For a Pal

For a Pal

Merriam-Webster.com defines Pal as a close friend.  So, I guess the title of this post should  change but then again, it is there and I am not rethinking it!!!

This whole Twitter/Facebook/MySpace/Wordpress world brings us together with others we would never have had the opportunity to meet in the not so distant past.  It seems we are all a friend of a friend of a friend these days.  Luckily, I have met many a folk from across the globe….and some very “Wonderful” folk I might add!!!  The “pal” I am referring to today is not in some far off land or even a different US time zone…she is literally over the hill and across the river from me and yet we have never met!

What’s this about you ask….well this “pal” asked a mutual friend (sorry PP….”oh! but I don’t!”) if I would make her a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake and since I love me some cheesecake, I did!!!!

It's all about the ganache!

It's all about the ganache!

A bit of a sidenote now that I am about to give you the lowdown on this cheesecake and its making… It seems my new Pal has just recently learned she passed her CCRN’s so my dear I hope you enjoy a celebratory slice!!

Now comes either the disappointment or the intrigue, it depends on how comfortable you are with flying solo.

I make many a cheesecake and I have no real recipe just a couple rules.

  • 1 X LG egg for each 8 0z. cream cheese  (use best available CC, no “store brands”
  • Bake in a water bath
  • Bake @ 400 degrees for 15mins, reduce to 300 degrees till center jiggles ever so slightly (please don’t mar the beautiful top of a cheesecake by inserting a skewer or knife to check for doneness!!)

The rest my friends is something I wing!!!!  Sweet, savory, crusts, flavors etc., etc.  There of course are some other rules but these come with time.

  • Don’t overbeat the batter.  Too much air causes the cheesecake to crack, even when using a water bath, which cuts down on this a bit.
  • Do mix 1 egg at a time into the cream cheese till it is fully incorporated
  • Do practice often till you get to know the “it’s done jiggle”!!!

Now for those who need a bit more instruction, as best as I can recall, here is what I did for this particular cheesecake.

Crust:

  • 3/4 cup crushed oreos
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 4 TBS melted butter

Pulse oreos and peanuts in processor till fine, slowly drizzle in butter till it comes together.  Pat into bottom of 10″ springform pan.

Batter:

  • 40 oz cream cheese
  • 5 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Divide the batter and add 1 cup creamy peanut butter to 1 half and 1 cup chocolate ganache to the other.  Pour PB batter over the crust and level, next pour chocolate batter over PB batter.  Place foil prepared* pan into a water bath that comes 3/4 way to top of pan then into oven, bake 15 mins at 400 and then finish off at 300 till you get the “it’s done jiggle.  Let it come to room temp and then refridgerate at least 10 hrs.

Once it was chilled, I then topped it with a white chocolate peanut butter ganache, back to the fridge to let that firm up.  Run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cheesecake, release the lock and serve it up!!!!!

* I should have stated this sooner but when using a water bath to bake in a springform pan you must cover the outside of the pan with a couple of layers of foil so no water seeps in while it is baking!

Congrats Edy!

Congrats Edy!

And as a final tease….some of my favorites.

  • The Classic- a bit of lemon juice and grated rind in the batter and top with fresh fruit.
  • German Chocolate-Chocolate batter with coconut and mini chocolate chips folded in.
  • White Chocolate Raspberry- Fold white chocolate ganache into batter then swirl with a sweet raspberry compote.
  • Chicken Jalapeno with cumin minis- a freakin’ awesome appetizer!!
  • Lobster with Garlic clarified butter drizzle- Only 16 oz cream cheese packed with diced tail meat and a bit of lemon zest, drizzle with garlic clarified butter and brunch is served!!!
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