Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie, and Living a Musical Life

Creamy peanut butter pie. A dessert I've never made ... until now. Last Tuesday Jennifer Perillo told us what we could do to honor the memory of her husband, Mikey, as she and her family, and friends, gathered in remembrance of his life last Friday. His favorite pie was creamy peanut butter pie, and she gave us the recipe, telling us we could make one for those we loved and enjoy it with them on Friday. (For those of you who didn't read my post about this and haven't seen all the photos, tweets and posts regarding this, Jennifer is a well-known food blogger who suddenly lost her husband to a heart attack a week and a half ago.)

When I read her post, it reminded me that I hadn't made an apple pie in a long time. My husband loves apple pie. We had a crazy week, just coming off of vacation and having soccer camp, and leaving again in a few days, but I knew I wanted to make an apple pie for my family. I made the quicker version, a French apple pie, so I didn't need to make and roll out crusts. It was worth enjoying it with them in the moment. (I'll share that recipe another time.) Make a pie for those you love, give them a big hug and enjoy the moment.

*Edit 8/22/11: Please see the note at the bottom of this post if you'd like to help out with donations. A fund has been set up for Jennifer and her daughters.

I was traveling on Friday, and out of town all weekend - so wasn't able to make the peanut butter pie on the day most of you out of there were making it. I made it on Monday instead, and said a prayer for Jennifer and her family as I prepared the pie, and again as we've eaten it. I'm once again in awe - and proud - to be a part of this amazing food community. Hundreds, most likely thousands, of individuals made their version of peanut butter pie for Mikey on Friday, or in the days since. One only needs to go to Twitter and search for the hashtag #apieformikey to see an incredibly overwhelming stream - even today - of peanut butter pies, for Mikey and Jennifer. A visit to food photo sites such as Tastespotting and Foodgawker will show hundreds of gorgeous peanut butter pies. Todd Porter and Diane Cu, from White on Rice Couple, created an amazing video of making their pie, with quotes from others.

I mentioned above that this is the first time I've made peanut butter pie. I don't know that I've ever even eaten a piece of the dreamy concoction - although I've seen them around. Unless peanut butter is consumed with a good amount of chocolate, I've never cared for the stuff. I don't even keep it in the house (love almond butter). When I was pregnant with my oldest, I had an intense craving for peanut butter chocolate cups over a period of weeks. I got to the point where I started making my own chocolate peanut butter balls rather than have my husband go to the store, yet again, to buy me peanut butter chocolate cups. I guess my aversion to peanut butter unless it's paired with chocolate has just naturally made me shy away from this pie. Never again. This pie reminds me of those peanut butter chocolate cups, and I love it. It's that good.

My youngest daughter (just turned 5 years old) lives in a musical. She breaks out into song about everything - things that make her happy, sad, angry, you name it. She is like Frances the badger every day. I've always enjoyed watching musicals, but my husband has not. He would say it wasn't realistic - people don't live like that, just breaking out into song. Until our youngest became more vocal. He actually enjoys some musicals now, and realizes that some people really do break out into song. When she was eating her peanut butter pie last night, the second night in a row, she proclaimed that it was the "good pie ever." I asked if she meant the best pie ever. "Yes!" she exclaimed, and broke out into song about the peanut butter pie:

     "Peanut butter pie ...
     has cream in it ..........
     so does pumpkin, on toooop ...
     but this has more ...
     This has cream, peanut butterrrr ...
     I think this one winssssss ....
     Has peanut butter, cream ...
     eat it every day ... everywhere ...
     You put chocolate in, peanut butter
     and chocolate ..........."

I can learn a lot from my youngest. I want to slow down and savor each moment with those I love. I want to break out in song, sing along with those who do - or at least stop and listen to the music. It's savoring those moments that Jennifer Perillo wanted us to get out of making peanut butter pie in memory of her husband. She wanted us to slow down and enjoy life, in that moment.

In Jennifer's recipe, she makes the crust from chocolate cookies. There are certainly gluten-free chocolate cookies out there that you can use, but this cocoa almond flour crust I made worked perfectly for our needs. Covering it with the melted chocolate made it hold together very well.

Projected prep time: 20 minutes; Chill time at least 3 hours

1 rounded cup almond flour
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 1/2 tbsp. organic pure cane sugar
2 1/2 tbsp. melted butter
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup organic peanut butter, creamy style
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (*see note below)
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla
1 tsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Chocolate, for garnish

Sift almond flour, cocoa and sugar together in small bowl then stir together with butter until moistened. Press into bottom and up sides of 9-inch pie pan. (Note: Jennifer's original recipe says to use a springform pan. I wish I'd pulled mine out or used my deep dish pie plate. It worked fine in the regular, but I had a little left over that would have overflowed if I'd put it all in there - I just ate it with the spoon.:) )

Melt chocolate in microwave 45 seconds then stir, and melt for an additional 15 seconds if necessary. Carefully spread melted chocolate over the bottom and up the sides of pie crust (it helps if you have a little, flexible spatula for this). Place in refrigerator while making the filling.

Pour cream into mixing bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. Place in refrigerator while preparing the rest.

Place cream cheese and peanut butter into large mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy.

(*Note: I used organic peanut butter that was "creamy" style and only had sea salt added to it. It wasn't nearly as creamy as some of the other brand name creamy peanut butters out there, and wasn't sweet since it had no sugar added to it like some of the others. I added a 1/2 cup more powdered sugar because of this, but feel free to add more or less if your tastes require it. I also used my mixer's wire whisk while beating it to try to break it up more.)

Reduce speed and gradually beat in the powdered sugar, then add the condensed milk, vanilla and lemon juice. Increase speed and beat until all the ingredients are combined and smooth.

Stir in about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the peanut butter filling, then carefully fold the remaining cream into the filling.

Pour filling into the prepared pan, and refrigerate for three hours, or overnight, before serving. *Note: I ended up freezing it about an hour and a half before cutting and serving, to have more uniform slices than what I was getting just from refrigerating it. I ended up storing it in the freezer and cutting the slices, then letting them sit and thaw several minutes before serving.

Garnish with chocolate shavings, if desired.

I hope you make a pie for those of you love, and serve it with a hug.

Tonight we'll be finishing the last of our creamy peanut butter pie. I'm going to sit and savor each bite and enjoy the time with my family, and say a prayer for Jennifer and her girls. I hope our youngest breaks out into song about the pie again - and I'll sing along with her.

*Note 8/22/11: A fund has been set up for Jennifer and her daughters. If you would like to learn more about it, please visit Shauna's post here:

Or, click here (you can specify the fund in the special instructions if you wish):
Donate to Bloggers Without Borders


  1. just a look I can tell that this is a super creamy delicious and mouthwatering pie =)

  2. Your pie looks great. So sweet of you making this in honor of Mikey. Love the photos.

  3. I love this so much. I may make it this weekend...

  4. This pie looks incredible; thanks for sharing. The picture and directions look fairly easy to follow! I'll give it a shot for my next dinner party since my husband loves peanut butter!
    -Shannon the Crumb Cake Queen


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