I don’t know Jennifer Perillo. We have exchanged a few friendly tweets, and I read her blog In Jennie’s Kitchen, but I do not know her.
When I learned that her husband died suddenly of a heart attack earlier this week, I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of sadness and compassion for her.
I too, am the mother of 2 daughters, who married my college sweetheart. I couldn’t imagine losing the love of my life in an instant, with so many years ahead that would just never be.
When I read Jennifer’s moving post For Mikey , my eyes began to well up with tears. As a tribute to her husband, she offered these words:
” For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.”
How true, that we just never know what life may throw our way. It is through the support and love of friends and family that helps us heal, and enable us to find the strength we need to move forward.
And so, as a gesture of love and support, I offer this Creamy Peanut Butter Pie, that I made with my daughter today. As we made the pie, we talked about how fragile life is, and that we should celebrate all that is good in every day that we are together.
The pie is chilling in the refrigerator now, waiting to be enjoyed after dinner tonight with the people I love.
My heart goes out to Jennifer and her daughters as they take these first steps forward.
Creamy Peanut Butter Pie
Serves 10 to 12
8 ounces chocolate cookies
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 ounces finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped 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
Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well. Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
Melt the chocolate 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 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 combined and filling is smooth.
Stir in 1/3 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.