1¼ cups pretzel crumbs (from about 4½ cups pretzels)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, preferably the individually wrapped 1-ounce pieces for baking
½ cup creamy peanut butter, divided
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
For the crust: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Have a 9-inch pie plate at hand.
Place the crumbs in a mixing bowl. Pour the melted butter over them and stir until evenly coated. Spoon three-quarters of the mixture into the pie plate; press it against the sides to build a ¼-inch-thick wall all around. Spoon the remaining mixture into the center/bottom of the pie plate and press to form a solid bottom, making sure the bottom and sides are joined. Bake 5-7 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on a rack, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Keep oven on.
For the filling: Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water over medium heat.
Combine the butter, chocolate and ¼ cup of the peanut butter in a heatproof bowl that's wide enough to cover the saucepan. Set the bowl on the saucepan; once the ingredients have melted, stir until smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder. Cool.
Place the remaining ¼ cup of peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes; it will be a little runny. Remove from the heat.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a separate mixing bowl. Slowly add the cooled chocolate mixture, whisking until well incorporated.
Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl, then add to the chocolate batter; stir until smooth and well incorporated. Pour into the chilled pretzel pie shell, smoothing the surface. Drizzle or spoon the runny peanut butter into the filling; use a toothpick or round-edged knife to swirl or work it in. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted 2 inches from the edge of the crust comes out clean. Cool before serving.
Serves eight to 10 servings (makes one 9-inch pie).
Variation: Prepare, pre-bake and chill the crusts in four 5-inch pie tins. Divide the filling among the crusts; proceed with the recipe as directed. The filling mixture might sink a bit as it cools.
Nutrition values per serving (based on 10): 490 calories, 30 g fat (16 g saturated), 52 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 29 g sugar, 8 g protein, 85 mg cholesterol, 340 mg sodium.
Adapted from "Teeny's Tour of Pie: Mastering the Art of Pie in 67 Recipes" by Teeny Lamothe (Workman, 2014)