This Porter Peanut Pie combines two ingredients that pair well—beer and peanuts—transforming them into a dessert you’ll make for every occasion. If you enjoy classic nut pies like pecan pie, then peanut pie will not disappoint.
Porter, a style of beer with hints of chocolate, toffee, and coffee, enhances the flavors of the buttery crust, rich brown sugar, vanilla, and toasted nuts. I soak some of the peanuts in the beer to soften and infuse them with flavor. It creates a contrast to the crunchy, unsoaked peanuts added directly into the filling.
Make this Porter Peanut Pie when you need something unpredictable to serve to dinner guests or bring along to a picnic. It’s also a creative last course for a meal with a beer pairing. Serve it as is or pair it with a porter or stout like the one used in the pie. To put it over the top, add a scoop of peanut butter, porter, or stout ice cream.
Where Did Peanut Pie Originate?
I was introduced to peanut pie through Ken Haedrich’s cookbook, “Pie: 300 Tried-and-True Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pie.”
He writes about Virginia Diner, a restaurant founded in 1929 in Wakefield, Virginia and their World Famous Peanut Pie. While the origin of the peanut pie may not be clear, Virginia Diner’s peanut pie has served as a version from which many variations have been created, including this Porter Peanut Pie.
What Does Porter Peanut Pie Taste Like?
The texture and flavor of peanuts are unmistakable. They are toasty and salty with a slightly tender crunch in each bite. The filling is thick, smooth, and sweet with notes of malt and bitterness from the beer. All of this is made even better with the tender, flaky crust beneath.
The Perfect Peanut for Pie
Although any kind of peanuts can be used, Virginia peanuts are best. They are larger than your average cocktail peanuts, which gives the pie more texture.
This style of peanut is often found in stores roasted and salted, giving the pie more flavor. The skins are removed during processing, so they don’t add any unwanted bitterness. Virginia peanuts can be found online if your local grocery store doesn’t carry them. I found them to be most affordable at Costco.
If you can’t find Virginia peanuts, use ones that are skinned, roasted, and salted because they taste nuttier.
A Note About Beer
Some porters are infused with chocolate and vanilla—those would work fine. Stout, brown ale, or cream ale can be used if porter is not available. It’s okay to use a previously chilled beer because the filling will be heated.
As a rule, always pour the beer into a measuring cup and let the foam settle, double-check the measurement, and add or remove beer as needed.
If using beer in desserts is unfamiliar to you, note that the flavor of beer will be apparent. This may not be the recipe for you if you dislike beer. In that case, swap beer for bourbon. Skip the step of soaking the peanuts and use one to two ounces of bourbon in the filling.
Making Porter Peanut Pie Ahead of Time
I recommend serving this pie the same day it is made. The malt in the beer turns bitter and heavy after day one. This isn’t the kind of pie you make ahead. Cool the pie completely before serving. Keep leftovers on the counter tightly covered.
More Southern Classic Pies
Porter Peanut Pie
Use a 9-inch pie pan that is about 2 inches deep. It’s fine if it’s a little deeper. The outer rim of the crust may fold inward a little as it bakes, but this won’t affect the quality of the pie.
- 1 All Butter Pie Crust or store bought
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) porter, divided
- 2 cups (270 grams) roasted and salted Virginia peanuts, divided
- 1 cup (160 grams) packed dark brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
Make the pie dough:
If making the dough from scratch start that first. Keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to roll it out later in the recipe.
Soak the peanuts:
Pour 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of porter into a measuring cup. Let it sit for a few minutes until the foam subsides then double check the measurement again. Add the porter and 1/2 cup peanuts in a medium bowl. Let it soak on the counter for 30 minutes.
Make the sugar and butter mixture for the filling:
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, add the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and the remaining 2 ounces of porter. Stir often, until the butter and brown sugar are melted, 5 minutes.
Be careful not to let it come to a boil. The heat should only warm and melt the ingredients. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Let it cool until just barely warm, 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Prepare the pie crust:
Dust your countertop lightly with flour. Use a rolling pin to roll the pie dough into a 12-inch circle. Lightly fold the dough in half over itself without pressing it down. Fold it in half again—you’ll end up with what looks like a quartered circle. Carefully transfer it to a 9-inch pie pan.
Gently unfold the dough and press it down to fit the pan. Fold any excess dough on the rim, and crimp the outer edges with your index fingers and thumb.
Finish making the filling:
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the cooled sugar and butter mixture. Drain the soaked peanuts and stir them in with the remaining 1 1/2 cups peanuts. Discard the soaking porter.
Fill the pie crust:
Pour the pie filling into the crust. Gently arrange the peanuts so that they are distributed evenly across the top of the pie.
Bake and cool the pie:
Bake the pie for 50 to 55 minutes, until the top is dark golden-brown, and the center no longer jiggles when you move the pan. Rest the pie on a cooling rack until cooled completely, at least one hour, before slicing to serve.