Hot food: sweet American cream pie

Jill Dupleix
Perfect for Mother's Day: Peanut butter cream pie.
Perfect for Mother's Day: Peanut butter cream pie. Photo: Steven Siewert

What is it?

It's what Americans call cream pie, a possible descendant of the simple pies made by the early Quakers and the Amish families who settled in Indiana around 1850. With its crisp biscuit-crumb base and rich, creamy filling of anything from sweet potato and white chocolate to coconut and pecans, it is both amazingly delicious and borderline gross.

Where is it?

At Big Boy BBQ in Melbourne, where the sign reads ''Pie will never give you up or let you down'', there's a killer peanut butter and chocolate cream pie. ''I put it on the menu because it was a staple at every barbecue restaurant that I went to in the US,'' says owner Lance Rosen. ''We make chocolate biscuit for the crumb base, line it with Valrhona chocolate ganache and then fill with peanut butter cream. The key is not to go over the top with the cream and cover up the main flavourings.''

In Sydney, Sarah Martin and John Shawyer set up the Pie Tin cafe and bakery in Newtown to make and bake savoury pies, but sweet pies quickly grew to be one-third of their profit pie-chart. Of the cold-set (unbaked) pies, Oreo Cookie and Malteser are the big hits, popular even as ''wedding pies''. ''They're familiar flavours, but it really captures people's imaginations to see them in a pie,'' says Martin. After three years of testing and tasting, she says she has learnt what works. ''It doesn't have to be complicated to make a great pie, just use great ingredients.''

Why do I care?

Because it's a trillion zillion calories and you couldn't care less. And because it's nearly Mother's Day and you were wondering what to make for her.

Can I do it at home?

Yes, because at home you can lick the spoon, and the bowl. To date, they don't let you do that in restaurants.

Peanut butter and banana cream pie

Top with extra whipped cream, sliced bananas tossed in orange or lemon juice, crushed candied nuts or peanut brittle, and chocolate shavings or hot melted chocolate.

350g cream cheese

150g icing sugar

150g smooth peanut butter


3 bananas, peeled and chopped

1 tsp vanilla extract

300ml whipping cream, plus extra for serving


300g gingernut, Granita or Butternut Snap biscuits

115g butter, melted

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1. To make the crumb crust, break up the biscuits and whiz in a food processor until crumbled. Add melted butter, cocoa powder and a pinch of salt, and whiz until it clumps.

2. Tip into a buttered 20cm or 23cm cake tin with a removable base, and press firmly over the bottom and 2cm up the sides. Refrigerate while making the filling.

3. In a food processor, whiz the cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth. Add the peanut butter, bananas and vanilla and whiz until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat the cream until it forms peaks and fold through the mixture until just incorporated.

4. Pour the filling into the crust, smooth the top, and refrigerate overnight. Add extra whipped cream and toppings and serve.

Serves 8



The Pie Tin, 1a Brown Street, Newtown, 9519 7880,


Big Boy BBQ, 764 Glen Huntly Road, Caulfield South, 03 9523 7410 and shop 2, 27-31 Hardware Lane Melbourne, (03) 9670 9388,

Correction: The original version of this recipe listed the cream in grams. This has been changed to 300ml.