Jennie’s Peanut Butter Pie
I don’t know Jennie. But I know the reliable warmth of her writing and her creative recipes, and I’ve thought about her more this week that many of my real-life friends. Jennie’s husband died.
Just writing that makes me feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach.
People like me, who love Jennie through the fibers of the internet, have felt achingly helpless. But I read her lastest post and felt grateful for some direction:
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.
Pie I can do.
I went to the grocery store this morning for the ingredients, and came home to bake. I tried to be mindful as I was mixing. Before this unimaginable news, I had been thinking about what it means to be married, how to share your life with someone and uphold the promises you make. I had been wondering about timing, and when to take the next steps in life. When is it time to buy a house? To have a baby? To take that trip we’ve been putting off? As I botched the cookie crust and struggled to spread the melted chocolate I thought, This is love. Making mistakes and making a mess. And extending the whole sticky mess as an offering.
If we walked around all the time, aware that at any moment our time with the people we love most could almost be up, it would drive us insane. So there must be some line we can walk, one where we are filled up with gratitude and so much joy for how lucky we are, but without making ourselves crazy over how fragile life is.
The pie smells delicious, and it’s sitting in the refrigerator right now. Tonight I’ll carry it upstate on a long train ride, resting securely on my lap. I’ll cut into the whole mess and watch it fall apart when the crust doesn’t hold, then pass out slices to old friends and my guy. And then we’ll dig in.
Creamy Peanut Butter Pie
from In Jennie’s Kitchen
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.