Right now, I’m on a mini road trip from Little Rock, Arkansas to Austin, Texas. Don’t worry, I’m not the one driving as I write this. I’ve been traveling as much as ever, without a kitchen most days, save for the times when friends and family let me take over theirs. As many people witnessed, the food blogging world erupted in Peanut Butter Pies on Friday. It was to hold up our friend Jennifer Perillo who lost her husband very suddenly last week at much too young an age, and to honor him in the process. You see, Peanut Butter Pie was his favorite, and what better way for food bloggers to come together to support one of our own, than to cook together.

I was overwhelmed by the Twitter feed #apieformikey on Friday and the pictures of Peanut Butter Pies being baked and presented simultaneously around the world; a small way to walk alongside Jennie during her husband’s memorial service. I was also sad that I was sitting on an airplane as I read it, and unable to make one too.

When I first got the email with the news about Jennifer’s loss, I was driving down the highway to a scary place I call the mall, anxious about something trivial (what I was going to wear for my book cover shoot). I think I stopped breathing for about a minute. Things seem so impossibly unfair and illogical sometimes. And it took me back to that feeling I had in January, when I lost someone close to me suddenly in a plane crash. I immediately felt that overwhelming feeling again that I knew she must be feeling in that moment… the utter shock that was so overwhelming that it is almost too much to swallow at once.

I wrote Jennie later that day with tears streaming down my face and told her all that I’d learned from losing suddenly. I said that I knew that there was nothing I could say that would make it better.  Except that my best friend, who had lost her mother, told me something that I’d always held onto during the hardest moments. She said that I had to accept that it was going to be really, impossibly hard for a while. That I couldn’t resist it. But that she promised it would get easier. And I held onto that thread all the way through until I could breath again.

When I got off the plane in Little Rock I drove through Texas and stopped off to say hello to my relatives. I showed them a video tribute by White On Rice Couple and told them the beautiful thing that was happening and they said, “well, do you want to make a peanut butter pie?”

And so we did. We made a peanut butter pie and shared it with friends.

This is for Jennie, for Mikey, for their daughters, for my friend Kristen at Dine & Dish who lost her brother two nights ago. It is for everyone else who has loved and lost and struggled through and tried to make sense of it all.

The Peanut Butter Pies that popped up everywhere represent all that is good about humanity and how we can come together in a time of hardship. And I’m glad to be part of it all, as imperfect and trying as it can be, it is also wonderful.

“Peanut Butter Pie”

(from In Jennie's Kitchen)
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 10 -12 servings


  • 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 the bowl of a stand mixer or hand mixer and beat 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 (this 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.