orange juice (optional) over medium heat until very bubbly. Then reduce heat to low and continue simmering to thicken. Use a wooden spoon to smash the fruit. Turn off heat, add chia seeds (optional), and stir. Chill in the fridge.
- Add dates to the food processor and process until small bits remain or a ball forms. Then add a touch of coconut oil and a little warm water. Process until a thick paste forms. Add a pinch of salt for flavor balance if desired. Set aside.
- Being careful not to tip the cans, remove coconut milk from the fridge and carefully scoop the thickened cream into your chilled mixing bowl, leaving any runny, clear liquid in the can.
- Beat with a mixer until fluffy and peaks form. Then add peanut butter and date paste a little at a time until desired flavor is achieved. I went with ~1/2 cup peanut butter and nearly all of the date paste. Transfer filling to crust, spread into an even layer, and chill for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
- At this point you can either slice the pie and then serve with desired amount of chilled compote, OR spread all of the compote over the pie just before serving.
- Pie will keep in the fridge for up to a few days. Freeze after that and serve as an “icebox” pie (thaw for 15-20 minutes before serving).
*I used coconut cream from Trader Joe's, but you can also just use full-fat coconut milk. Just scrape off the top thickened layer and leave the clear liquid behind.
*Peanut Butter Mousse adapted from this recipe.
*Compote adapted from this recipe.
*PREP TIME does not include time for chilling coconut milk.
*Find coconut whipped cream recipe