I am constantly amazed at the impact other’s stories have on our lives. Whether we know them personally or not, their experience, whether it be joyful or heartbreaking, can make us reevaluate the things that are truly important to us. The past few months have been filled with a roller coaster of events from wonderful weddings and new babies, to long absences from the people and places I care deeply about. Having to leave Japan in March without my husband was difficult. It was difficult but not finite. I knew there would be an end to the wait and that we would be able to hug each other again in a relatively short amount of time. This is not, however, a luxury everyone is afforded.
Reading about the sudden and unexpected death of a fellow food blogger’s husband over the past few days has brought me to tears on numerous occasions. The sudden loss of a life that is indescribably important to a person is seemingly unbearable to those of us who have not actually experienced it. I cannot claim to have the slightest idea of how hard this must be for Jennie and her family, but I can say that many people in the food community have been impacted by her loss. They are realizing how important it is to hold on to those dearest to them, to be kind and loving because there is no way to know when your time will be cut short.
I don’t know Jennie. I have never met her or anyone connected to her. But today, I want her to know that I am praying that life, though very different now, will soon bring more joy. More reasons to dance. More reasons to enjoy good food. And especially more special moments with those closest to her.
Jennie asked anyone who wanted to help to make this pie on Friday. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do it on that exact day, but I hope the sentiment reaches her just the same.
With this creamy peanut butter pie recipe from Jennie’s site, I want to say to all of my friends and family, from Minnesota, to Colorado, to Tennessee, Costa Rica and Japan, that I love you very much. If you were all here with me at my kitchen table I would give you a slice of this pie, a big glass of milk, and a bear hug.
I carry you with me into the world,
into the smell of rain
& the words that dance between people
& for me, it will always be this way,
walking in the light,
remembering being alive together
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.