A Special Note on August 12, 2011
Life is fragile, life is precious, life is precarious. We all know this, we all experience it, we all, too often, live this. And yet, and yet. Some times life's fragility strikes close to home -- even when it really isn't.
For me, the life lesson hit twice this week, first when my friend Janet buried her granddaughter in a casket just twenty-four -- aiii, twenty-four -- inches long. And then again, with the sudden and unexpected death of a young husband and father, "Mikey" as wife and food blogger Jennifer Perillo of In Jennie's Kitchen called him.
Those of you who follow food bloggers will see lots of peanut butter pies appearing today. That's because Jennie invited us to make pies in her husband's memory. You see, she'd been meaning to make him his favorite pie, "Tomorrow", she'd think, "Or on the weekend." But she never got to it and suddenly, it was too late.
And so today I invite you too to make a peanut butter pie, perhaps my favorite Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, below. But if you're like me, you'll make a metaphorical peanut butter pie --- instead choosing the act, the words, the hug, the call, the visit, whatever it is that you've been thinking, "Tomorrow".
Instead, make it today, won't you? Because life is fragile.
Anyone who loves Reese's peanut butter cups will love this easy-easy pie recipe. It's a creamy concoction, with just a hint of peanut butter and a drizzle of chocolate. Serve it creamy-cold and slim slivers will evoke small moans of appreciation.
My dad loves pie. His favorites are of the creamy variety, banana cream pie, Lemon Meringue Pie, chocolate cream pie.
He loves pie so much that he even wants a slice or two left over because that’s what he’ll have for breakfast.
One year, I filled his Christmas stocking with a rolling pin, a couple of pie plates and the 1965 Farm Journal’s Complete Pie Cookbook. “What do you expect me to do with these?” he asked, looking perplexed. “Eat the pies I make for you when I visit,” I answered. He looked at my mom, who didn’t consider herself much of a pie maker, and grinned.
Thus originated our pie-a-day tradition. Even allowing for breakfast leftovers, we couldn’t eat whole pies ourselves so my folks took to inviting friends for pie and coffee each evening. Word got ‘round and Dad started taking requests. Rhubarb custard pie. Blueberry Sour Cream Pie. Raspberry pie. Apple Pie. Fresh Peach Pie.
The pie remembered most, luckily with at least rueful laughter, is a date-oatmeal pie, a sticky-sweet, disgusting concoction forever banished to the waste bin.
Still, it’s no wonder Dad’s face lights up when I step off the plane: visions of pie!
FROZEN CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER PIE
Freezer time: Minimum 1 hour
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
- 3/4 cup chocolate or plain graham cracker crumbs (about 6 crackers or 90g)
- 1/4 cup (60g) sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 4 tablespoons) butter, melted
- 1/4 cup (60g) sugar
- 4 ounces (113g) reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
- 1/2 cup (140g) reduced-fat peanut butter
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/4 cup (175ml) whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ounce (30g) semi-sweet chocolate, melted
CRUST Combine crust ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Transfer to a 10” tart pan with a removable bottom and press evenly onto bottom and sides. Place in freezer while making filling.
FILLING With an electric mixer, cream sugar, cream cheese, peanut butter and vanilla until smooth in a medium mixing bowl. Separately, whip cream and cinnamon until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream gently into peanut butter mixture. Spoon about 2/3 of filling over crust. With the back of a spoon, spread mixture evenly without disturbing the crust.
Drizzle half the melted chocolate over filling. With the tines of a fork, swirl chocolate into filling. Spoon remaining filling over top and spread evenly. Drizzle with remaining chocolate.
FREEZE Freeze at least 1 hour, preferably longer.
TO SERVE Cut and transfer slices to plates while frozen. Soften slightly before serving, about 10 minutes.
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