I know I've been a little bit down on bloggers and blogging lately. But every so often a story comes out that illustrates the power of the Internet to bring people together in such beautiful ways during times of tragedy. I recently heard of one such story.
Jennifer Perillo is a food blogger who writes the blog In Jennie's Kitchen. I don't know Jennie personally, and I admit that since I don't really read food blogs, I wasn't familiar with her blog before I heard this story.
On Sunday, August 7, Jennie's husband Michael died suddenly of a heart attack. From the photos she has shared, he appears to have been a relatively young, fit man. Jennie and Michael have two young daughters.
The food blogging community came together in support of Jennie, asking what they could do to help. Jennie asked that people make Michael's favorite peanut butter pie on Friday, August 12. Food bloggers everywhere made the pies and sent messages of support to Jennie on Twitter. The tweets were compiled into this video:
Peanut Butter Pie for Mikey from Evolution Multimedia on Vimeo.
Now, I obviously missed the opportunity to bake my pie on Friday. But, as my friend Melisa pointed out, it's never to late to think about a grieving family. So, I told Melisa that she and I would start Phase II of The Peanut Butter Pie Movement.
Here's my pie:
Here's my pie with a slice taken out:
Will you help spread the movement by making a pie of your own? Here's the recipe:
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. Refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.
A personal note on this recipe: I skipped the chocolate cookies and butter and instead just bought a pre-made Oreo crust. The Oreo crust is a little bit smaller than the pan Jennie recommends, which means you will have less surface area to pour in the melted chocolate at the bottom. Therefore, if you do use a premade crust and/or smaller pan, you might want to reduce the amount of melted chocolate you use. Otherwise you will end up with a thick, hard layer that it very difficult to cut into with a fork.
Oh, and the pie is very, very rich. Enjoy in moderation.
Jennie also asked that you take the time to share the pie with somebody you love, and to remember that today is the only day you are guaranteed to have with your loved ones.
I shared the pie with the loved ones in my home, of course, but I also made a second pie for my friend Sarah. Sarah and I have both been busy lately, and we haven't seen each other much. But, as Jennie illustrates, you should make time for family and friends today. So I made my good friend Sarah a pie.
And I keep the Perillo family in my thoughts.