Wish Upon A Dish: A Belated Pie for Mikey

September 13, 2011

A Belated Pie for Mikey

With everything going on here this last month, I am surprised I still kept a personal promise to make A Pie for Mikey.

I did not know Jennifer Perillo personally but was introduced to her over at Food52 through her writing about, what else, food. A little over 30 days ago, while walking down the street with his daughter, he suddenly fell and never got up. A young man, beloved husband and Daddy, gone without warning. My heart immediately went out to her and her young family.

I am not an established blogger with a following so running an auction would have depressed me more then it would actually help someone. I can not bake, I haven't crafted in 10 years and I certainly can not style food so I really had nothing to contribute but a financial pledge and to make this pie.

Somehow I felt compelled to do something on my blog to acknowledge this tragedy and the awesome blogging community's efforts to raise money to help two fatherless little girls and their mother. The one thing I can do is make cheesecakes, so that's what I did with the recipe.

I made a Chocolate Peanut Cheesecake for Mikey.

The problem when dealing with peanut butter is to lighten it up while keeping the tartness from the cheese that we love so much in a cheesecake. Too heavy and it is inedible. The original recipe called for whipped cream added to the PB, cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. That's a lot of smucking right there.

I thought about this problem for a few days and when I was ready to finally try my creation I decided on pureed cottage cheese instead of the whipped cream.

It is tangy, creamy, low-fat and puree's beautifully.

I will post the recipe as written and then tell you what I changed.

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie
Serves 10 to 12

* 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 (8oz 1% fat large curd cottage cheese)
* 8 ounces cream cheese
* (I added 2 eggs)
* 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk (I omitted this totally)
* 1 cup creamy-style peanut butter
* 1 cup confectioners sugar (I used granulated sugar)
* 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 spring form pan (I used 4 mini cheesecake pans).

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. (I pureed the cottage cheese in a blender or use an immersion hand blender until completely smooth).

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 sugar. Add the sweetened condensed milk (I omitted this, just mix the lemon and vanilla), 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. (I mix the eggs with the sugar and then into the cottage cheese and then into the peanut butter mixture).

Pour the filling into the prepared spring form pan. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top, if using, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.

I chopped another 1/3 cup honey roasted peanuts and sprinkled that over the chocolate while it was still warm.

If you love peanut butter and chocolate (and come on, really, who doesn't?) you will adore the original version of this pie...BUT if you love peanut butter chocolate cheesecake make it my way, share it with family and friends, cut a piece and be thankful we are here to enjoy it.

After all, isn't that the reason for making this pie?

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