In my last post, I was complaining about the bout of hot weather which we have had recently in Zurich. It seems that the weather has now turned too soon and summer has somehow disappeared as quickly as it had arrived. For all of my complaining, I miss those breezeless afternoons spent on the balcony, lazing about with a good book or magazine. But the return of cooler weather has meant a return to the television room, a somewhat neglected room in our home because we hardly ever watch TV, although I do have a soft spot for watching back-to-back episodes of TV shows on DVD when time permits.
One thing I love to do when the rain is bashing outside is to pop on a cooking DVD; I somehow never seem to tire of listening to Nigella Lawson or Jamie Oliver going about their kitchen with their enthusiasm for the recipe at hand. I was recently watching an episode of Nigella’s Kitchen where Nigella was making a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake, a calorie-laden recipe which is quite true to her kitsch junkie style, not to mention that she made the whole thing whilst wearing a black satin nightrobe, all the while miraculously managing to avoid spilling anything on herself. Perhaps if I, too, donned a silk nightrobe instead of a frilly apron everytime I entered the kitchen, I might make less of a mess??
I was all inspired to recreate the same cheesecake, up until the moment when Nigella popped the cheesecake into the oven. I realised then, disappointedly, that I would never attempt this recipe. Despite Nigella’s confident instructions to bake the cheesecake until there is still a hint of “inner-thigh wibble”, baked cheesecakes have never worked for me, sadly. These days, when the craving for a baked cheesecake ensues, I head down to my local Starbucks and order a serve of their baked New York cheesecake; I think it’s the perfect cheesecake and am happy to concede that some (ok, many) shop-bought cakes cannot be improved upon.
But if I were to make a cheesecake at home, I always turn to the no-bake variety. Not only do they taste delicious but there is no pfaffing about with water baths and oven temperatures – you can rarely find a more stress-free recipe than a no-bake cheesecake.
So it was a coincidence that I was flicking through Margaret Fulton’s latest baking compendium, aptly titled Baking, that I stumbled across a recipe for a no-bake chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. I hardly needed any encouragement to make it promptly, although I did have difficulties finding willing volunteers to share in this high-calorie dessert. Thankfully, the combination of chocolate and peanut butter is quite exotic in Switzerland and I was able to lure my neighbours over for a sampling before sending them off for a jog in the nearby forest.
As you will see from the recipe below, this no-bake cheesecake is a breeze to make. I love how, in Margaret Fulton’s introduction to this recipe, she states that the recipe originated in the US where peanut butter is very popular, but that she had adapted the recipe to suit Australian palates. By that, I presume she means that her version is less sweet and decadent than its American counterpart. Although the peanut butter has a subtle presence, you can definitely taste it. The chocolate biscuit base and peanut butter are certainly a novel pairing for a cheesecake, but somehow it really works. You could use any chocolate biscuit for the biscuit base, although chocolate wheaten biscuits might fool you into thinking that the cake is healthier for it.
All in all, a lovely, simple no-bake cheesecake recipe which I would love to make again.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Recipe adapted from Baking by Margaret Fulton