Friday, August 12th, 2011
I’ve been behind this week. Behind on work, on working out, on baking, on blogging, on household chores. Sometimes you just get behind, right? And it’s easy to focus on the tasks mounting on your to-do list, the overflowing inbox, the dirty dishes in the sink. We’re all guilty of this; it’s human nature, pure and simple.
These things grew dim for me this week, as I suspect they did for many others. This week I, along with hundreds of others in the food blog community, was captivated by the death of fellow blogger Jennifer Perillo’s husband, Mikey. Mikey died of a sudden heart attack, leaving behind Jennifer and their two small girls. I don’t know Jennifer, and honestly had never read her blog before this week, but my heart has broken for her all week. And last night, I learned that a dear childhood friend of mine just lost a cousin to a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. Life is so utterly fragile and short.
Jennifer wrote a beautiful, heartbreaking post asking that those who wished to help her in some way do so by making peanut butter pie (Mikey’s favorite) today, and sharing it with their own loved ones. I thought this was a wonderful idea — realistically there’s nothing most of us can physically do for her, and nothing we can offer will diminish her pain. But we can make pie, and we can show love to those close to us. I don’t know of anything more important than that.
This week I’ve been reminded that sometimes I need to rearrange my priorities. My days shouldn’t be measured by workouts or billable hours or chores checked off the list. My days should be about loving the Lord and loving people.
Today I’m joining with a worldwide community to support Jennifer and her girls, as well as my own dear friend. I encourage you to spend the weekend cherishing those you love, perhaps with a peanut butter pie.
Creamy Peanut Butter Pie
In Jennie’s Kitchen
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 (or freeze) for three hours or overnight before serving.
*I made a half-recipe of this, intending to use a 4-ounce tart pan for only Ryan and I, and ended up with more than enough filling for a second mini pie. If you’d like to go the miniature route, prepare the crust mixture with the full amount of ingredients, and divide it between two 4-ounce tart pans. Then prepare the filling with half of each ingredient. Enjoy one miniature pie, and give the other away!