The Friday before last, I signed into Twitter after not having been on for a few days. I kept seeing the hashtag #apieformikey throughout my Twitter stream. At first I thought it might be for a sick child, so naturally, I clicked on it. I still couldn’t figure out what it was about until I clicked on some of the tweets with @JenniferPerillo in them. Then I saw it; a tweet that simply said…
He’s gone. And my heart is shattered in a million pieces.
It was then I knew. I went to her site, In Jennie’s Kitchen, and saw a post with a video, entitled ‘One Last Dance’. I watched it, and it hit hard, bringing me to tears. I don’t know Jennifer, but I suddenly wanted to hug her, comfort her in some way. Jennifer lost her husband, Sunday, August 7th, 2011, to a sudden, massive heart attack while he was with one of their two daughters, who was riding her bike.
The next post, simply titled, ‘For Mikey’, asked everyone to make his favorite peanut butter pie on Friday, August 12th, and share it with ones we love, as this would help in her healing. She gave when she lost, and that’s incredible. Unfortunately, I saw this on the 12th, so when hundreds of food bloggers were putting up their pie posts, all coming together (such an amazing and beautiful thing to see) to honor Mikey’s memory and comfort Jennifer and their two little girls, I hadn’t a clue. My hands were tied for the weekend. There would be no pie until Monday.
I made it Monday, shared it with loved ones, and it was gone a few hours later. I hadn’t taken a photo, so I made another one and took photos, but suddenly, I didn’t know what to write. I sat staring at the empty post window; type, backspace, type again, backspace. This went on for two days. What could I say about such a heartbreaking tragedy that didn’t sound cliche or hadn’t been already said over and over?
Then I realized I really didn’t need to say anything. This pie, to be shared with loved ones, is all she wanted. Thank you, Jennifer, for giving us all such a wonderful pie recipe, thinking of others at a time when your world fell apart. I will make this pie forever because it’s the best peanut butter pie I’ve ever had. God Bless you and your little girls.
UPDATE: A fund has been set up to help Jennie and her two little girls, financially. You can donate at either Gluten Free Girl or Bloggers without Borders. Any little bit will help, so much!! Spread the word via Twitter by using the hashtag, #afundforJennie.
Deep Dish Peanut Butter Pie
Recipe from Jennifer Perillo, with a few small revisions
- 8 ounces chocolate cookies (I used peanut butter cookies)
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 4 ounces finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate plus 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon corn syrup)
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts (I used salted peanuts)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup creamy-style peanut butter
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 oz good quality milk chocolate, chopped
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Drizzle melted butter through feed tube until moist and you can press clumps together easily. Press mixture into the bottom and about 1-inch up the sides of an 8-inch springform pan.
- Melt the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a double boiler or in the microwave. Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula. Sprinkle chopped salted peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
- Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use. Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner's sugar. Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are uniform and filling is smooth.
- Stir in ⅓ of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream). Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top, if using, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.
- To serve, I topped the pie with 1½ cups of heavy cream whipped with about ¼ cup confectioner's sugar, then drizzled on the thick milk chocolate ganache, homemade caramel, and chopped, salted peanuts. I also froze it for about a half hour prior to taking photos and serving, which is why it looks so smooth. Best NOT frozen - amazingly creamy.
- Heat cream until boiling. Pour over chopped chocolate and let sit for one minute then stir until fully melted, shiny and uniform.
- Stir in corn syrup and pour into a squeeze bottle or just drizzle over pie with a spoon. Pass around remaining ganache for extra drizzles on slices of pie.
Pay it forward; make this pie for someone you love and hug them as tight as you can. Tell them how much they mean to you. You never know what can happen in an instant; every day can be a last.