Intro

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It had been on the calendar for over a week but in an instant this date night felt particularly important.

Last Sunday a dear blog friend lost her husband. One moment he was a husband and father to two sweet, young girls and then suddenly he was gone.

Hearing this news took my breath away. The pain I felt for Jennie and her family was deep and lacking in the words I wanted so badly to comfort her with.

There are no words. I continue to seek them but nothing can illustrate the sorrow, the pain, and the sympathy.

I quickly was struck with the reality of how much I take for granted and that this life hangs by a mere thread, a moment. In an instant your everything that has become such a part of your daily existence could be gone. What I anticipate and rely on to be with me on this day, this year, and this lifetime could just as easily vanish like a passing wind. It’s not the thought of my own mortality that scares me but the thought of being left on this earth without someone I love so deeply. That thought is too much to bare.

And that is Jennie’s reality. There have been many moments throughout the week where I have sat staring at my computer screen trying so desperately to think of something, anything, I could do.

Then she posted this. Peanut Butter Pie. It was his favorite.

It was something I could do. A way to honor this man, Jennie’s husband.

With each stir of the spoon and fold of the spatula I thought about Jennie and the man she lost. As I crumbled the cookies and stirred in melted butter I prayed for his girls. As the chocolate shavings rained down over the top of the pie I thought of my own husband and thanked God for this moment I have with him. I am not guaranteed another one but for now he’s here and we have this night and this pie.

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Preparing each course of the meal felt poignant. I took my time as I carefully layered each potato into our potato cake. I felt the warmth of the sun on my back as I gathered the tarragon, thyme, mint, and coriander seeds from the garden. Setting the table with multiple layers of dishes, cloth napkins, and candles informed us that this time was to be taken slowly, enjoyed, and savored.

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The meal was simple but the purpose was powerful.

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We talked, laughed and enjoyed one another’s company. Then we ate pie. Two forks, one pie. We both felt the weight of the significance of the pie. There were moments of no words as we let the sweet, cool bite swallow any words we tried to muster. Breaking the silence we laughed about Gabe’s precise eating style as he carefully tried to make the pie appear as if it wasn’t being devoured by two forks rather than being cut into appropriate pieces. I, on the other hand, simply ravaged the pie, letting the mess be what it is as I enjoyed that moment.

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I hope for more dates with my husband. If it were up to me there will be dozens of more pies eaten together, straight from the pan. But it’s not up to me and I’m okay with that because I trust the one who is in charge. I do know that I have now and I pray that the impact of this moment will be carried with me for a very long time and I will try so very hard to not take the things and people that exist in my everyday for granted.

Particularly my husband. I vow to give more loving glances, more heartfelt “I love you’s”, more gentle kisses, and more peanut butter pie.

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie

adapted, slightly, from Jennifer Perillo

Serves 10 to 12

8 ounces chocolate cookies (I used a recipe for Brave Tarts Fauxreo’s)

4 tablespoons butter, melted

2 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

1/4 cup chopped peanuts

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

5 oz mascarpone

3 oz sour cream

1 cup creamy-style peanut butter

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350*

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 pie pan. Bake the crust for about 15 minutes, until set and crisp. Add the chocolate to the warm crust and let the residual heat melt the chocolate. Spread the chocolate with a spatula and sprinkle the peanuts on top.

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 mascarpone, sour cream 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 salt. 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 another ⅓ of the whipped cream.  Reserve the remaining whipped cream to top the pie. Pour the filling into the prepared pie pan.  Using a microplane, grate chocolate on top of the pie, if desired, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving. Serve with remaining whipped cream.

Green Coriander Dressing

This is for true cilantro lovers as the green coriander packs a floral punch.

1 tsp green coriander seeds

1 tablespoon champagne vinegar

1 teaspoon fine mustard (such as Maille)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon mascarpone or heavy cream

1 tablespoon minced shallot

salt and pepper

In a morter and pestle crush the green coriander. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

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Potato Cake

adapted from Nigel Slater

5 (or so) potatoes (I used new potatoes)

1 red pepper

1 small onion

1 stick butter, melted

5 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed

salt and pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 400*

Slice all the vegetables very thin. A mandoline will make this job a breeze.

Butter a loaf pan and line with parchment so that the parchment hangs over the edge.

Start with a few layers of potatoes adding butter, a few thyme leaves, and a pinch of salt and pepper over each layer. When you deem necessary add a layer of red pepper, then onion.

