Ladies and gentlemen, for your 2013 holiday snacking pleasure, I present the maple buttermilk peanut pie. Taking its cue from the cherpumple—a Frankensteinian dessert that combines cherry, pumpkin, and apple pies inside three layers of cake—and the Southern stack pie, this combo pie brings together two distinguished dessert traditions from two parts of the North American continent. And much like the two protagonists with opposite personalities who are always forced to team up in buddy movies, this duo makes a damn fine pair when thrown together.
The bottom layer pays homage to the South in a thick slab of peanut pie. Like pecan pie, this coastal dessert mixes nuts in a sweet blend of sugar, eggs, and butter. As the pie bakes, the sugary filling thickens and the salty peanuts rise to the top in a crunchy caramelized mass. For my pie, instead of Southern sorghum to sweeten the filling, I snuck in maple syrup for seasonal flavor (and also because you simply cannot go wrong with maple syrup. It cures all ills.)
But wait—there’s more! Baked on top of the peanut filling is a moist buttermilk cake blended with more maple syrup, a version of the French-Canadian pouding chomeur, or “poor man’s pudding.” While the batter is typically dolloped, dumpling-style, into a pan containing rich caramel or maple sauce, I decided to let the sweet-and-salty peanut layer serve in its stead here.
Make no mistake—with a homemade crust and two separate layers of filling, this is not a pie that comes together quickly. And with a decidedly earthy cream-and-brown color scheme, it’s not going to help you enliven the table with fruity pops of red. However, it is a dessert that has no problem being made in advance and waiting in the wings for its moment of glorious unveiling. (And if it’s not appropriate to go a little bit over the top for a holiday feast, then I’m not sure when it ever would be.)
Besides, if there’s one thing everyone can agree on—Southerners, Yankees, French Canadians, and any other ex-pat or transplant who ends up at your buffet this season—it’s that no one can resist a slice of pie. Dig in.
Maple Buttermilk Peanut Pie
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours plus cooling time
Makes 1 9-inch deep dish pie
Peanut Pie Filling
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (5 1/2 oz.) Lyle’s golden syrup or dark corn syrup
- 1/2 cup (5 oz.) Grade B maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons (2 oz.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz.) roasted and salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Maple Buttermilk Cake Layer
- 1 cup (4 1/4 oz.) unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg or ground allspice
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon Grade B maple syrup
- 8 tablespoons (4 oz.; 1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz.) granulated sugar
Blind-bake the crust:
Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Place the rolled pie crust in the pan and prick a few holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork to create air vents.
Chill the pie crust for 15 minutes, then loosely cover the crust with a layer of foil and fill with a layer of pie weights or dried beans.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the crust is no longer shiny and raw in the center. Gently lift the foil packets with the weights or beans off the crust and cool on a wire rack. (If using beans, remember they’ll no longer be edible after using them to weigh down your pie crust, but once cool, they can be stored in the pantry and used indefinitely as pie weights.)
Reduce the oven to 375˚F.
While the crust blind-bakes, make the peanut filling:
Whisk the brown sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a small bowl.
Whisk the eggs, Lyle’s golden syrup, maple syrup, cooled melted butter, vinegar, and vanilla together in a large bowl.
Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then mix the peanuts into the filling.
Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and bake for 25 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350˚F.
While the peanut filling bakes, make the buttermilk cake batter:
Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg or allspice together in a small bowl.
Whisk the egg, egg yolk, buttermilk, and maple syrup together in a separate small bowl.
Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until the butter is pale and fluffy.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and pour 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the butter and sugar. Mix just until blended, then add 1/2 of the wet ingredients. Mix, then repeat with the remaining ingredients, finishing with the final third of the dry ingredients.
Remove the pie from the oven and very gently scoop the batter over the peanut pie filling in an even layer. The peanut pie will not be completely set, so liquid may seep over the edges of the batter as you carefully add it to the pan. Don’t worry, just go slow and steady.
Return the pie to the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour more, until the buttermilk cake layer is domed, golden-brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cover the edges of the pie with foil if the crust starts to brown too deeply before the cake layer is completely cooked.
Allow the pie to cool completely before serving. The pie can also be baked up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated once completely cooled. Bring to room temperature before serving if you bake it in advance.