It's been a very long time since I last posted. I've been a very lazy girl in the blogging department, which is not to say that I've been lazy in the kitchen. I've made some great stuff over the past few months, I just haven't really felt like blogging about it. But I couldn't let this little gem fall between the cracks, because this dessert was one of my favorites.
This was inspired by a dessert that was served at Earl's for a short time. It was a milk chocolate pudding topped with a peanut butter mousse and then sprinkled with a home made sponge toffee. It was heaven. Instead of pudding, I opted for a milk chocolate cheesecake for my base. I made a thin peanut butter layer for the top. The crust is crushed pretzels instead of graham wafers, and then I melted peanut butter and poured it on the crust to help it to bind and also give the cake that extra hit of peanut butter.
And, yes, I did make a homemade sponge toffee to sprinkle on top which was great for texture, but I completely forgot to use it when I photographed the dessert. You'll just have to take my word for it.
I'm not going to lie. This cake is a lot of work. There's a lot of different layers of flavors going on here but it really comes together and is a show stopper. Make this for someone you love. Or when you just really need the peanut butter chocolate combo but want a refined version of Reese's peanut butter cups.
For the Crust:
1 cup of crushed pretzels (you want fine crumbs here but not dust)
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
Combine crushed pretzels, sugar and melted butter. Press into the base of a greased 9" spring-form pan. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly golden.
Microwave peanut butter until pourable consistency, and pour over the baked crust. *Now that your crust is ready, wrap the outside of the pan with foil if you plan to bake your cheesecake in a water bath (optional).
For the Cheesecake
(adapted from Fine Cooking)
8 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
3 x 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
Melt the milk chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave at 50% power for 90 seconds. Stir. Continue to microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring in between each, until chocolate is smooth. Set aside.
Put the cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the eggs, and process until smooth. Add the eggs and pulse a few times only until incorporated. Do not over mix or the cake will expand too much when baked. Scrape the melted chocolate into the mix and pulse until just incorporated. Pour over crust.
Bake at 300 degrees F. for 50 to 60 minutes until the centre barely jiggles when you tap the pan. Remove from oven, allow to come to room temperature on a cooling rack before refrigerating over night.
*I always bake my cheesecakes in a hot water bath - and I did with this one as well, but it's not necessary. If you choose to do the same, place your cheesecake in a large roasting pan before baking, and pour enough boiling water in the roasting pan to come half-way up the cheesecake.
For the Peanut Butter Layer
(adapted from Willow Bird Baking)
(adapted from Willow Bird Baking)
1/2 tsp. powdered gelatin
2 Tbsp. cold water
1 cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
3 Tbsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. smooth peanut butter
1/8 tsp. salt
In a small bowl, mix the gelatin and the water in a small bowl. Let dissolve for 5 minutes. Heat the cream over low heat in a small sauce pan until it bubbles form around the edges. In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar. While whisking vigorously, add 1/2 of the hot cream into the egg yolks and sugar. Then slowly pour the egg mixture into the saucepan of cream, whisking constantly. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the peanut butter and the gelatin. Chill until it's cooled and thickened slightly, but not set. Pour mixture over top of the chilling cheesecake (still in its spring form pan) and refrigerate for several hours, preferably over night. When completely chilled, remove cake from spring-form pan and serve.
*Like I said, I forgot to photograph the honeycomb, but it was a great addition to this dessert. I used this recipe from Bon Appetit. One could always buy honeycomb instead of making it, it would definitely save you a lot of time.