When I read Kat Kinsman's post on Eatocracy about the sudden death of Mikey Perillo, husband of Jennifer Perillo of Jennie's Kitchen, I cried at length. I have met Kat before but I have never met Mikey or Jennifer. I have only heard of Jennifer's blog. It is a lovely, professional blog by a food writer and recipe developer who has articles and recipes in magazine I love. So much more than what I dabble in here. I feel a connection to Jennie's Kitchen because she has a paragraph about how it all began. She writes:
"...it all started with an article in Newsweek. Back in 1999, my husband, then boyfriend, handed me a clipping about becoming a personal chef. I was 23 and my dad had just passed away—he was only 49 years old. I figured it was time to get cracking on my dreams since there's no guarantee of tomorrow. "
This little blog began the same way. My dad, center of my universe and my very best friend, died a little over a year ago. He committed suicide. There, I said it. I felt like an anchor to the world was gone and even with a loving husband, friends and children, I was lost. I decided to focus on something good that made me happy and makes the rest of the world happy--food. This blog was my escape from the darkness, from the thoughts of guilt and remorse that go along with being a suicide survivor. The food community slowly has been bringing me back to the happy girl I once was.
Jennifer said it felt like time has stood still since his sudden death. I know this pain and I know that even strangers can make a difference in assuaging it. She asked that as a part of her healing process, to make Mikey's favorite peanut butter cream pie and share it with someone we love. I spent the morning making a pie with extra love and I intend on delivering it to a family who not only helped soothed my soul but that of another family in their neighborhood who's mother died suddenly, leaving behind two young children. As Jennifer asked, I will be hugging them "like there is no tomorrow." My love to the Perillo family.
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.
Please watch this beautiful video tribute to Jennifer and Mikey by White on rice couple .