Did you know that in Australia we call Rice Krispie treats Chocolate Crackles? They’re actually pretty different – we don’t add marshmallow to ours for one thing, and they’re made with a kind of coconut oil which is sold in refrigerated blocks. But, like Rich Krispie Treats, ours were also created by the cereal company as a marketing ploy, and they have always been a non-negotiable fixture of birthday parties. I think probably even more so now that coconut oil is ‘healthy’ and people are all about healthy food for kids.
This pie, this glorious pile up of a pie, is not healthy food for kids (which I think is great, it’s just, you know, not my purview). It’s got a base inspired by both US and Australian rice cereal treats – full of chocolate, PEANUT BUTTER, golden syrup (corn syrup would be fine) and a smidge of coconut oil for old time’s sake. Once that base layer is in place, you really can get creative with the toppings. I went for a classic vanilla ice cream filling, some peanut butter caramel sauce, a scattering of chocolate cookie crumbs.
What’s that you ask? Peanut butter caramel sauce? You’ve got a good ear my friend. That is exactly what you should have picked out from that sentence, because this peanut butter caramel sauce is liquid gold. It’s pretty simple, just a regular salted caramel sauce with a few tablespoons of peanut butter stirred in. But hot damn, is it good. And it works so well with the peanut-buttery base here. My my my, it’s so good.
I originally made this pie as a sort of experimental, no-reason, just wanted to see if it would work sort of thing, but I’ve since made it several times and it never fails. I just love any sort of pie situation where the crust is a little unusual – remember this ritz-based beauty? And the rice puffs really do hold up well in this crust. I was worried that they might stale, or get soggy in the freezer, but the chocolate coating seems to protect them, meaning you get that perfect textural range of crunchy-base, creamy filling, gooey topping and crispy crumb.
For ease, I added the caramel sauce straight onto the pie before I threw it in the freezer, and since caramel doesn’t really freeze hard, it works great. But I can’t help thinking that the real genius play here would be to serve a slice of the pie, and then pour over that caramel sauce while it’s still oozing and warm. Then the base would melt a little, the ice cream would contrast with the hot sauce…the whole thing would really be something. Try it! And tell – what was the staple treat at your birthday parties as a kid? For me, and a lot of Aussie kids, it was all about the fairy bread, chocolate crackles, honey joys and party pies.
- 75g (3oz) milk chocolate (30% cocoa solids)
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tbsp golden syrup (or light corn syrup)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups puffed rice cereal
- 750ml (25 fl oz) ice cream of you choice
- 2 tbsp water
- ½ cup (100g) caster sugar
- ¼ cup (60ml) cream
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- Optional: cookie crumbs, to decorate
- First, make the sauce. Place the water into a medium-sized heavy based saucepan. Pour the sugar into the centre of the pan.
- Place the pan over a medium-high heat, and cook, without stirring, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture begins to bubble. You can swirl the pan gently, if the sugar is not dissolving evenly.
- Continue cooking the sugar for about 5-7 minutes, or until it turns amber in colour. Then remove from the heat, and carefully add the cream and butter, stirring well - but be careful as it will bubble and steam a lot. Place the pan back on the heat, and cook, stirring for about another 20 seconds.
- Remove from the heat, stir through the salt and peanut butter, and leave to cool.
- To make the base, melt together the chocolate, peanut butter, golden syrup, coconut oil and salt in a saucepan.
- Place the rice cereal into a large bowl, and pour over the melted mixture, stirring gently until combined. Pour into a 9 inch (23cm) pie dish and carefully pack into the base and up the sides. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes to set, then remove and fill with ice cream (I scooped my ice cream into nice round scoops and just placed them in the shell). Decorate with cooled sauce and cookie crumbs and re-freeze for about 2 hours before serving, or keep in the freezer (wrapped in plastic) for 2 weeks.