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Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart- for Jennie

Life sometimes changes in an instant. What you are experiencing right now could be completely different without any notice. Your world could be turned upside down. Would you be ready if your reality were to change in the blink of an eye? Is anyone ever ready?
My world changed this year. In a moment, I went from being in what I considered excellent health to being someone with cancer. I wrote about it and was overwhelmed with the support I received from people I never met. People wrote me sharing their cancer experiences. Some people sent me direct messages on twitter saying they were praying for me. Some friends I never met said they were praying for me every day to heal.  I was overwhelmed with the support I received from the food blogging community.  My new friends lifted my spirits and put a smile on my face when all I felt like doing was crawling deeper into my dark cave. My friends provided light in my days full of fear and darkness. I can’t thank you all enough for your friendship. 

One of the people that wrote me and would check on me was my friend Jennie. I never met Jennie, but she cared about me and my well-being.  Many of you already may know the tragic story of how Mikey, Jennie’s husband, passed away this last weekend. Jennie and her little girl’s lives changed in an instant. Jennie’s world was turned upside-down.  

Jennie is a woman of more strength than I possess. She wrote about Mikey this week and their last date in a touching post. She wrote about how making Mikey a peanut butter pie was on her to-do list and she never got the chance to make it for him. Jennie wrote her readers asking us to make a peanut butter pie for our loved ones and hug them like there’s no tomorrow for today is the only guarantee we can count on. I’m one of the many in this loving food blogging community that is posting today to show support for Jennie. 

I made this pie soon after I found out my news and chose it as a pie recipe to share in honor of Mikey. Yesterday I baked vanilla cupcakes with Nutella buttercream frosting with Gabriella for the kids and their cousins here from Italy. Soon after, my mom arrived with a dozen jumbo-sized chocolate chip cookies. There was an overload of sweets in our house today while we were getting ready for a road trip to North Carolina.

I saw Jennie’s tweet about her asking everyone to make a peanut butter pie and decided to re-post this recipe from March. I hope y’all don’t mind. It’s an amazing pie. This pie is for Jennie and Mikey. This pie is for the ones I love.
Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart with Caramel Drizzle
recipe from: Rachel Ray Magazine
serves approx.: 8
  • 2 cups broken salted pretzel sticks (I used salted pretzels-yum!)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter—6 tablespoons melted and cooled, 3 tablespoons softened and 2 tablespoons chilled
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart with Caramel Drizzle
Preheat the oven to 350°. Using a food processor, finely grind the pretzels, 1/4 cup brown sugar.
Transfer to a bowl, then stir in the melted butter. Press evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
Bake until light brown around the edges, about 18 minutes. Let cool on a rack.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter and softened butter at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 1 minute.
Beat in the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar.
In a separate bowl, beat 1 cup heavy cream with the vanilla until soft peaks form.
Fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture.
With a spatula spread this gorgeous peanut butter mixture in the tart shell.
Cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours. I popped the bottom out of the sides of the tart pan. I left it the bottom on the tart pan and it was very messy when cutting. But DELICIOUS! All the salty yumminess from the pretzels mixed with the peanut butter/whipped cream mixture.
Here is mio amore: my sweet love Fabrizio. Gabriella, our daughter, took this photo of us this summer in Italy. This morning I couldn’t sleep. I listened to Fabrizio’s peaceful and rhythmic breathing. Thoughts of Jennie were filling my head again. I felt an immense sadness thinking of how Jennie is in such pain for losing the love of her life. In the dark, I reached over and gently touched Fabrizio’s hand and his fingers entwined around mine. 
There are many reasons why I love Fabrizio. Probably the reason top on my list is because he is an incredible father. He loves to be silly and laugh with the kids. He always says I’m too serious and I should not stress over little things. I’ve learned that he is right.
Here they are in Aosta this summer all showing their muscles for the photo.
Fabrizio and his mom Teresa getting ready to cook this summer in Italy. Luca was checking out the “fishy”.
Fabrizio and little Luca…my two handsome men. I am grateful.

One of the walks to church this summer in Italy. Father and daughter sharing stories on the short scenic stroll. The smell of rosemary, lavender, and roses filled the air as I took photos of the scenery. My heart filled with pride and joy as I watched them walking sweetly in front of me.

Dear Jennie, keep strong. You are surrounded by friends that love you.

Thank you for reminding us to cherish our loves.

