Preheat oven to 200°F. Stir peanut butter and salt together in a large, heatproof bowl. Place bowl in preheated oven to keep warm.
Combine vanilla and baking soda in a small bowl and keep handy next to the stove.
Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once sugar has dissolved, attach a candy thermometer and cook until the syrup reaches 285°F.
Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla – the mixture will foam.
Carefully take peanut butter out of oven and fold in foaming syrup – fold together until the mixture is somewhat combined but there are still streaks of peanut butter throughout. The mixture will become quite stiff.
Working quickly while the mixture is still warm, divide among your silicon molds. Any molds will work, but I like these to be about 3/4″ to 1″ thick, so I don’t fill my molds all the way to the top. Any extra can be molded on parchment paper. The cooled bars don’t cut well, but you can break them up into shards which are just as tasty.
Let the butterfingers cool and harden for a couple hours or overnight. Remove from molds and dip in chocolate. Crispity crunchity.
Make Crust: Combine flour, salt, baking powder and powdered sugar in food processor. Cut butter and cream cheese into tablespoon-size pieces and add to flour. Pulse food processor until butter and cream cheese are incorporated but the mixture is still dry.
Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in vinegar and heavy cream with a fork. Turn out onto work surface and smear the dough with the heel of your hand until the dough sticks together and you can form it into a ball.
Roll out between pieces of wax paper until it is large enough to line a 9″ pie plate. Line pie plate with dough, crimp, and poke holes in the bottom with a fork. Cover with wax paper and freeze for at least an hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line frozen crust with parchment paper. Fill with pie weights, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool completely.
Make Filling: In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together sugar and lemon zest. Whisk in eggs. Whisk in lemon juice. Place over medium heat and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens – don’t neglect the edges of the pan. Continue cooking until one bubble pops at the surface, then immediately remove from heat and strain the mixture into a blender, discarding lemon zest and any bits of scrambled egg.
Let the mixture rest in the blender for 5 minutes. Cut the butter into tablespoons. Turn the blender on high and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. After all the butter has been added scrape down the blender and continue to blend for another minute until the mixture is smooth and thick. Refrigerate until completely cool, at least 4 hours.
Whisk together lemon filling to loosen. Fill baked and cooled pie shell with the cooled lemon filling. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the lemon filling and refrigerate until ready to serve. Make meringue and top pie as close to serving as you can manage.
Make Meringue: Fill a medium saucepan that will fit your mixer bowl in it without touching the bottom with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer.
Whisk together egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer. Fit your stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
Nest the mixer bowl over the simmering water and whisk the egg white and sugar mixture until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot to touch (test with your finger for temperature and for sugar granules) – about 5 minutes.
Transfer to stand mixer and mix on low until frothy. Increase speed to high and whip until light, cool and marshmallowy – about 7 minutes. Mix in vanilla extract. Immediately pipe or spread meringue on the chilled pie.
Preheat oven to 500°F.
Bake pie for 5 minutes, watching closely, to brown the meringue. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.
1 1/2 cups chopped dried fruit (apricots, figs, raisins, etc.)
1/2 cup candied cherries (morello, maraschino, etc.)
1 cup Brandy or Cognac
3/4 cup butter
8 oz. almond paste
2/3 cup sugar
1 TBSP brandy or cognac
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
Chop the dried fruit into small pieces- about the same size as your raisins. Halve the candied cherries. Place in a bowl and cover with Cognac or Brandy. Let sit overnight.
Drain the fruit and reserve 1 TBSP cognac/brandy.
Toast pecans in 350°F oven for 10 minutes. Let cool and chop coarsely.
Cream butter, almond paste and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add the tablespoon of brandy/cognac and mix. Scrape bowl and mix well.
Stir together flour, baking powder, cloves and salt. Add to the butter and mix until combined, scraping bowl if necessary. Add fruit and pecans and mix well.
Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a 15″ log and roll up in parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours and preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice the dough into 1/2″ slices using a sharp knife. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, about 2″ apart. Alternately, to get a more uniform cookie – you can do what Dorie Greenspan does and bake each round in the cup of a muffin tin.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until starting to brown around the edges.