My Peanut Butter Mousse Pie is made with a crunchy graham cracker-peanut crust filled with light and luscious peanut butter mousse. You can add optional jelly or chocolate for another layer of flavor. Me, I’m partial to hot-pepper jelly for a sweet-heat treat.
Because we can’t have too many pies in the world, and because we can’t have too many peanut butter desserts, I give you Peanut Butter Mousse Pie!
Although you might think of mousse as a fancy or fussy dessert, once you understand the basic concept of it you’ll realize it’s quite simple. Really, it is.
There are a few keys to making a good mousse. First, you’ve got to decide what to use for the base. The base should be thick and highly flavored. The base needs to have a strong flavor because you will be folding in whipped cream and/or whipped eggs whites. The whipped ingredients will lighten the texture, but will also dilute the flavor.
For the peanut butter mousse I guess I could have started with straight peanut butter. But I wanted a rich and silky base. I enhanced the peanut butter with whipped egg yolks, sugar and vanilla.
When I’m making mousse I always fold-in whipped cream because it’s both rich & light. If I’m going for an even airier (is that even a word??) mousse I will also fold in whipped egg whites. Because the peanut butter base was already lightened with the whipped yolks, whipped cream was all I needed to make a great pie filling.
Once you’ve made the mousse you’ve got to figure out how to stabilize it. You can whip-up a beautiful, airy mousse, but you’ve got to stabilize it so it doesn’t deflate or ooze on the plate when you serve it.
If I’m not freezing the mousse, or using chocolate, I employ just a little gelatin powder as a stabilizer. With a minimal amount of gelatin, the peanut butter mousse holds it’s shape when the pie is sliced, but is still soft and creamy. You do need to be judicious when using gelatin. The last thing we want is rubbery mousse.
I spread a layer of hot pepper jelly under the peanut butter mousse because I just adore the flavor combination. But this is a very adaptable recipe.
Not a fan of the hot stuff? Use your favorite grape or strawberry jelly for a more traditional PB&J flavor combination. Are Reese’s Peanut Butter cups more to your taste? Instead of jelly use melted chocolate or Dark Chocolate Ganache under the mousse. If you’re a purist, skip the jelly and chocolate and go for the full peanut butter flavor without any other distractions.
Helpful Hints for making Peanut Butter Mousse Pie:
- It’s not absolutely necessary to bake the crust, but I like the toasted flavor and crunchy texture from a few minutes in the oven.
Baking also melts the sugar so the crust holds together better.
- The crust may puff up a bit in the oven. While it’s still warm, tamp it back into place and close any gaps that open up.
- Ribbon the yolks to create a light base for the mousse. (Watch the recipe video to see how to “ribbon” the yolks.)
- “Liason” the gelatin. Whisk a little of the mousse into the warm gelatin. This brings the gelatin closer to the temperature and texture of the base. Then whisk the gelatin mixture back into the base.
- Allow the mousse to chill several hours or overnight to set the gelatin before finishing and serving the pie.
- To work ahead, fill the crust with the mousse up to two days ahead. Once the mousse is set cover the pie with a sheet of plastic wrap to keep the surface from drying out. Add the whipped cream and nut topping the day you’re serving the pie.
- When serving the pie, wipe the knife with a wet cloth between cuts for a clean slice.
- If the crust is sticking to the pan, run the tip of a small spatula or knife between the crust and the pan to separate them.
Watch the recipe video to see how to make Peanut Butter Mousse Pie.
Graham Cracker/Peanut Crust
- 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (5 oz, 140g)
- 1/2 cup (2.5 oz, 70g) honey roasted peanuts, ground in a food processor
- 1/4 cup (2 oz, 56g) granulated sugar
- 3 oz (6 tablespoons, 85g) butter, melted
Peanut Butter Mousse
- 1/4 cup (2 oz, 60ml) cool water
- 2 teaspoons gelatin powder
- 2 cups (16 oz, 500 ml) heavy cream
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 115 g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (14 oz, 392g) creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup jelly of your choice or 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (both are optional, see note)
- 1 1/5 cups (12 oz, 350ml) heavy cream
- 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (1.25 oz, 45g) honey-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Combine the cracker crumbs with the ground peanuts and the sugar. Sprinkle the melted butter over the crumbs and toss to combine. Press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of a pie plate. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Take the pan out of the oven and press down any puffy spots and press to close any gaps in the crust. If using chocolate, sprinkle the chopped chocolate onto the warm crust and let it melt. Spread the chocolate. Cool to room temperature. If using the jelly instead of chocolate, spread it onto the cooled crust. Chill in the refrigerator until you're ready to assemble the pie.
Make the Mousse
- Place the cool water into a microwave safe bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water, whisk briefly to combine and set aside to bloom.
- Whip the cream to soft peak and set in the refrigerator while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Combine the yolks and sugar in a mixer bowl. Add the vanilla bean or extract.
- Set the bowl with the yolks over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water). Whisk until the mixture is warm to the touch. Move the bowl to the mixer (or use a hand mixer) and whisk until the yolks are completely cooled and have lightened in color and texture.
- Whisk 1/3 of the peanut butter into the yolk mixture until smooth. Add the remaining peanut butter in two batches. Whisk 1/2 the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture. Whisk in the remaining cream until it's about 1/2 way incorporated.
- Heat the bloomed gelatin in the microwave in 10 second increments until it's hot to the touch (just 20 seconds in my microwave). Working quickly, add a cup of the mousse to the warmed gelatin
- Whisk immediately until completely combined. Pour the gelatin mixture back into the mousse. Immediately whisk until the mousse is smooth and the gelatin is evenly incorporated.
- Pour the peanut butter mousse into the chilled crust. Spread to an even layer.Refrigerate at least 2-3 hours to set the mousse.
- Whip the cream to full peak with the sugar and vanilla. Pipe or spread the cream onto the filling, sprinkle the chopped nuts over the cream.
- Serve chilled.
If you want another layer of flavor you can add a layer of jelly or you can coat the crust with a layer of chocolate. You can use grape jelly for a traditional pb&j flavor, or use hot pepper jelly for a zesty flavor.