Last Sunday, I was relaxing after a busy weekend, and I saw this tweet from Jennifer Perillo -
He’s gone. And my heart is shattered into a million pieces.
I immediately feared the worst, but I hoped I was wrong. Perhaps I was misisng something. I didn’t want to jump to conclusions. So, I sent her a quick reply saying that I hoped everything was OK. Then, exhaustion took over and I headed to bed. I couldn’t get the tweet out of my head, so I said a quick prayer and drifted off to sleep.
The next morning, I awoke to find out that my worst fears were true. Jennifer’s husband, Mikey, had passed away from a sudden heart attack. There was no warning, no time for goodbyes. In a moment, life changed for Jennie and her two girls.
I sat at my laptop, frozen, with tears streaming down my face as I read through the flood of tweets. I had no idea what to say, what to think. I couldn’t help but to think what it would feel like if I were in her place… I couldn’t imagine. I tried not to imagine.
Now that the week has passed, I still have trouble wrapping my head around it, even thought Jennie has constantly been in my thoughts and prayers. Unfortunately, I was unable to make it to the memorial service in New York City today. I wanted to be there for her and to give her a hug, but it just wasn’t an option.
So instead, I am honoring Jennie’s poignant request, and sharing her recipe for Peanut Butter Pie. The pie was a favorite of Mikey’s, and Jennie requested that we all make the pie and share it with those that we love. Even in her moment of tragedy, she put it more eloquently than I ever could…
…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.
I cannot be with her in person today, but I am with her in spirit. And, I know that everything will eventually be OK. I’m sure it won’t be easy. But, Jennie is strong. Much stronger than I am. And, she has friends… Lots of them. Today we are making pie. And, for months and years to come, we will still be here to help her along the way. We will make sure she is OK.
Individual Peanut Butter Tarts
(Makes 4 individual pies, adapted from In Jennie’s Kitchen)
- 2 ounces chocolate graham crackers (or chocolate cookies)
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 – 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts
- 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
- Dash pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Lightly salted peanuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Pulse the chocolate graham crackers (or cookies) in a food processor. Add in the melted butter and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand. Carefully divide the wet crumbs between four small individual tart pans. Use your fingers to press the crumbs into bottom and sides of pan. Place the individual tarts on a small baking pan and transfer them to the oven. Bake for about 10-15 minutes. Allow the tart shells to cool.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave until smooth, at 15 second intervals. Divide the chocolate between the four tarts and smooth (as best you can) with an offset spatula. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate, dividing them between the four tarts. Transfer the shells to the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese, peanut butter, and powdered sugar in a small mixing bowl. With a hand mixer, beat on medium speed until the ingredients are well combined. Add in the sweetened condensed milk and a dash of vanilla extract and continue beating until the mixture is smooth.
In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Stir 1/3 of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture. Then, add the remaining whipped cream and carefully fold it into the filling. Transfer the filling to a disposable pastry bag, and pipe the filling into the prepared tart shells. Garnish with some lightly salted peanuts, if desired.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours prior to serving.
My Friday Favorites will return next week… This week, making a peanut butter pie in honor friend was much more important!