mini peanut butter pies.
isn’t it strange how your heart can break for someone you barely know?
when i heard the news that Jennifer Perillo’s husband had suddenly passed away from a heart attack, it really shook me. violently, to the core.
i’ve never met Jennifer, nor her husband Mikey in person. i read her beautiful blog, where she shares her wonderful recipes and stories about her life. i’ve read about her childhood, about her two beautiful daughters, and the wonderful love she shares with her husband.
i feel so sad. i feel so helpless. a wonderful women and her daughters lost the most important man in their world. in an instant, their lives changed completely.
i’m not good with death. no one is, i guess. it’s a hard subject for me to talk about, to think about, to write about. Jennifer’s loss makes my heart ache. her heartache has made me reflect on my own experiences with death and loss.
i think about people in my life who have passed away, who i can never talk to or laugh with again. these deaths, these losses hit me hard. they left me feeling empty and open and vacuous. i have cried until my face is raw from wiping away tears with scratchy, sandpaper tissues.
i think about my grandmother, whose recipe books and jadeite mixing bowls i inherited. every time i flip the pages of those books looking for inspiration, or when i blend batter for a cake using those bowls, i get a little teary; flooded with memories and sadness. i think of my parents, who are still both very much alive, whose deaths and the pain and hollowness that accompanies them i cannot possibly fathom.
mostly, i think about the man i’m about to marry, my husband-to-be. the man who i want to build a beautiful life with, full of children and laughter and memories and wonderful things. i cannot imagine life without him, and when i try, i’m a bundle of hurt and sadness and sobbing.
it seems that as we get older, we lose more and more people that we love, people we’ve connected with, people we’ve made lives with. it’s awful and disheartening and depressing. it hurts to think about.
it’s difficult for me to find the right words to comfort and aid those grieving that don’t sound trite, overused or insincere.
when there’s a death, or a breakup, or even just a bad day, the best way i can think to offer my support is through food. a simple cake, or a lasagna, earnestly prepared from scratch with love, so much love.
that is exactly why i, and so many other food bloggers around the country today are preparing a peanut butter pie for Jennifer and Mikey. that’s what food people do. we rally around people who need us, offering home-cooked meals and a shoulder to cry on. we all know that food is a great source of comfort, and when someone like Jennifer’s husband passes away without warning, and nothing is normal anymore, a simple, familiar meal goes a long way.
i have seen the food blogging community come together many times before, but the outpouring of love and support for Jennifer and her family is unlike anything i’ve witnessed before. in response to the many people asking her what they can do to help, she’s told everyone to make a peanut butter pie, and share it with the people they love.
on Jennifer’s blog, she wrote about Mikey, about how this peanut butter pie was his favorite dessert, about how she wished she could have made it for him one more time. that struck a chord with me. “today is the only guarantee we can count on,” she wrote. she is so right. all we have is today, and right now. nothing else is certain.
Ryan and I made peanut butter pie together last night. it was lovely to spend time together in the kitchen, laughing and joking around like the nerds that we are. i can see why this was Mikey’s favorite pie, the little bit i sampled was perfection. tonight, we’ll enjoy some together, while we think of Jennifer, Mikey and her family.
i hope that you’ll make this peanut butter pie over the weekend, and share it with the people you love.
mini peanut butter pies
Yield: 12 miniature peanut butter pies
Prep Time: 5 minutes
if you'd like to make one large pie, you can use a standard-sized graham cracker pie crust.
12 miniature individual graham cracker pie crusts
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces whipped cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup cup creamy whipped peanut butter
1/2 cup chocolate peanut butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler or in the microwave until smooth.
pour about a teaspoon of chocolate in the bottom of each graham cracker crust, and smooth into an even layer. place in the fridge to cool.
in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the heavy cream on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 1-2 minutes. transfer the whipped cream to a small bowl and store in the fridge until ready to use.
switch to the beater on the mixer, and combine the cream cheese and peanut butters in the bowl. beat on medium speed until fluffy and combined, about 1 minute.
slowly add the confectioners' sugar and beat until sugar is combined.
add the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract, and mix until filling is smooth and combined.
gently fold the whipped cream into the filling until light and combined.
remove the graham cracker crusts from the fridge and pour about 3 tablespoons of filling into each crust, smoothing the tops.
once all of the crusts are filled, drizzle the tops with the remaining melted chocolate, and top with a sprinkling of chopped peanuts.
store in the fridge for at least an hour until set, but overnight is best.
the mini peanut butter pies will keep, stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
adapted from in jennie's kitchen