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PB&J for Grown-Ups

Peanut butter and jelly is a staple in most children’s diets. In fact, the average American kid will eat 1,500 PB&J sandwiches. I can believe it, since I’ve gone through what must be 100’s of pounds of peanut butter and even more jelly for my kids’ sandwiches. The combination is the perfect blend of rich peanut butter and sweet jelly. This cheesecake has all the fond memories of those childhood sandwiches, but it’s way more decadent and sophisticated.

PB&J Cheesecake Recipe

For the crust:
20 whole Oreos
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch salt

For the cheesecake:
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
5 eggs
2 yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup jelly (if you are using one that is pale, you may consider a drop of food coloring to perk up the color)

For the ganache:
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Making the cheesecake:

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

In a food processor pulverize the Oreos, butter, sugar and salt.

Pour into a 9-inch spring-form pan and pat flat with your fingertips, bringing the Oreo crumbs up the sides slightly. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes or until set.

In a stand mixer, fitted with the beater blade, mix the cream cheese on low speed, scraping down the sides to make sure it is smooth. Add the sugar and sour cream.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add the salt and vanilla.

Split the batter into two bowls. Add the peanut butter to one bowl and add the jelly to the second.

Place the pan on a baking sheet. Spread the peanut butter batter over the Oreo crust, smoothing out the top.

Very carefully add the jelly batter over the peanut butter batter.

Place the cheesecake in the center of the oven. Place a second baking sheet on a lower shelf and fill it with water. The water will create steam in the oven and prevent the cheesecake from developing a hard crust. Bake for about 60 minutes or until set in the center. The top will soufflé slightly.

Allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours. After one hour in the refrigerate, loosely cover with plastic.

Carefully run a thin bladed knife around the edge of the pan. Un-mold the cake from the pan.

To make the ganache:

In a saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Remove from the heat, add the chopped chocolate and butter. Allow to sit for 2 minutes, then stir gently, until totally smooth.

Place the cheesecake on a cooling rack that is sitting above a baking sheet, lined with parchment. This will catch the excess ganache.

This video shows you how to make the ganache, pour it over a cake and decorate the sides.

Let the cake sit on the rack until the ganache has set up, about 45 minutes.

To decorate the sides see the above video.

Use a thin knife, dipped in a pitcher of hot water to cut the cake.

When you cut into it, the peanut butter and jelly layers will reveal themselves.

Enjoy!

Zoë François, author of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in 5 Minutes a Day, studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She now calls Minneapolis her home, where she has worked with some of the top talent in the culinary world — Steven Brown, Andrew Zimmern and many chefs at the D’Amico company. In addition to writing, Zoë teaches baking classes and consults at restaurants. You can find her writing and recipe creations on Devour, on her baking blog, zoebakes.com and on the site, www.breadin5.com.

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