Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache

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It’s only been a few weeks since I made my last cheesecake and I hadn’t intended making another one for a while, but then my sister decided to join the family for dinner and when I mentioned I’d just seen an interesting recipe for a baked Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake… well, there was no going back. For her, chocolate and peanut butter go together like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (that kind of shows my age, doesn’t it… well, more my parents’ age actually, but we grew up on the stuff!). I totally agree, and this isn’t the first time I’ve paired those ingredients – for instance, check out my Peanut Butter Pie and Peanut Butter Semifreddo. Enough said.

This lovely recipe was from one of my favourite New Zealand magazines – Food (Jun/Jul 2014, Issue 77). As you can see, by the time of this post, the magazine’s still hot off the press, so I’ve lost no time in trying it out! I made no changes to the recipe, as it looked pretty darn good to me. In hindsight though, I’d probably make a change to the base – firstly I found it made too much mixture. And, secondly, I found it just a tad sweet and think I’d go with a plain Oreo cookie (200g) and melted butter (about 85-90g) mix. The ganache also made more than I needed, and I’d probably reduce the ingredients by a third.

I went with the bain marie method as recommended and it certainly ensured a smooth texture with no cracking. There’s no denying it’s a show-stopper dessert and I can happily say that the proof was very much in the pudding. A word of warning though: while it’s not overly sweet, it is very rich and a fair bit denser than a standard baked cheesecake due to the addition of peanut butter. Initially I questioned the fact that it supposedly served 14-16 people but, in actual fact, that was pretty much spot on given people could only manage thin slices. I just wish it was de rigeuer to eat dessert before dinner, in which case that serving number would easily have been halved!

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PEANUT BUTTER CHEESECAKE WITH CHOCOLATE GANACHE

Serves 14-16

Ingredients: (Click here for unit converter)

Base

  • 200g digestive biscuits (or Graham Crackers)
  • 60g salted peanuts
  • 100g dark chocolate chips
  • 50g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa
  • 1 Tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling

  • 500g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • ¾ cup good quality smooth peanut butter
  • ½ cup sour cream

Glaze

  • 150g 70% dark chocolate
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp whole milk or cream
  • 2 tsp glucose syrup

Topping

  • Handful of honey roasted salted peanuts, partially chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Wrap a double layer of tinfoil around the outside base and sides of a 22cm spring-form pan to make sure no water will seep through. Lightly grease or spray the base and sides of the pan with cooking oil. Set aside.
  2. Blend the base ingredients in the bowl of a food processor until the mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to hold together.
  3. Tip the base mixture into the prepared spring-form pan and press down firmly to create a solid base. Chill the base in the fridge.
  4. Place all the filling ingredients in an electric mixer bowl and blend well until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides to ensure all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  5. Pour the filling mixture onto the base of the cheesecake and level the surface with a spatula (this is important, as the batter’s thicker than usual due to the addition of peanut butter and it doesn’t automatically level itself out while it cooks). Place the cheesecake in a large roasting pan and carefully pour about an inch of hot water into the pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 50 minutes to an hour, or even more (mine took 75 minutes) depending on your oven. (How to know when it’s done: The top will lose its shine, the edges will look set and dry, but there should still be a lot of movement in the cake if you carefully shake it. It may even look a little under-done or wet in the centre – this is as it should be, as it will continue to cook further as it’s cooling down and then set firmly once chilled). 
  6. Once cooked, turn the oven off, open the oven door slightly (I wedged a wooden spoon in there) and leave the cake to cool for an hour. Then take the cheesecake out of the roasting tin and set on a wire rack to cool completely. Take a thin knife or fine spatula and run it around the outside edges of the cake – this will prevent cracking as it cools. Once completely cooled, place the cheesecake in the fridge, cover lightly with a piece of foil and leave overnight to set and firm up.
  7. When ready to serve the cheesecake, take it out of the fridge, remove it from the spring-form pan and place on a serving platter.
  8. To make the glaze: Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Remove the boiler from the heat and stir in the milk and glucose. Allow the glaze to cool to room temperature.
  9. Assembly: Once the ganache has cooled, pour it over the top of the cheesecake. (I found it easier to pour it into the centre of the cake a little at a time, then easing it out towards the edges with a large spatula, allowing some of it to fall down the sides. You don’t have a lot of time to work with it though, as it starts to set quite quickly). Top with the honey roasted peanuts. Serve immediately, or place back in the fridge until ready to serve.

Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting

 

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