No-Bake Peanut Butter Cheesecake

When I was younger I used to think that cheesecake was the worst thing ever to be served on a plate. This probably came from the fact that I had only ever tried the mousse-type cheesecakes sold in the supermarkets which had a questionable version of “jam” on the bottom. That was however, until I tried New York cheesecake on holiday a few years ago. The cheesecake I tasted had the most perfect crumbly base and an incredibly smooth yet rich, melt-in-your-mouth filling on top. Since then, cheesecake (a close third to red velvet and apple pie) has been on my must-have desserts list. Inspired by my mum’s famous (in our family) no-bake mint Aero cheesecake, I wanted to re-create the textures and flavours of both cheesecakes without all the hassle of oven cooking but also with a slight twist.

I added peanut butter.

This no-bake peanut butter cheesecake requires no time in the oven; you only need a big enough space in your fridge to keep it for a few hours. I love it because it is super easy to put together if you are a first-time cheesecake maker. I also happen to think it is the perfect dessert to bring to a party or dinner with friends. The Greek yoghurt and the icing sugar give it a deliciously smooth texture; the peanut butter supplies the richness; and finally the low fat cream cheese is my way of reasoning with myself that it is okay to eat half of it for breakfast!

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Ingredients:

Base

15 digestive biscuits (use 20 if you want a slightly thicker base)

2 tblsp unsalted butter

Filling

1 ½ tubs (375g) low fat/light cream cheese

1 tub (125g) natural Greek yoghurt

¼ cup (30g) icing sugar

2 heaped tblsp peanut butter

Topping

½ bar (aprox. 14 squares) of dark chocolate

Handful of Peanuts

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Method:

The first thing you should do is make the base. To do this, you will need 15 digestive biscuits and about 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Crush the biscuits up into fine crumbs. I find the fastest (and most fun) way to do this is by placing them in a plastic bag and hitting them with a rolling pin.

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Melt the butter in the microwave for a couple of seconds and then pour it onto the biscuits and mix with a wooden spoon until the crumbs become wet enough so they stick together when pressed. If you think they are not sticking well enough, add another tablespoon of melted butter and mix again.

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When you are happy with the mixture, pour it into a 9inch round baking tin and press down with a tablespoon until the mixture is flat, evenly spread out and well pressed together. Place it in the fridge and leave to set for 1-2 hours.

Note: Allowing the cheesecake to set as long as possible is essential because if you don’t it will crumble and fall apart when you cut it (like the first time I made it).

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About 10 minutes before you want to take the biscuit base out of the fridge, you can start to make the filling. The first step is to put the 1 ½ tubs of cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Along with the cheese, scoop in 125 g of natural Greek yoghurt and finally, using a sieve to make sure there are no lumps, sprinkle in 30 g of icing sugar.

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Beat with an electric mixer until everything has been combined well. Add in two heaped tablespoons of peanut butter and beat with the mixer one final time. Taste with a teaspoon and add in more peanut butter or icing sugar as per your taste.

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Take the biscuit base out of the fridge and pour the cream filling on top. Smooth with a spatula and return to the fridge. Leave to set for about 2 hours or until the filling has set enough for you to be able to pour and smooth out the chocolate on top.

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Melt the chocolate squares in the microwave and pour over the top of the set cheesecake filling. Roughly chop up a handful of peanuts and sprinkle them on top. Finally, place the cheesecake back in the fridge and leave to set overnight (if you are making it the same day you plan to eat it, just leave it in the fridge for as long as you have time for – the longer the better).

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This was the final result!

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 Note:

– If dark chocolate doesn’t tickle your fancy, milk chocolate would work perfectly as well. Also, if you wanted to leave the chocolate topping out all together, you could just chop up the peanuts and mix them in with the filling (best to do this part with a spatula by hand).

– Feel free to experiment with the base as well by mixing crushed up Oreo cookies with the digestive biscuits for an extra chocolatey taste.

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