This amazing chocolate peanut butter cheesecake is incredibly easy to make and absolutely packed with flavour. The cheesecake filling is sheer creamy, peanut-butter-packed perfection and the glossy, luscious chocolate ganache takes it to a whole new level. Even better, this recipe guarantees a crack-free cheesecake WITHOUT a water bath!
200g(2 cups) finely crushed digestive biscuits(You can also use graham crackers. If you need the cheesecake to be gluten-free, you can use gluten-free digestives or rich tea biscuits, or other gluten-free cookies/biscuits of choice.)
100g(¾ cup) whole raw, blanched peanuts(You will use part of them, once toasted, also for decoration.)
55g(½ stick) unsalted butter, melted(The exact amount of butter you will need will depend on the type of biscuits/cookies/crackers you use.)
For peanut butter cheesecake filling:
600g(2 ⅔ cups) full-fat cream cheese, room temperature(I used Philadelphia cream cheese.)
115g(½ cup) full-fat plain or Greek-style yoghurt, room temperature(You can also use sour cream.)
225g(¾ cup + 1 ½ tbsp) smooth, natural, unsweetened peanut butter(I haven't tested this recipe with a processed peanut butter like Jif or Skippy, so I can't guarantee that it will work with them.)
225g(1 ⅛ cup) caster/superfine sugar
3UK medium/US largeeggs, room temperature
½tspvanilla bean paste(or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
For chocolate ganache:
80g(2.8 oz) dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa solids), chopped
120g(½ cup) double/heavy cream
For cheesecake crust:
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 355ºF (180ºC) and line a large baking sheet and an 8 inch (20cm) springform pan with baking/greaseproof paper.
To toast the peanuts:Place the peanuts on the lined baking sheet and spread them out into an even layer.Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for 12-14 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are a light golden colour and smell nicely toasted. Once toasted, allow to cool on the baking sheet.
In a food processor or blender, process 75g (about a heaped ½ cup) of the cooled toasted peanuts until finely ground. Reserve the remaining toasted peanuts for decorating the finished cheesecake.
Mix together the crushed digestive biscuits, ground toasted peanuts and melted butter, then transfer the mixture into the lined springform pan and, using the flat bottom of a glass or measuring cup, compress them into an even layer with an approximately 1 ½ inch (4cm) rim around the edge.Tip: Depending on the type and brand of cookies/biscuits you use, you might need slightly less or slightly more butter than listed in this recipe. Add the butter slowly, mixing well after each addition, until you reach the consistency of wet sand. You want a mixture that somewhat sticks together or holds its shape when pressed together, but it shouldn't feel/look greasy or oily.
Bake at 355ºF (180ºC) for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool until warm.
For peanut butter cheesecake filling:
Reduce the oven temperature to 285ºF (140ºC).Tip: If your springform pan isn't 100% leak-proof, I recommend you also get a baking sheet ready to place the cheesecake on it before it goes into the oven. This will catch any small leaks of butter from the cheesecake base, and prevent any smoking or burning at the bottom of your oven.
In a large bowl using a balloon whisk, mix the cream cheese, yoghurt and peanut butter together until smooth. Tip: Make sure to MIX rather than whisk or aerate – you don't want to incorporate too much air into the mixture. If you don't want to do this by hand, use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on the lowest speed setting. (I don't recommend using a hand mixer.)
Add the sugar to the cream cheese mixture and mix well until combined and smooth.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, until smooth.
Add the vanilla and mix well.Tip: At this point, the cheesecake batter shouldn’t be too runny – you should be able to see streaks in the filling from mixing, and when you spoon out a dollop and let it drop back into the mixture, it shouldn’t level out and disappear back into the rest of the filling straight away. This texture/consistency means that you haven’t over-mixed your batter (so it’s less likely to crack).
Transfer the peanut butter cheesecake filling into the slightly cooled cheesecake crust and smooth out the top.
Bake at 285ºF (140ºC) for about 65-70 minutes (1 hour 5 minutes - 1 hour 10 minutes), or until the filling is very light golden brown around the edges, the edges are fully set, and the middle is still wobbly when you gently shake the baking pan.Tip: This baking time range is merely a guideline – you should always judge the doneness of a cheesecake based on its physical indicators (the wobbliness of the centre, how set the edges are, etc.) rather than on the baking time, especially as each oven behaves slightly differently. You should start checking your cheesecake about 10 minutes before the recommended baking time.
Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature in the turned-off oven with the oven door ajar.
Once cooled to room temperature, transfer the cheesecake into the fridge for at least 4 hours (or preferably overnight) before removing it from the baking pan onto a serving plate.
For chocolate ganache & assembly:
Place the chopped dark chocolate into a heat-proof bowl.
In a saucepan, bring the double/heavy cream just to the boil, then pour it over the chocolate. Allow to stand for 2-3 minutes, then stir together until smooth and glossy.
Allow the ganache to cool and thicken slightly at room temperature, about 10-15 minutes, then spoon or pour it on top of the chilled cheesecake. Use a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the ganache on top of the cheesecake, leaving about ½-¾ inch (1-2cm) edge free of the ganache.
Roughly chop the remaining toasted peanuts and sprinkle them on top of the ganache before it sets.
Allow the ganache to set at room temperature or in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving.
The chocolate peanut butter cheesecake keeps well in a closed container or tightly wrapped in cling film in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Recipe by The Loopy Whisk (www.theloopywhisk.com).