Do you live near a Dairy Queen? Lucky you! It’s one of the things I miss in our little town. Our DQ closed in 2009, but it was part of our community for many years. Countless times we were there with our son on hot summer evenings following baseball games, all the littles in line for their free ice cream-a thank you from their coach for winning a game I’m sure many didn’t even realize they’d won. Of course, the losing team was there, too, because nothing consoles like an ice cream cone, does it? My husband remembers this ritual from his own childhood: piling into the bed of a pickup truck after a winning game and driving to the DQ for the celebratory cone. Tired parents picked up bags of burgers on Friday evenings and pimply teenagers got their first jobs there.
My personal favorite at Dairy Queen has long been their Peanut Buster Parfait. Introduced in 1971, it’s nothing too complicated: layers of soft-serve ice cream, hot fudge, and peanuts. Redskin Spanish peanuts, specifically. Sweet, salty, chocolatey. Scrumpdillyishus, according to DQ. I would have to agree. Sadly, we have to drive to the next town east to enjoy our Dairy Queen fix now. I still get a Peanut Buster Parfait and split it with Mark. I could probably eat a whole one, but I don’t need to. I wondered if I could get my PBP fix at home, without having to purchase my own soft-serve machine. I did some experimenting and came up with an ice cream pie that satisfies my DQ longing when it just isn’t convenient to drop everything and drive to the next town.
When you read the directions you might think this is a complicated recipe. Actually, there’s nothing to cook, most of your time is down time while stuff freezes, and you’re pretty much just layering stuff on top of stuff. Read through the directions so you get an idea of what’s first, second, third, etc. and bear in mind that if you have to let it sit in the freezer longer than the time called for, at any stage, all is not lost. Just pick up where you left off, because sometimes the dog gets stuck under the fence. Or something.
The pie starts where most pies start, with a crust. This one has a basic graham cracker crust with the addition of some chopped peanuts. If you have a food processor, make it easy on yourself and throw in the peanuts about halfway through whirling your graham crackers. Put some fudge topping and peanuts (not chopped-the only place they need chopping is in the crust) in the crust and stick it in the freezer. Sometimes part of the crust can mix in with the fudge topping when you’re spreading it. I figured it didn’t really matter, so I just went with it. However, putting the fudge topping in a zipper baggie and squeezing it on (as you’ll have to do later) would eliminate that. I’ll let you make that life-altering choice. No difference in taste, by the way.
I’ve made several of these and I’ve learned the best way to get that second layer of fudge topping on is, as I mentioned above, by squeezing it out of a baggie. You cannot easily spread stuff on not-frozen-all-the-way ice cream. Just sayin’.
If you’re wondering why I mixed some whipped cream in with the ice cream: it’s to somewhat replicate soft serve texture. You can leave it out, although you’ll probably need just a teensy more ice cream, and your pie will be pretty hard (and kinda hard to cut). As it stands, the pie is fairly easy to cut right from the freezer (I give a suggestion on how to make it easier in the recipe) for an ice cream pie, but like soft-serve ice cream it will melt fairly quickly. I recommend you serve it immediately after removing it from the freezer. You’re going to want to sink into those layers of ice cream, fudge, and peanuts immediately anyway.
Time to put this pie together before its big, final freeze is about an hour and twenty minutes. Your actual hands-on time: about twenty minutes. Ice cream pies involve a lot of “pour it in, let it freeze, come back to it later” steps, and as I mentioned above, you won’t ruin this if you get caught up doing something else and it freezes a little longer than the directions call for. This would make a terrific celebratory pie, possibly for a summer birthday or maybe a back-to-school celebration. I know I’m personally celebrating that I can have the delicious taste of a Peanut Buster Parfait (and exactly the amount I want-no sharing necessary) and I only have to go as far as my freezer.
Peanut Buster Ice Cream Pie
- 1 c. graham cracker crumbs
- ¼ c. butter, melted
- ¼ c. chopped peanuts (can be chopped in food processor along with graham crackers)
- 3 Tbs. sugar
- 2 pints vanilla ice cream
- 1 c. whipping cream
- 2 Tbs. powdered sugar
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- 2 11.75 oz. jars hot fudge ice cream topping
- ½ c. redskin Spanish peanuts, divided use
- Sprinkles and/or peanuts for topping, if desired
- Step 1 Spray a 9-inch pie pan with non-stick spray.
- Step 2 In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, chopped peanuts, and sugar. Press over bottom and sides of pie pan.
- Step 3 Microwave one jar of fudge topping 25-30 seconds, until it’s warm enough to spread. Gently spread 2/3 of the jar (eye-ball it-doesn’t have to be exact) over the crust, and immediately sprinkle with ¼ c. peanuts. (Alternately, place the fudge topping in a zipper baggie, snip off one corner, and squeeze it evenly over the crust. Sprinkle with peanuts.) Freeze 15 minutes. Store remaining fudge topping in refrigerator.
- Step 4 While the crust is in the freezer, set out one pint of ice cream to soften.
- Step 5 With an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream until thickened. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and whip until stiff. Measure out ¼ cup of whipped cream and put it in a medium bowl. Refrigerate the remaining whipped cream.
- Step 6 Add the softened ice cream to the ¼ cup whipped cream, and stir until smooth.
- Step 7 Remove the crust from the freezer and spread the softened ice cream/whipped cream mixture over the fudge and peanuts. Return to freezer for 30 minutes.
- Step 8 Open the other jar of fudge topping and microwave about 15 seconds-just enough to get it out of the jar. Put 2/3 of the topping (again, you don’t have to be exact) in a zipper sandwich baggie. If the topping feels pretty warm, put the baggie in the refrigerator for a few minutes. It should be pliable enough to squeeze out of the bag, but not warm enough to melt ice cream.
- Step 9 Remove the pie pan from the freezer. Snip off one corner (about a half inch wide) of the baggie of fudge and, working quickly, squeeze it in circles (see photo) on the ice cream in the pie pan. Immediately sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup peanuts and return to freezer for 15 minutes. Store remaining fudge topping in refrigerator.
- Step 10 While pie is in the freezer, remover second pint of ice cream from freezer to soften.
- Step 11 In a medium bowl, mix together softened ice cream and ¼ cup of the remaining whipped cream until smooth.
- Step 12 Remove the pie from the freezer and spread the ice cream/whipped cream mixture evenly on top.
- Step 13 Freeze a minimum of 5 hours. Use a sharp knife, which has been dipped in hot water and wiped dry, for easy cutting.
- Step 14 Use remaining whipped cream and fudge topping to garnish ice cream pie. Top with colored sprinkles and peanuts, if desired.
- Step 15 Store pie in freezer.