How the Peanut Pie Became a Southern Treasure

The peanut pie is just as classic as a pecan pie.

Mary Allen Perry
Maple Peanut Pie
Alison Miksch

Before the salted caramel craze, there was the peanut pie. Some say it’s simply a poor man’s version of pecan pie. Others say its salty-sweet punch was inspired by the flavor explosion of a now-vanishing gas station treat created by pouring a five-cent packet of salted peanuts into a bottle of ice-cold Coke. Either way, we say it’s a crackerjack pie. It’s at its finest made with roasted, meaty Virginia peanuts, the super-size Cadillac of peanuts grown in the sandy soil of Tidewater Virginia and North Carolina. The near century-old Virginia Diner, located a stone’s throw from the country’s first commercial peanut farm in Wakefield, serves up a swoon-worthy peanut pie topped with a tender peanut-brittle-like veneer. For our 50th Anniversay the we came up with an equally noteworthy twist. The Maple Peanut Pie enriches the classic filling with peanut butter and replaces the typical Karo with maple syrup tapped from trees in Monterey County, Virginia (a trio of cities known as Virginia’s Switzerland). Be forewarned: even made with Vermont maple syrup, it’s totally addictive.

For more of our favorite pies, check out our Dazzling Thanksgiving Pies.