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Jennie & Mikey Perillo

There are those moments when you wish you could turn back time, and know what awaits you in the months, weeks, days, moments ahead. If you could only be fully conscious that a quick good-bye would be the last time you gazed at the one who makes your world complete, what would you say? What would you do over? How would you slow down time and savor that last cherished interaction so that it could somehow last you a lifetime? Questions I continue to ask myself, in light of those I’ve lost.

Last month, I received a note from my friend Jennie, a note that revealed tragic news, that has made my heart sink countless times – her husband, Mikey, had unexpectedly passed away while helping their daughter ride her bike. He told her he needed to sit for a moment, then keeled over from a massive heart attack. It was undoubtedly a nightmare of the worst kind- reality. I can’t put a silver lining on it, I know that in an instant her world changed.

In the time that has followed, she has shared her grief, frustration, fears and sorrow. Jennie also shared something special to Mikey. He loved for her to make his favorite Peanut Butter Pie. She held a tribute to him that was both impactful and heartwarming. On August 12th, everyone gathered in their respective hometowns and made Mikey’s favorite pie to support Jennie and their girls and share in his memory. This pie was photographed and shared on hundreds of blogs until an enormous ripple of pie had been felt. Mikey, a person whom many will never know, was cherished and thought about in an indescribable act of loving foodness.

I regrettably wasn’t able to join Jennie and her girls that day, but I watched as sites like, Food Network, LA Times, Tastespotting and Foodgawker picked up Jennie’s story and tribute. I was touched by videos made by fellow food bloggers and funds that were set up to help their family. Mikey would have smiled to know that Jennie and their girls were thought about and loved with such an outpouring of pie stories, Facebook posts, and photos shared for her and for her true love.

While I am here to share with you Jennie’s Love Pie, I wanted to also share with you a piece of my love and affection for Jennie. I believe that the greatest gift you can give someone that has lost an important person in her life is thought – keeping his memory alive, sharing tears and stories and eventually laughter again. Jennie and Mikey were great together, they made a beautiful family together and he encouraged her to be the food blogger that she is today. I believe that this is only part of Jennie’s story, and I have a feeling that it will be this love that propels her to discover the next part of her story. I know Jennie is strong, and kind, and loving and that in time, she will laugh again and know that she is not alone even in a room full of people. Jenny this post is for you, to give you strength, as I watch and read you making all of Mikey’s favorite dishes, may you draw on all the good things that are surrounding you in this difficult time and know that you had what many can only hope to find. You had a very special love. Today I make your Love Pie, and share it with my blogger friends because stories shared are memories kept alive. #JennieLovePie

To learn how you can help me, help Jennie, please read to the end of this post.

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie

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. (photo cooking essay below)

Serves 10-12


This is where YOU can help. A few wonderful ladies founded a non-profit charity organization called Bloggers Without Borders, which helps people in need during crisis. Their first official project is called #AFundForJennie. The purpose of this project is simple – raise money to help Jennie with her bills as she painfully transitions to life as a widow and single mom. There are two ways to donate: (1) Click on the donate button below to contribute or (2) For every comment you share on Bowl Licker, I will donate to this fund. Share it and make me pay! “What can you say?” you ask. Comment if you’ve baked this pie, if you have some nice words for Jennie or just want to share your thoughts on this post. I’ve learned that blogging can make a difference but only when and if there are others reading your words. Thank you for reading!

Donate to Bloggers Without Borders

Pie enjoyed with our friend Ava.

24 Replies to “Jennie’s Love Pie – Peanut Butter Pie With A Purpose”

  1. I’m commenting, just to make you pay. 🙂 I made the pie last month while the kids were at their nonnie’s house, but surprise! Not a single crumb was here when they got back. Out of guilt, I bought the supplies to make it again. Hopefully this time they’ll get a slice.

  2. I am definitely going to make this pie sometime soon and think of their family. Its very touching to see how the blogging community has come together to support Jennie and her family. Her blog and Twitter posts have been quite moving and poignant.

    Thanks for posting, Gina. And pay up! 🙂

  3. This is such a lovely tribute, I cry each time I read one of Jennie’s posts, they are so touching. I think it’s my turn to make Mikey’s pie.

