Peanut Butter and Jelly is a staple in most children’s diets. In fact, I just read that Americans will consume billions, with a B, of them every year. I can believe it, since my kids picked it for lunch 9 out of 10 times, until very recently. I’ve gone through what must be 100s of pounds of peanut butter and even more jelly. They’re certainly easy to make, which saved me lots of time in the mornings before school, but I felt a little guilty packing it for them EVERY day. I mostly dreaded other parents finding out that my kids ate the same thing over and over. In my head I wanted them to eat bento boxes, with carved vegetables and seaweed salad, but, it was their lunch, their choice and they loved PB&J. The truth is that I love it too; almost everyone does, if we’re honest. Here’s a cheesecake that has all the fond memories of those childhood sandwiches, but it’s way more decadent and sophisticated.
Once in a while I find a new product that changes the way I cook and bake. I felt this way about the Silpat and the Microplane Grater when they first hit the restaurant kitchen scene. It was a eureka moment, since both saved time, money and provided results like nothing I’d used. This Lekue 9-Inch Springform Pan may be the coolest new toy in my kitchen. It is made by Lekue and uses the same technology as the beloved silicone mats. The base is made of ceramic, so it is lovely enough to serve on, which eliminates the need to remove the cake from the base. That, in itself, is brilliant, but the silicone also gives insurance that the cake will not stick to the sides, so there is no holding your breath as you remove it. I baked this cheesecake without a water bath. I need to test to see if it is waterproof, but that is asking a lot of a springform pan and I would continue to wrap the bottom in foil if I used it in water.
The pan is fantastic, but took some getting used to, because it is transparent and flexible. It has a pin (the black tab) that slides in and out to seal the pan to the base. You’ll see a better picture of the pin later in the post.
20 whole Oreos
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup jelly (if you are using one that is pale, you may consider a drop of food coloring to perk up the color)
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Making the cheesecake:
Preheat the oven to 325°F
In a food processor pulverize the Oreos, butter, sugar and salt.
Pour into the pan and pat flat with your finger tips, bringing the oreo crumbs up the sides slightly. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes or until set.
In a stand mixer, fitted with the Beater Blade, mix the cream cheese on low speed, scraping down the sides to make sure it is all smooth. Add the sugar and sour cream.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add the salt and vanilla.
Split the batter into two bowls. Add the peanut butter to one bowl and add the jelly to the second.
Place the pan on a baking sheet. Spread the peanut butter batter over the oreo crust, smoothing out the top.
Very carefully add the jelly batter over the peanut butter batter.
Place the cheese cake in the center of the oven. Place a second baking sheet on a lower shelf and fill it with water. The water will create steam in the oven and prevent the cheese cake from developing a hard crust. Bake for about 60 minutes or until set in the center. The top will souffle slightly. Allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours. After one hour in the refrigerate, loosely cover with plastic.
Carefully run a thin bladed knife around the edge of the pan. Pull out the pin.
Unmold the cake from the pan.
To make the ganache:
In a saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate and butter. Allow to sit for 2 minutes, then stir gently, until totally smooth.
Place the cheesecake on a cooling rack that is sitting above a baking sheet, lined with parchment. This will catch the excess ganache.
This video shows you how to make the ganache, pour it over a cake and decorate the sides.
Let the cake sit on the rack until the ganache has set up, about 45 minutes.
To decorate the sides see the above video.
Use a thin Bread Knife, dipped in a pitcher of hot water to cut the cake.
When you cut into it, the peanut butter and jelly layers will reveal themselves.