I made a pie today.
Not just any pie. A peanut butter and chocolate pie to honor the life of someone I never knew, requested by his wife, whom I also have never met.
The food blogging community, I’m learning, is more than a community. It’s a family, woven together by the gossamer thread of Internet that connects people from all over the world. This family joined hands this past week to lift up fellow food blogger Jennifer Perillo, whose husband died last Sunday of a heart attack. This food family has transcended the debt debate, the falling stock market, the London riots, the war in Afghanistan—this family has risen up to say, there’s more…something else matters…we care.
With shock and sadness, the food blogging family learned earlier this week of the death of Mikey Perillo, Jennifer’s husband and the loving father of two little girls. No time for goodbye, no time for hugs—just alive one minute and gone the next. Many in the food family were personally acquainted with the Perillos and so were able to do the things that everyday friends do, such as give a real hug, attend a memorial service, drop by with a ham or send flowers to the family. But for many more in the food loving world, who may not know the family personally but nevertheless feel a connection through Jennie’s blog and Twitter, there was an unsettling need to do SOMETHING. It’s just human nature. When someone is hurting, we want to do something. And so with the new hard-earned wisdom of someone who knows what it feels like to lose a loved one unexpectedly, Jennifer said we should all bake a pie. She said she had been planning to make her husband his favorite peanut butter pie, but she had put it off because there was always something else to do. “I kept telling myself I would make it for him tomorrow.”
Jennie said we should bake a pie and share it with someone we love—today—because, for her, tomorrow would never come. “He’s gone,” she said. “And my heart is shattered in a million pieces.”
I said a prayer today for someone who is in unspeakable pain. And I made a pie. Sometimes, that’s all you can do. And sometimes, that’s just enough.
- 2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 3/4 cup heavy cream plus 2 tablespoons
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chopped
Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl and stir until well blended. Press crumb mixture firmly into a 9-inch springform pan.
Melt 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate and stir in 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Spread the melted chocolate over the crust.
Pour one cup of the heavy cream into a bowl or stand mixer and whip until stiff peaks form. Stick the whipped cream in the fridge until the filling is ready.
In mixer bowl, add peanut butter and cream cheese and mix until creamy and blended. Reduce speed to low and gradually add confectioner's sugar, vanilla and lemon juice.
Increase speed to medium and beat until filling is creamy and smooth. Fold in the whipped cream about a quarter cup at a time.
- Pour filling over the prepared crust and refrigerate for two hours or until the pie is set.
Melt chocolate slowly with the remaining 3/4 cup of heavy cream, stirring constantly until the chocolate is melted. Remove chocolate from heat and stir for two more minutes.
- Remove chilled and set pie from the springform pan and place on a wire rack with parchment paper underneath.
- Pour and spread the chocolate topping over the pie, covering the top and sides.
- Refrigerate another 2 hours or until the chocolate topping is set.