We bloggers secretly vie with each other for posting the most chirpy sounding pieces of writing, overflowing with happiness simply because a happy post spreads cheer, Soft focus photographs of food and the drool inducing descriptions thereof. It is seldom that we want to touch a topic such as loss. The first time I saw a food related article that talked about death was Chef Raghavan Iyers tribute to his late father in the food magazine Gastronomica. Food related to funerary events are seldom discussed in blogs, and not many have the courage to post these, and I'm no exception. It is a HARD topic to discuss gastronomically.
Food52 has a regular monday feature called Jenny's in the kitchen, by Jenny Steinhauer, a LA based correspondent for the New York Times. The details of the dish she highlighted are fuzzy, (her choices are usually fabulous, like the Feta, basil & Mint Pesto that I had posted a couple of days ago) what stood out was the heartbreaking news that a fellow blogger Jennifer Perrillo had lost her husband to a sudden heart attack.
Jennifer Perrillo is a Brooklyn based recipe developer & Food blogger. One of her memorable recipes posted, for fresh homemade ricotta, is what I instantly associate her with. It looked good enough to dip a finger & scoop out of the screen! Her way of paying tribute to Mikey, her late husband, was to make his favorite peanut butter pie. Her recipe (which is vegetarian) can be found on her blog link. This recipe is adapted from hers, although I did take enough shortcuts.
Cardamom & Saffron flavored Peanut Butter Pie.
1 readymade8 inch frozen Pie shell
1 bar Godiva Dark chocolate with mint
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup plain full fat cream cheese
1/2 cup condensed milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds
10-12 strands saffron
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
Chocolate curls for decorating (mine were rather straight)
In 300 F oven bake the frozen pie shell till its golden brown.
Melt the chocolate bar (break it into little pieces first) along with the butter (microwave in a glass bowl for ~ 1 minute). Using a silicone brush, brush the chocolate onto the bottom & the sides of the baked pie shell. Place in refrigerator, while you prepare the filling.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the peanut butter, cream cheese & confectioners sugar till smooth. add the condensed milk & cardamom powder & mix to combine well.
Combine the saffron & the heavy cream in a separate bowl & whip using a beater till stiff peaks form.
Add about 1/3rd of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture & fold in. (it makes incorporating the rest of the cream easier). add the remaining cream. Ladle the mixture onto the cold pie shell and refrigerate at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
As I take Panfusine across to India for the next month, I'll be thinking of you & your girls Jennie, and saying a little prayer for your family at each temple I visit. Thank you Jenny Hartin, Shauna Ahern & Food52 for bringing out the human, the empathy & caring in each one of us bloggers.