Continue layering the vegetables, butter, thyme and salt and pepper.

Bake for about an hour or until the top is golden and the potatoes are tender when a knife is inserted through the middle.

Remove from the oven and let cool about 10 minutes before trying to transfer the cake to a plate.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Peanut Butter Pie // Green Coriander Dressing // Potato Cake

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie

adapted, slightly, from Jennifer Perillo

Serves 10 to 12

8 ounces chocolate cookies (I used a recipe for Brave Tarts Fauxreo’s)

4 tablespoons butter, melted

2 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

1/4 cup chopped peanuts

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

5 oz mascarpone

3 oz sour cream

1 cup creamy-style peanut butter

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350*

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 pie pan. Bake the crust for about 15 minutes, until set and crisp. Add the chocolate to the warm crust and let the residual heat melt the chocolate. Spread the chocolate with a spatula and sprinkle the peanuts on top.

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 mascarpone, sour cream 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 salt. 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 another ⅓ of the whipped cream.  Reserve the remaining whipped cream to top the pie. Pour the filling into the prepared pie pan.  Using a microplane, grate chocolate on top of the pie, if desired, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving. Serve with remaining whipped cream.

 

Green Coriander Dressing

This is for true cilantro lovers as the green coriander packs a floral punch.

1 tsp green coriander seeds

1 tablespoon champagne vinegar

1 teaspoon fine mustard (such as Maille)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon mascarpone or heavy cream

1 tablespoon minced shallot

salt and pepper

In a morter and pestle crush the green coriander. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

 

Potato Cake

adapted from Nigel Slater

5 (or so) potatoes (I used new potatoes)

1 red pepper

1 small onion

1 stick butter, melted

5 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed

salt and pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 400*

Slice all the vegetables very thin. A mandoline will make this job a breeze.

Butter a loaf pan and line with parchment so that the parchment hangs over the edge.

Start with a few layers of potatoes adding butter, a few thyme leaves, and a pinch of salt and pepper over each layer. When you deem necessary add a layer of red pepper, then onion.

Continue layering the vegetables, butter, thyme and salt and pepper.

Bake for about an hour or until the top is golden and the potatoes are tender when a knife is inserted through the middle.

Remove from the oven and let cool about 10 minutes before trying to transfer the cake to a plate.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

73 Responses to “Dating My Husband: Peanut Butter Pie”

  1. Sprinkling of Sugar

    WOW what a pie! It’s absolutely gorgeous!!! I’ve been in a bit of a peanut butter rut thinking of only the ways I put it on my dog’s bone for his added enjoyment, but this post has inspired me!

    Reply
  2. kickpleat

    This is so beautiful! Unfortunately, I’m not baking a pie but I love the spirit behind this and it’s true that we should enjoy all our instances and hug one another a little tighter.

    Reply
  3. Laken

    I agree with what you said — that it’s not our own mortality that is so heartbreaking, but the thought of losing someone we love. It hurts to even think about, much less live through.

    A beautiful post. And my deepest prayers are with your friend and her family.

    Reply
  4. Corey @ Learning Patience

    Beautifully written! I read all about this yesterday and it brougth tears to my eyes. Going to read her blog to my husband this evening – everyone needs a reminder to enjoy – slow down and not work so much.

    Reply
  5. Mike

    Beautiful. The words. The date. The meal. Keep sharing life with one another and doing what you do. Life is as beautiful as your words when you let someone know how much you love them.

    Reply
  6. tracy

    Wow. Just wow. Thank you for the reminder to enjoy every little second I get with my husband. This was so beautifully written, Ash!

    Reply
  7. Sis

    “We don’t know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future.”

    Beautiful post. Thank you.

    Reply
  8. Tracy @ the traveling cupcake

    So beautifully written. Thank you for sharing. Jennifer is lucky to have such a wonderful support group

    Reply
  9. sarah

    So beautiful. Thank you for sharing this. I have been thinking about this loss all week as well, so thankful for my family and this time.

    Reply
  10. Maia

    A beautiful, compassionate tribute. Made me think of how grateful I am for my own peanut-butter-loving husband. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  11. Snippets of Thyme

    A heartfelt sentiment echoed over this blog land over and over. I am so glad that I am joining this family of food bloggers this year. I admire the bonds that I see from afar. Your photos and spirit behind your writing is beautiful.