  4. Wow what a beautiful tribute Gina. It took my breath away as tears sprung out when I read what happened. I would love to make this pie soon in honor of Mikey and his family. It sounds delicious!
    God bless you and your girls Jennie.

  5. Amazing story, thank you for sharing Gina. We will make the pie this weekend and I know the house full of sugar nuts will love it. We will think of Jennie and Mikey and their family. We will be wishing Jennie and the girls peaceful days ahead full of healing and memories.

  6. Thank you for such a moving tribute to support Jennie. It must be very hard to have such a lovely husband, and then instantly he is just gone. The pie looks divine. Blessings, Joan

  7. I found Jennie’s blog yesterday and began reading through her last few posts. I could not stop the tears that fell from my eyes, both in hurting for Jennie and her girls and in hurting for myself. I have two kids and one on the way and I can not imagine losing my husband and father to my babies. Her story has touched me and made me want to grab mine and hold them close while I still am able. Jennie I am so sorry for your loss and I pray for your strength through this terrible time.

  8. That was a beautiful tribute. I will keep them all in my thoughts and prayers and think of them when I make the pie.

  9. Until Jennie, until Mikey, I never thought much about peanut butter pie. And now I will never look at one the same again. I’m inspired, not only by Jennie’s grace, strength, and brutal honesty, but by the outpouring of love and support in the food blogging universe as people have (virtually) rallied around her. So much love, so many pies. Who knew that such a humble dessert could become a symbol of strength and unity. As for your pie, it’s anything but humble–what a beautiful, scrumptious tribute.

  10. Looking forward to trying your pie. PB Pie is my husband’s favorite. Jennie’s story and the reaction from the blogging community has been touching and truly amazing. Good to see your tribute as well. You’re the best!

  11. I lost my father to a heart attack when I was 18, so my thoughts have been with Jennie ever since I heard about what happened. I know how hard it can be on everyone when you lose someone unexpectedly and at a young age. I’m glad the blogging community is still thinking about her and helping her through this!

  12. I know exactly what you meant when you said you wished you had that last goodbye, or kiss, or smile..this is a very sad story and a very special tribute..can’t wait to make the pie…I only wish I could see Uncle Joe roll his eyes in delight if he could taste it…Jennie, I’ll pray for your strength when I pray for mine

  13. Thanks for a lovely post and tribute. It’s never too late to make #apieformikey, is it? I was touched this morning to hear from a long-lost high school friend that he’d made Jennie’s creamy peanut butter pie this weekend for a friend’s 50th birthday party. [I’d posted a picture on Facebook of the one I made in August.] It’s a fabulous pie and you know why? Everyone who’s made it made it with love, starting with Jennie.

  14. I liked this post. It made me think about my grandma’s cooking and how much I miss her and her cooking so much. When I cook some of the dishes she used to make it makes me think about her and know that I was loved.

  15. I made this pie on that unforgettable Friday. In fact, I was so moved by Jennifer’s words, I hired a babysitter for a date night with my husband. Mikey’s pie was our dessert. I have met Jennifer, never knew Mikey, but I am a wife and mother and that is enough to feel her heartbreak.

    – LTV Mom

  16. What a beautiful post, and tribute, Gina. Some time I will have to make Love Pie for my family and explain the story behind it…making new memories with one that is so special to your food blogging community, you and your friend.

  17. This is a beautiful post, Gina. I definitely want to join in and plan to make the Love Pie soon. I am definitely moved by this heartbreaking story and its amazing tribute!

  18. i want to donate as well. When i click on that link, the paypal page just says to donate to “Bloggers without borders”. how do i make sure that this donation goes directly to Jennie? I want to help so bad. Her posts have made me cry and I’m so sad for her and I just pray that she has the strength to keep going. I have nothing but compassion and love for her young daughters too.

  19. This is my first time commenting on anything such as this and I’m always up to help out for a good cause! The story was hear-warmingly touching and the pie looks so amazing that I am going to save this recipe for a rainy day (which probably will be this wknd). My thoughts and prayers go out to Jennie and all who have lost someone special!!

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