So many people have written beautifully about this pie and about why, all over the planet, people are making it today. For the first time, writing this blog has been a difficult task.
This awful news has had a surprisingly profound effect on me. I have cried. A lot. And from quite a deep place. A place of fear, I guess, a terrible fear that this could happen to any one of us, at any moment. I don't know Jennifer Perillo personally. I have only been reading her blog for a few months. But it's a wonderful blog, beautifully written, one I keep coming back to. Reading it you get a real sense of this woman's passion for food and family, sharing recipes, building a community of food lovers. A community that I am becoming a part of. And now a member of that community is in terrible pain.
You can read Jennifer's post here.
Reading her incredibly sad, incredibly brave words about her husband, I felt the need to find my beloved and hold him tight. As I linked to other blogs who were writing about Jennifer and Mikey I found similar sentiments to my own. Shock. It's not fair. It's cruel. Feelings of anger and sadness. And wanting to know how to help.
In the past 3 days, via Twitter and Facebook and other online media, a support effort has been mounted. Weekly food care packages for Jennifer and her family are being arranged, and last I heard there were enough volunteers to continue this effort until the end of the year. For me, this embodies everything that is good about these 'virtual communities' that exist almost entirely online - when it counts they are no longer 'virtual', they are absolutely real and can make a huge difference. I take great heart in this.
Jennifer says in her post, "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."
Right now, all around the globe, people are making this pie to support Jennifer and her family at this terribly difficult time. Just search Twitter for the #apieformikey or #peanutbutterpiefriday and you'll see for yourself just how many people are reaching out to Jennifer. Today I made this pie in honour of a man I have never met and his grieving wife and children across the ocean. It's the least I could do. I took a piece of this pie to my beloved and hugged him tight and told him that I loved him. And as I slipped out of the room to go wash up, he said he loved me too with his mouth full of pie. I feel remarkably lucky.
Peanut Butter Pie for Mikey
Recipe by Jennifer Perillo
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 sweeten 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 folk 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 ready to use. Place the cream 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 hour or overnight before serving.
It's obvious that you are greatly loved, Jennifer. Much love to you.