    Reply
  12. Danielle

    This is too sweet and too beautiful. Life does hang by a mere thread, and all we have is the moment. Wishing you and Gabe many more pie-sharing moments! xo

    Reply
  13. Buccinator

    What a beautiful post. I cried reading this and smiled in anticipation of eating my peanut butter pie tonight with my fiancé. May there be many, many, many more pies shared with many more people for all of us.

    Reply
  14. Dana

    So many goodies here, not the least of which is the writing and the photos. That potato cake is breathtaking.

    Reply
  15. Maria

    Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. I am going on a date with my husband tonight. Life is so precious. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jennie and her family.

    Reply
  16. Meghan

    Today was my first time on your blog, and what a first post to read. It brought tears to my eyes reading your heartfelt and poignant tribute to your sweet friend. I’m sure everyone who reads this will send up a little prayer for comfort for his family and friends. God bless.

    Reply
  17. Barbara | Creative Culinary

    Such a beautiful post; I just love the photo of your husband with the pie and a fork. My clients can wait; I’ve spent the day with these posts and I’m overwhelmed by the heartfelt emotions and the reminder of how we show our love with the care we put into the food we make.

    Reply
  18. Cheryl_Arkison

    Stunning piece.
    And I love the description of you two eating the pie with two forks and no plates. Perfect for a couple, perfect for the mood. Perfect.

    Reply
  19. Kelsey

    This is an absolutely beautiful tribute and reflection. Time together is precious, let this be a reminder to us all.

    Reply
  20. Kasey

    Beautiful words, beautiful photos. Thank you for the poignant reminder to be more love-y and a little softer about the everyday.

    Reply
  21. Lucia

    We often forget about the importance of Today. It’s the only thing that we have, the Present, and we should savour it, even if we’re sad, or angry, or sick. Because we’re alive, and this is the most important thing.

    Reply
  22. Crystal Malek

    Beautiful post, and so heartbreaking. I agree, not too afraid of my own mortality, but losing someone I love seems too much. Yet, I allow myself to get caught up in so many things that are really meaningless, stealing away valuable time I could spend just loving them. Thanks for the reminder, and I’ll be making that pie tonight. Prayers for Jennie’s family, as well.

    Reply
  23. MG Atwood

    Lovely post. Very heartfelt. The sadness is very much felt. Enjoy your family today, tomorrow, and the next. We never know how long we have. So true.

    Reply
  24. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    So touching… to take this event and make something so special out of it. I think we could all learn to enjoy life a bit more… so easily we become angry, sarcastic, bitter… especially with our loved ones. But what good does that do? And you never know how long it will all last. So why not enjoy it, right?

    Reply
  25. kristin @ contented me

    what a beautiful tribute to your friend. i never knew of Jennie’s blog, but I did link through, and I am sitting here crying as I read her recent posts. Thanks for reminding me how important everything in my life is — and the idea that it’s not permanent. I am most definitely going to be making a pb pie for my family.

    Reply
  26. Allie Peach

    Our cilantro just died out after going to seed… I can’t believe I wasted all of those beautiful coriander seeds! If only I had seen this a couple of weeks ago.

    Reply
  27. Jo Green

    Thanks for this beautiful post. It is always important to make time for those we love and cherish. I hope you had a nice date night with your husband, and my heart goes out to your friend who lost hers.

    Reply
  28. Megan Gordon

    We are so lucky to have this community, aren’t we? Beautiful post, Ashley. No words, enjoying the silence, messes, and eating pie out of the pan — with each other. That’s lucky, too. xox.

    Reply
  29. meg jones wall

    beautiful post. i don’t know jennie, but i’ve read a number of blog posts from her foodie friends and it’s so amazing to see all the support and love out there for her. my prayers go out for her and her family.

    Reply
  30. The Cilantropist

    This post was so beautiful, both in prose and in photos. I think it is hard for us to begin to understand these feelings of loss, so I suppose the most important thing we can do is love and hug (and feed) those that we hold most dear. Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply
  31. Lara

    I can relate so much with your post. This summer I have had two co-workers lose very young children to car accidents. I stared at the screen for such a long time trying to think of something comforting to say. By cooking for your friend you shared a little bit of you while honoring her husband. I am sure it was very appreciated.

    Reply
  32. Emily

    Thank you for this post. It’s beautiful in every way, and I’m grateful for your flawless depiction of the depth of connection through sharing food.

    Reply

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