This Virginia Peanut Pie is similar to pecan pie…but with peanuts instead. This delicious sweet and salty dessert will have everyone asking for the recipe!
Animals are pretty resourceful creatures. Take cows for instance. Cows are ruminant animals, which means their digestive systems are able to extract nutrients from plant-based foods that ferment in a specialized stomach. As such, cattle have adapted to be able to eat all sorts of things that we have in excess. For the Northeast, that means excess chocolate from Hershey and other chocolate manufacturers.
Well, guess what? Humans do the same thing. (Heck, I’d gladly eat leftover chocolate from the Hershey plant!) Take a look at New England. Lobster shows up in all sorts of recipes in that area because the northern Atlantic is a key lobster producing area. Same with crawfish along the Gulf Coast. There are yearly crawfish boils, and then crawfish tails show up in everything from gumbo to etouffee to crawfish bread. These areas have excess lobster and crawfish…so lobster and crawfish appear in lots of recipes!
Did you know that there are 4 main types of peanuts? (To be fair, there are a lot of varieties of peanuts, but 4 varieties make up the vast majority of all peanuts sold in stores.) (1) Runners are grown in the southeast, and they are used largely for peanut butter. (2) Spanish are grown in Oklahoma and Texas, and they are used for peanut butter, snack peanuts and peanut candies – mmm, Peanut M&M’s! (3) Valencia are grown in New Mexico and the southwest, and they are often roasted and sold in-shell. And lastly, (4) Virginia are grown in Virginia and the Carolinas, and they are often sold as gourmet snack peanuts. Perhaps you’ve seen salted, Virginia peanuts in those food gift baskets that often show up around the holidays?
Virginia Peanut Pie
The point of that discussion was to say that Virginia produces a lot of peanuts. And when you have a lot of peanuts? Well, peanuts start to show up in a lot of recipes! Case in point? This Virginia Peanut Pie. Growing up in the Carolinas, I heard about peanut pie, but I can’t say I ever tried a slice. However, I’m making up for lost time now! Holy peanuts, Batman – Virginia Peanut Pie is delicious!
The first time I made this pie, it was back in the Spring during the coronavirus quarantine. For some reason, the quarantine made me want to bake…like every day. Sourdough bread, baguettes, cakes, cookies, pie. You name it, I made it. The weather can stay pretty chilly through most of April here in upstate New York, and there were a number of days when we couldn’t go outside to play. So instead I taught Robbie about baking!
As we added different ingredients to our recipes, Robbie wanted to try each thing. He liked the sugar and brown sugar. He didn’t so much like the baking soda. (Imagine that!) But it’s funny to listen to him talk about baking now. His 4-year-old brain was soaking up everything I was teaching him, and now he drops lines like, “The cake rose in the oven because of the baking powder.” What the what!?
Laura walked through the kitchen as we were prepping to make this Virginia Peanut Pie, and she was like what is that? I told her it was the state pie of Virginia. She just scoffed at me. She said the state pie of Virginia should be the Ukrop’s Chocolate Fudge Pie. Ukrop’s was a grocery store chain in Virginia, but they were bought out by Martin’s in 2010. They made an amazing chocolate fudge pie, and anyone who ever had a slice of that pie remembers it! Fortunately for us, Ukrop’s still operates a bakery brand, and their chocolate fudge pie remains a cult favorite. Several of these pies show up every year at Laura’s family reunion in Maryland.
I digress. Talking about chocolate fudge pies has that effect on me. Back to this Virginia Peanut Pie, Laura took one bite and immediately proclaimed, “Why do we make pecan pie at Thanksgiving!? We should make peanut pie instead!” She’s right. This peanut pie is essentially a pecan pie but with peanuts instead of pecans. And it’s delicious! I’ve always loved a good sweet + salty dessert, and this pie hits both of those categories. Without a doubt, this peanut pie has earned a permanent spot on my list of favorite desserts. If you’ve looking for a tasty dessert, I highly (highly!) recommend this one!
Did you make this Virginia Peanut Pie at home? Leave a comment, or better yet snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). Happy baking!
Virginia Peanut Pie
For the Dough
- 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter cold
- 2 Tbsp vodka see note
- 2-4 Tbsp cold water
For the Peanut Pie
- ¾ cup light corn syrup
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups roasted salted peanuts
For the Dough
- Using a food processor, add flour, brown sugar and salt; pulse until well combined.
- Cut butter into small cubes and add to the food processor; pulse until a crumbly mixture forms.
- Add vodka and 2 Tbsp of water; pulse until well combined. Continue adding water 1 Tbsp at a time (and pulsing) until dough comes together in a ball.
- Shape dough into a disc and wrap with plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (Note: Dough can be made the day before and refrigerated overnight.)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Working on a well-floured surface, roll pie dough into a 12” circle.
- Transfer pie dough into pan and gently press dough into pan; trim excess overhang so that you have ~½” of overhang on all sides. Tuck overhang under itself so that folded edge is level with the edge of pie plate.
- Use 2 fingers, crimp the edges of dough. Refrigerate dough for at least 15 minutes.
For the Peanut Pie
- Using a large mixing bowl, add corn syrup, brown sugar, eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract; stir until well combined.
- Spread peanuts out onto counter or large cutting board. Using a rolling pin, lightly crush ~⅔ of the peanuts. (Note: You want to crush the peanuts into large pieces here.)
- Add crushed peanuts and remaining whole peanuts to mixing bowl; stir until well combined.
- Transfer mixture into prepared pie pan.
- Bake at 350°F for 55-60 minutes, or until filling is set.
- Let pie cool at room temperature for at least 3 hours before slicing and serving.
Looking for other delicious pie recipes? Check out these other favorites, too: