Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Frozen Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Cheesecake. My roommate and I were a little overzealous. A large portion was already missing by the next morning.
Last week I serendipitously encountered a recipe for peanut butter pie that just didn't sound very good. It involved chopped peanuts, cream cheese, lemon juice, a cup of sugar, vanilla, and a can of sweetened condensed milk. Too sweet for my taste.

I thought to myself, There has to be a way to make this better.

Then I pulled up some cooking websites and searched for more inspiration. It took a while, there were a lot of versions that didn't suit my taste at all. Then I came across a recipe for No Bake Peanut Butter Pie, which almost sounded right. And it had the added advantage of not being baked. I don't have air conditioning and 90° weather doesn't exactly make one want to turn on the oven. I thought that with a few adjustments, this could be MY recipe for peanut butter pie.

Then I realized that a whole package of cream-cheese, a cup of peanut butter, a cup of milk, and 2 cups of whipped cream would make enough filling for two pie crusts. I thought about that. It seemed like a hassle to use half a package of cream cheese (annoying to measure, and the other half probably wouldn't get eaten), but I only have one pie tin.

I briefly considered buying 2 pre-made chocolate graham-cracker pie crusts, but decided against that. If I'm going through the work to make the filling and switch out the recipe so that that "frozen whipped topping" is actually "whipped cream", why not take the trouble to make my own crust as well?

In the end I decided to make the pie in my springform pan. I knew it would hold that much filling, and it would be a lot prettier than pie tins anyway. Of course this meant that the recipe was no longer a pie, but a cheesecake (what with the cream cheese in the filling).

I thought about the recipe some more. It sounded good, but not quite right. I spent a bit of time looking up recipes for graham cracker crusts, and found that I'd still have to turn on the oven. That really didn't sound like fun, so I sought out other crust options.

I found this recipe for a Frozen Peanut Butter Cheesecake. The filling didn't sound very exciting, but it had a crust made out of chocolate, melted butter, and puffed rice cereal. Perfect! Instead of chocolate chips, I used bittersweet baker's chocolate.

The resulting cake was amazing, I would make this again for parties and gatherings. Maybe even a birthday cake. The only thing I'd do differently is reduce the amount of cereal in the crust, so that it isn't quite so lumpy. As it was, I had to make the crust a little too thick to prevent holes. If it were more spreadable, I wouldn't have had that problem.

Gently stirring in the rice cereal....
Frozen Peanut Butter Cheesecake
adapted from these two entries on allrecipes.com

1 8oz pkg cream cheese
1c powdered sugar
1c peanut butter
1 1/2 c whipping cream

1/2 c butter
2 c semisweet baking chocolate
4 c puffed-rice cereal (that's how much I used this time, next time I'll use less. Go for a chunky peanut-butter consistency)

Make the crust first. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate together. Once it has a consistent color and texture, remove from heat and slowly stir in the cereal. Press into the bottom and sides of a springform pan (I'm pretty sure mine is 10"). Cover and chill in freezer for 30 minutes.

For the filling, beat together sugar and cream cheese until it's somewhat fluffy. Mix in peanut butter and milk. Whip the cream until it's fluffy, and fold that in as well. Spoon into the prepared crust, cover, and freeze until it's firm (Ideally overnight. My roommate and I were too excited to wait and had slices when it was still a bit gooey).

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