Posted by: Erica Retrochef | November 26, 2012

Peanut Butter Chiffon Pie

As winter takes serious hold and the days are short and gray, it’s a good time to start thinking of comfort foods. And this week, I really wanted a good pie.

It’s made with peanut butter! It’s grand! (But is it edible?)


1 envelope Knox Gelatine
1 cup cold water
2 egg yolks, well beaten
1/4 cup sugar or light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 baked pie shell

Soften gelatine in 1/4 cup water. Combine egg yolks, 1/2 of the sugar or corn syrup, 1/4 cup water, and salt in top of double boiler; blend. Add gelatine. Place over boiling water, beat constantly with rotary beater until thick and fluffy. Cool. Place peanut butter in a bowl, add remaining water gradually, beat until smooth. Add egg mixture and vanilla; blend with beater. Chill until slightly thickened. Beat egg whites until foamy; add remaining sugar or corn syrup gradually, beating until stiff. Fold into peanut butter mixture. Turn into baked pie shell (or crumb crust); chill until firm. If desired, just before serving, top with chopped nuts, sweetened whipped cream or whipped evaporated milk.

Gelatin and I are long-standing frenemies. You can do really cool stuff with it, but you can do really disgusting stuff with it, too.

In one of my freshman year chemistry classes, the professor held up a really cool gel and described how this innovation had helped to make diapers much less bulky. Ever since then, I can’t look at bloomed gelatin without thinking “absorbent diaper filling.”

It doesn’t look much better going into those cooking egg yolks, does it?

This is the part of a chiffon that I think I understand the least, and therefore am at most risk of messing up. I’m not entirely sure if I got it right this time, although it did thicken a bit.

And it looks ok getting mixed with the peanut butter…

Egg whites, however, I’ve completely mastered. Look at those nice, stiff peaks!

I might have left the peanut butter bit to solidify too long, because it wasn’t folding in with the egg whites easily.

Finally, though, it was combined and in a pie shell, it looked pretty lumpy. It also only filled up about half of the crust — pretty pitiful looking.

I added chocolate whipped “cream” on top. (This is an amazing recipe, incidentally, dairy-free for Lactose Intolerant Daughter and incredibly easy to whip up.)

I was hoping this would turn out something like a giant Reese’s peanut butter cup. Sadly, the chocolate topping was the only tasty part! The peanut butter filling was sweet, but not strongly peanuty, and so it ended up being quite bland and a bit strange. Chiffon isn’t really the best way to approach something that needs a strong flavor to work.

Coyote Craft shared this 1946 recipe that was in a McCall’s magazine.


  1. Hmm… yeah, I am sure that people make this successfully, but it’s never seemed like a likely combination to me. Peanut butter – so heavy and oily and rich. Chiffon – so not any of the above. And yet, somehow chocolate works…! Maybe half chocolate, half peanut butter would have made this edible?

    Winter is good for, if nothing else, pie experiments.

    • Maybe 100% chocolate, 0% peanut butter…! mmmm πŸ˜€

  2. I’m always kind of surprised at how many vintage recipes contain uncooked egg whites, yolks, or both. I know it’s not as big a problem as some people claim, but uncooked eggs just make me feel kind of squidgy.
    Sorry this turned out to be a waste of perfectly good peanut butter. You should get right back on that horse and make some peanut butter blossoms to even things out.

    • I always recommend pasteurized eggs (not cheap or in every grocery store, but not impossible to find) and/or washing the shells for recipes which call for raw eggs. Better safe than sorry πŸ™‚

  3. Hi Erica!

    Hope you and yours had a delicious Thanksgiving:)

    I’ve often wondered how these sorts of recipes would work out. Thanks for taking the plunge!!! And sharing…

    • We DID have a great Thanksgiving, and thanks for stopping by again πŸ˜€

  4. a real old fashioned recipe, all right…raw eggs, whipped whites folded in, plain gelatin – all so labor intensive! There’s a reason some recipes stay retro.

    • HA, good point! πŸ™‚

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