EVERETT — It’s a slice of pure peanut butter bliss.
And a whopper at that, weighing in at three-quarters of a pound.
Peanut butter pie has been fulfilling diners for 31 years at Buck’s American Cafe, 2901 Hewitt Ave. in Everett.
The confection is handmade, two pies at a time, and poured into premade chocolate crusts.
“I can rock it out in 15 minutes,” Buck’s owner and head chef James Abbott said.
He showed us how. Sure enough, he rocked out two pies, while talking, in 15 minutes.
“Whipping the whipped cream is actually the longest part of it,” Abbott said. “We found the 40 percent-and-up heavy whipped cream works much better than even a 38 percent. You get so much more lift to it.”
Abbott, 45, started making the pies in 1997 when he was hired as a chef at Buck’s, where his mom worked as a server. The cafe is inside the historic Swalwell building that originally housed one of the city’s first banks and later a haberdashery, speakeasy and Pines Tavern. The interior has a long wooden bar and brick walls with big mounted animal heads with antlers.
The taxidermied bucks came with the place, as did the pie recipe, when Abbott and his wife, Anne, took over ownership in 2014. She’s the bookkeeper, hostess, server and supply picker-upper. His mom, Marie, still works there as a server.
“I modified the recipe a little bit,” Abbott said. “I added a little more heavy cream for the whipped cream to have more height, for a more impressive look to it.”
He’s learned a few pie tricks: “Whip it up to stiff peaks. If it’s a little limp, it’s not going to stick up and set as nice. One of the keys is keeping it cold and doing it quick.”
Abbott said the end result has to be perfect.
“We’ve got a lot of competition. We’re a small place,” he said. “It has to be made with love and that little bit of extra effort in everything we do.”
If there’s leftover peanut butter goodness, the beneficiaries are the couple’s two daughters, Virginia, 10, and Rowan, 13.
Each pie is cut into six jumbo pieces. “Usually two people will split a slice,” his wife said.
Whole pies are sold so people can take one home.
“You can get about 15 servings if you cut it down and slice it for groups,” Abbott said.
The mixture fills more than pie shells.
“There are lots of applications,” he said. “We’ve done it as a mousse or a build-up for peanut butter parfaits in a tulip glass. Layer peanuts, chocolate and chocolate chips.”
The couple mix it up for good causes, such as the Holiday Tour by Assistance League of Everett, which has a chef in the kitchen of the tour homes. At last year’s event, they dished out about 900 portions of the pie. This year, the Abbotts will be back in the kitchen at a home, serving up this or another specialty, on the tour that’s Dec. 4.
Other dessert options at Buck’s American Cafe include creme brulee, bourbon pecan pie and seasonal Key lime pie.
Despite the name, Buck’s is more than a cafe. It’s a full-service restaurant with dinner choices, such as prime rib, roast duck, oysters and salmon.
Daily blue plate specials are a tradition. Regulars plan their week around it.
Monday is Monte Cristo sandwich day. Tuesday, chicken fried steak. If it’s Wednesday, it must be meatloaf. On Thursday, turkey breast is the treat. Pot roast is the Friday jackpot.
Any day is a good day for peanut butter pie.
Buck’s peanut butter pie
2 9-inch chocolate pie shells
5 cups heavy whipping cream
1½ cups sugar
1 pound cream cheese
3 cups peanut butter
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups chopped peanuts
Whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over whip. Keep in cool place until needed.
Cream the sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Add peanut butter, vanilla and butter; mix until incorporated. Fold the whipped cream into mixture.
Divide between 2 pie shells. Cover with chopped nuts.
Refrigerate 2 hours to overnight. Serve slices topped with whipped cream and drizzle with chocolate syrup.
Buck’s American Cafe
2901 Hewitt Ave., Everett; 425-258-1351; www.bucksamericancafe.com