Thank you for sharing your love for Mikey with us. Please check out Amanda from I am Mommy's delicious post and links to other peanut butter pies.


  1. Beautiful tribute to family and friends and very lovely and heartwarming photos

  2. Sweet n' salty an d delightful. I love it.

  3. What a beautiful post. Keeping Jennie and her family in our prayers. Thank you.

  4. Beautiful post Lora, brought tears to my eyes. This community is special. I'm so happy to have it in my life.

    I enjoyed looking at your family photos. I also really enjoyed looking at the tart. :P

    Big hugs beautiful!!

  5. What a beautiful post Lora. How nice of you to dedicate this pie for your friend. I could imagine how devastating is to loose your love one. My prayer to Jennie and her family. I am sure Fabrizio has had more than usual hugs this week. God bless your beautiful family. Enjoy your trip to N. Carolina.


  6. Such a wonderful post Lora. A great tribute and heartwarming photos of your family.

  7. Beautiful post... Love your take on the peanut butter pie for Mikey.

  8. makes me weep Lora - luv you bunches and bunches! am SO HAPPY you are healthy and here to share this gorgeous pie!! XO

  9. Such a beautiful post Lora. That's all I can really say.

  10. Beautiful post Lora, love your photos and sentiments, pie looks amazingly good.
    Have a great weekend;-)

  11. So beautiful! I love all of the pictures of your family. So glad you are better these days too.

  12. Hi Lora,
    such a beautiful post. I found out today about Jeannie's loss. I felt so powerless.
    Few days ago we went through a horrifying experience that changed out lives forever. We were dealing with a medical error and feared we might lose our precious daughter.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. we should see only the beautiful things in life, we never know what the next second might bring.

  13. What a touching post for your friend. I'm sure Jennie is touched by your words and your pie. Your family is beautiful, Lora.

  14. This post is beautiful. And perfect. And so is the pie :) Happy weekend! I love knowing that you will have it to spend with your loved ones :)

  15. There's a saying *in the end, all we have is family* but it's not so. We have community too and I'm so grateful to be a part of this online community that so willingly shares its love and support. Beautiful post.

  16. Beautiful post! Very touching and it reminds us all to be grateful and live each day that is given to us, to its fullest!

  17. Beautiful tribute. My thoughts have been circling around Jennie as well. I didn't know her all that well, but I do know that it's a very scary thought, to lose the love of your life. Perhaps my Mike would appreciate a peanut butter something too...just because...I can never tell the ones I love enough, how much I love them. Thank you for the inspiring post. Your family is beautiful. Your words ring with love.

  18. Lovely tribute post...a very shocking and sad event.

  19. hi Lora, this is such a beautiful post. This tart is definately a sweet tribute. thank you for sharing.

  20. Wonderful, beautiful post. The photos are fabulous! I love the idea of the pretzel crust.

  21. Oh, wonderful post! Thanks for the photos of your family, it's good to know them. You have wonderful and beautiful children!

  22. Very touching post and tribute...I never met Jennie, and didn't know her blog until this tragedy..she touched us all..
    Very beautiful pie, delicious..
    Your pictures Lora are so beautiful just like your family!

  23. What a gorgeous family you have. Jennie's tragedy touched me deeply, to the point where I cried for hours for her and her girls. It's unfathomable that I'd wake up one morning with my husband, and go to bed that night without him. Unfathomable.

    You're so right - everything can change in a minute. I live with my father-in-law, who's a prime example of this. One minute he was a vibrant, busy CPA with his own business and a heavy traveling and golfing schedule. Next minute he was felled by an aneurysm and has never been the same (hence our living with him). It can all change in a split second.

  24. "In the dark, I reached over and gently touched Fabrizio’s hand and his fingers entwined around mine." This image is so evocative of those small moments of love that are not highly trumpeted in the daylight hours. I appreciate your story intermingled with Jennie's.

  25. What a heartfelt post. I do remember when the blogworld was hit with that devestating news of Jennie's story. I had to go back and read your story, and you are such a woman of strength. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers each day. I hope you are cancer-free now and if not, I'm sure you are fighting and continuing to be strong. We just met but I'm here if you would like to talk about anything :)

    Your pie looks magnificent. I've bookmarked it to try.

    And thanks for commenting over at my blog... so glad because it led me to yours :) I am now your newest follower :)