Writings on curious recipes, food I've tasted around the world and the quest for finding the perfect blueberry muffin.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Peanut butter pie and the past few days


I woke up on Monday after just a few hours of uneasy sleep. The riots had continued and spread. There had been more looting, more destruction. I could barely get myself to watch the news, to see innocent people tremble and cry as they spoke of the events, as they tried to explain what had happened. It was painful to hear how they had to flee for their lives, as they watched their flats burn, how frightened they had been and still were. Or to see shop owners in front of the remains of their stores - their livelihood - now nothing more than empty shelves and shattered glass. All of a sudden these people had become homeless, jobless, itemless. What had taken years to build up, had been destroyed in an instant. Stripped bare or burnt to ash. Nothing left. 


I didn't want to venture out, so I stayed in. To escape the grayness of the real world for a moment, I baked, and wrote about it. To distract myself further, I went on twitter to see what other food bloggers were up to. But then I came across a tweet from AranUnimaginable. Heart aches which she had written in response to Jennifer Perillo's tweet one last dance and this link. Jennifer, better known as Jennie, is a beloved food editor, recipe tester, blogger and a mother of two young girls. I had to click the link. I discovered that Jennie's husband had died of a heart attack on Sunday evening. Suddenly and completely unexpectedly. And just like that, I was back in the real world.


I thought about how fragile life is, how in a day, an hour or even just a single breath your life can change forever. It's a scary thought.


It's a scary thought, that puts things into perspective. Sometimes I get so caught up in details, start stressing over small, insignificant little things, that I lose sight over what really matters. And it's not the weak internet connection that keeps on disconnecting, or the oven fried chicken attempt that was so bad, it set off the fire alarm. Because I can just re-connect and, well, at least I know our fire alarm's working. No, those things are not worth thinking about. They really do not matter at all. 


And I know that. I really do. But there are days when I get so hung up on something, that my priorities seem to shift. But it shouldn't take a riot in an otherwise peaceful city, or the death of someone dear to snap my perspective back into place. I don't want that to be the case. I want to appreciate every day, even the boring ones  - or especially the boring ones - as long as the people I love are safe, healthy, happy.


Two days after her husband passed away, Jennie posted a beautiful message on her blog.

She ended her post with the following:

As I spend Friday reflecting on the love and life that was gone in an instant, I'd like to invite all of you to celebrate his life too. Mikey loved peanut butter cream pie. I haven't made it in a while, and I've had it on my to-do list for a while now.
I kept telling myself I would make it for him tomorrow. Time has suddenly stood still, though, and I'm waiting to wake up and learn to live a new kind of normal. 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.


I knew I had to make one. I made one, while thinking of all the people who have recently lost a loved one. I made one, while thinking of all the people affected by the riots this past week. And I made one as a reminder to not sweat the small stuff and to appreciate the days, hours, moments I get to spend with the people I love.

And really, I cannot think of a more beautiful and perfect moment than being surrounded by friends and family, sharing conversations and laughs, hugs and kisses, and for today, this peanut butter pie.

Peanut butter pie
by Jennie from In Jennie's Kitchen

The response from the food blogging community on Facebook and Twitter has been overwhelming. The editors of Food 52 and CNN's Eatocracy are making peanut butter pies for Mikey as well. I truly hope you find some comfort in this, Jennie.

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56g // 4 tablespoons butter, melted
226g // 8oz chocolate cookies (I used Belgian double chocolate chunk cookies)
113g // 4oz finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
236ml // 1 cup heavy cream (mine was 48% fat)
226g // 8oz cream cheese (I used reduced fat, because that was the only thing I could find in the store)
250g // 1 cup peanut butter (I used chunky peanut butter)
115g // 1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 can (400ml // 14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

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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 most of the it over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula - leave some to drizzle over the pie at the end.  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 remaining melted chocolate on top, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.

Enjoy with the people you love!


    10 comments:

    Anonymous said...

    Little Miss Dids your recipes, photos and writings nourish my whole being.
    Love that you understand what's precious;sharing time with those we love while sharing what we've created with them. Thank you for making my days more calm and more delicious.

    stampedconcrete said...

    looks so delicious .. thanks for the recipe ..

    littlemissdids said...

    Thank you and you're welcome! :)

    Dora Romero said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Belinda Moore said...

    This blog is nourishing for both body and soul. I love your peanut butter pie recipe! How I wish our Long Island catering hall would serve something like this.

    Selena said...

    What a yummy peanut butter pie! I don't have talent in cooking. We used to have a catering services in New York every-time we have a celebration.

    Sports bars in Singapore said...

    The peanut butter pie and other thoughts of the author has been shared in the post here. Get the details from here

    Bird food said...

    Peanut butter pies are my favourite. Now I can make it on my own and taste at home.

    hannah sanderson said...

    Seeing your cake and reading the your blog reminds me of the garden catering long island I visited just a few weeks ago. The serenity of the place made me realize something and of course, I cannot just ignore the foods, the taste is heavenly. And yes, sometimes in times where you need the peace of mind the only companion you wish you have is a calm surrounding and a good food that could keep you company when your thoughts is occupied by unwanted things, it does helps.

    Louisse Campbell said...

    I will try to make a peanut butter pie for my granny who stays in retirement communities ny. I hope she will like it.

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