This Oreo cookie crust, peanut butter cheesecake, topped with chocolate ganache and miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups, is the ultimate death (or sex) by cake. The kind of thing that Elvis would eat? This over-the-top American dessert has been lovingly conjured by domestic Goddess in Amsterdam, Carla Madden. Warning! Not to be eaten alone, but rather, shared at a huge birthday or special occasion. Oh if only I was in the Dam to enjoy a slice of your genius Carla….
1 24″ springform pan (the kind with the removable sides)
Quite a bit of aluminium foil (a box will do)
1 bag miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups (if you don’t have these in the UK or Europe, you can get the big ones or the little Reese’s candies)
1 big jar (closest to 500g) of creamy peanut butter (buy the American stuff like Jiffy, Kraft or Skippy – it’s better)
3/4 cup white sugar (small bag, not the stuff that is too grainy)
1 big tub of full fat sour cream (closest to 500 grams)
1 stick of butter, unsalted
30 oreos (just the regular kind)
Some milk (just a splash really)
6 containers (185g) of Philadelphia cream cheese (the full fat kind!)
4 bars (100g each) of dark chocolate (a 60-70% cocoa solids one works best)
An electric mixer that has a medium and low mixing speed (some of them are too fast)
Baking paper (just a bit)
A food processor with a sharp blade or your hands, a towel and a plastic bag.
Spatula, whisk, knife.
1) Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before starting.
2) Preheat oven to 180C (350F)
3) seperate each Oreo and put all of them in a food processor. Blitz until you have Oreo crumbs. Not too fine and not too chunky. If you don’t have a food processor, put all the seperated Oreos in a bag and beat the hell out of them. Kids are good at this step.
4) Close the hinge on your springform pan.
5) Take a small piece of baking paper and rub it on some butter. Use this to grease the inside of the springform pan – both the bottom and the sides. Do this step even if your springform pan says it is non-stick. They lie.
6) Melt 4 tbsp (60 grams) of butter in a saucepan or in the microwave in a bowl. When melted, add in all of your Oreo crumbs. Mix it all together really well and then press this mixture into the bottom of the Springform pan. press it all down lightly and smooth it out. Place the pan with the crust inside into the fridge.
7) Beat (on medium) all of the cream cheese until fluffy. Add 3/4 cup of sugar and beat until blended. Add 20 oz of sour cream (30 tbsp) and 1 cup of peanut butter. Mix all of this well. Add one egg at a time and blend on low just until they are mixed. You should have a silky, sexy batter after this.
8. Take your pan out of the fridge. Cover the bottom and sides of it well with aluminium foil. This not only keeps any leakage that might happen out (not too likely) and if you end up using a water bath, keeps water from seeping in.
9) Pour the batter over the crust until just about the top of the pan.
10) If you want to bake in a water bath at this point, you can. Water baths prevent the cheescake from cracking on top or becoming too dry inside. However, the ratio of fat to other ingredients in this particular cheesecake prevents this from happening. So you don’t need to. Plus, you are covering it in chocolate after, so no one will know if you screw up. But if you want to get all Martha Stewart, then by all means, google water bath and knock yourself out.
11) Bake for about an hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes on the middle shelf. You will need to stick a long toothpick or sharp object into the middle to test its done-ness around the hour mark. If it comes out clean, it is ready. If not, just test it every ten minutes after that. Do not take the cake out at all until after 45 minutes to check or it will fall flat. When the sharp object comes out clean, take the cheescake out of the oven. It should look a bit jiggly like custard in the middle but have a solid baked top and sides. If it’s brown, that’s fine. That’s even considered Italian.
12) Leave on the counter for about ten minutes (if in a water bath, take it out of the water bath first). Then take a dampened knife and run it around the edges of the pan to seperate the cake from the pan. DO NOT unhinge the springform pan quite yet.
13) Once the cake is at room temperature (about an hour), place it in the fridge to set. Do not put it in there before the cake reaches room temperature or it will fall flat.
14) Leave it in the fridge overnight. Preferably for 12-24 hours. Go have a life during this time.
15) The next day, take the cake out and put it on the counter.
16) Get your chocolate bars, about 50 grams of butter and a small splash of milk (doesn’t matter what kind unless you want to get all French with proper ganache).
17) Place the butter, chocolate and milk into a bowl. Place the bowl in another bowl of water boiling on the stove.
18) On low heat, combine all the ingredients ever so slowly in the bowl without water. Don’t overcook. Chocolate is overcooked when it sticks to the pan and starts to become solidified and dark. Keep stirring with a whisk until silky and glistening. If you can’t do this water method, just throw it all in a regular pot on the stove. Make sure it is on super low heat and you are watching it like a hawk.
19) Let this mixture cool for about ten minutes. Pouring it directly on the cake when it is too hot will not be pretty.
20) When kind of warm, spatula the chocolate ganache on the top of the cake and smooth it around. Put as much as you like, but remember this stuff is RICH, so take it easy.
21) Let the chocolate cool on the top of the cake. While this is happening, peel all the wrappers off the Reese’s Peanut Butter cups (why do Americans do this, haven’t they heard of the environment?)
22) Cut all the little mini peanut butter cups in half, or leave them whole if that tickles your fancy.
23) Place the peanut butter cups on the top of the ganache when it is still medium wet, this way they stick.
24) Let the ganache fully harden. It takes about twenty minutes.
25) Pop the springform pan hinge. With all luck, you don’t have cheesecake stuck to the sides or a big mess. Carefully lift the pan off the cake. The bottom of the pan will remain under the cake when serving. You can eliminate this step at the beginning by lining your cake pan with parchment and then flipping your cake upside down and la dee dah. But I wasn’t going to risk destroying days of effort for something people don’t even see.
26) Cut with a wet knife that is cleaned between each slice. This keeps cheescake from going everywhere. It should be served at room temperature, but by the time you are done icing it and everything, it should be ready.
27) Enjoy and don’t do the dishes.