Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cheesecake


There might be very few humans (if they exist) on this planet who aren't fond of cheesecake. Today, I've got a triple treat for all those who are lovers of peanut butter, cheesecake and chocolate. Ever since I made my Creamy Peanut Butter Muffins, I wanted to try a peanut butter flavored cheesecake. So when I saw the cookalong contest on Nigella's website for a peanut butter cheesecake, I knew it was time to bake one.

The first layer of this delicious cheesecake is the extra chocolatey and fudgy Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies combined with salted peanuts. By all means please use digestive biscuits if you want to. It's just that I had these unbaked cookies in the freezer so I decided to use them and in the process saved time for the extra step of adding cocoa powder or chocolate chips for the chocolate flavor. I didn't regret my decision later.

The second layer is silky smooth and full of peanut butter flavored cream cheese. To top both these layers, we have a milky chocolate topping. Yum! Again, if you want you can replace the milk chocolate with white or dark chocolate.
Note: This cheesecake should be preferably eaten cold since once at room temperature, the texture becomes a little rubbery.

Makes one 8 inch round cheesecake.

For the Base
180 grams / 6.5 ounces Fudgy Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies or Digestive biscuits
45 grams / 1.5 ounces salted peanuts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature if using chocolate cookies or 45 grams / 1.5 ounces unsalted butter if using digestive biscuits.

For the Cream Cheese Mixture
454 grams(2 packets) / 16 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese at room temperature
180 grams / 6.5 ounces caster sugar
3 large eggs
110 ml / 95 grams / 3.5 ounces Crème Fraîche
225 grams / 8 ounces smooth peanut butter

For the Topping
200 ml / 175 grams / 6 ounces sour cream
80 grams / 3 ounces milk chocolate chopped (or use chips)
25 grams / 1 ounce soft light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Butter sides of the 8 inch spring form pan and line the base with parchment paper.

In a food processor or a grinder, pulse the biscuits to fine crumbs. Add the salted peanuts and butter and pulse until the mixture comes together. Press this mixture onto the bottom of the spring form pan and bake for 10 to 15 mins. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 165 degrees C. Keep a pan full of water on low flame. In a stand mixer on medium speed with the paddle attachment, process the cream cheese till it is soft and creamy(1-2 mins).

Reduce the speed to low. Add sugar and beat until combined. Scrape the bowl as and when required. Add the eggs and beat until well mixed. 

Add the Crème Fraîche and beat for 1-2 mins. Add the peanut butter and mix for 2 mins. Scrape the bowl and beat until smooth and all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

Wrap the spring form pan till the edges thoroughly with aluminium foil(I wrap the pan twice till the edge for extra protection). Keep the pan in a roasting dish. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pan. Run a knife through the mixture slowly a couple of times to eliminate any air bubbles.

Fill the roasting dish with the boiling water till it reaches about halfway up the pan. Place the roasting dish in the oven and bake the cheesecake until the top only feels set and dry (about 45 mins to an hour).

Take the cheesecake out of the oven while you make the topping.

Warm the sour cream and chocolate with the brown sugar gently in a small saucepan over a low heat, whisking to blend in the chocolate as it melts, and then take off the heat.

Spoon the topping gently over the cheesecake and bake for another 8 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack to cool and as soon as you can handle it, say about 5 mins later, remove the aluminium foil and let the cake cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Once the cake is cooled, say 5-6 hours later, loosely place a tissue on top of the pan, place a cling film or an aluminium foil on top of the tissue. Secure the tissue and the cling film to the pan with a rubber band. Keep the covered pan in the refrigerator for at least 5 to 6 hrs or preferably overnight.

Once you want to eat the cheesecake, take it out from the refrigerator, remove the clingfilm or the foil and the tissue. Now run a knife or a spatula along the edges of the cheesecake. Carefully and slowly, remove the side of the pan.

To slice the cheesecake, dip a sharp knife in warm water, pat it dry with a tissue or a cloth and cut through the cheesecake. Before you use the knife again, dip it again in the warm water and pat dry to clean. Repeat this process each time you use the knife. The reason we do this is to give each slice a clean look, otherwise you will have the cream cheese clinging to the knife and messing up the slices.

Storage Suggestions: Cheesecake will keep well in the refrigerator covered for up to 3 days.

A couple of things to take care of: 1. While preparing the cream cheese batter, do not over-mix it at any stage. Over-mixing creates air bubbles in the batter leading to holes and cracks in your baked cheesecake.

2. The reason a cheesecake is baked in a water bath is because it solves two purposes, first, it stops the cake from having a dry texture due to the moisture from the water thereby giving you a silky and velvety texture and second, the water helps to maintain a constant temperature in the oven so that the cheesecake bakes evenly greatly reducing the chances of cracks on the cheesecake's surface.

Happy Baking!!!

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