Today I’m eating leftover creamy peanut butter pie with a very heavy heart. I whipped up this pie and made it gluten-free in honor of Jennie Perillo’s husband, Mikey, who suddenly, shockingly, passed away this week. Jennie is a food blogger and mom to two in Brooklyn, and she has asked that we make Mikey’s favorite pie (which is crazy delicious, by the way) in remembrance of her husband today. I don’t know Jennie — or Mikey — but Jennie and I have some virtual friends in common, and I can’t help but think when I was in the middle of NYC publishing we crossed paths. But she’s certainly familiar. And so the loss of her husband to a heart attack feels personal, and too close to home.
Up until last year, I was also a Brooklyn mom with two kids. Jennie and I have similar networks, we probably played with our kids in the same parks, shopped in the same grocery stores, had the same stresses about pre-schools, PSP, and whether or not to join the food co-op. Though I’ve never met her, I’m feeling intensely protective of her, and mourning her tremendous loss. After all, I’m a mom and a wife terrified of losing what I’m so incredibly lucky to have.
Watching Mikey dancing with his daughter shortly before his death was beautiful. And a painful reminder of how we can take our loved ones for granted. So as much as this pie is in support of Mikey (and it is), it was also a way of reminding me to be incredibly grateful for my own amazing partner in all of this craziness, and my best friend. My husband lost a young dad friend last year to a heart attack, like Mikey, and has high cholesterol himself. Which is why I shouldn’t have even made this awesome pie, because my husband shouldn’t go near it with a ten-foot fork. Yet, we’re going to chow down on this rad pie, with my sister-in-law and her brand spanking new fiance, to celebrate unions between people who adore each other, and always will.
My daughter helped me by sneaking Kinnickinnick’s gluten-free chocolate critter cookies that I used for the crust. So if the crust is lacking, it’s because a lot of the cookies are in her belly.
Here’s how to make this amazing peanut butter pie gluten-free. Share it with someone you love.
Gluten-Free Creamy Peanut Butter Pie
Prep time: 20 minutes Total time: 35 minutes, plus 3 hours to set
adapted from In Jennie’s Kitchen
8 ounces gluten-free 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
1. Add the gluten-free 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
Makes: 10 pieces