Peanut Butter Cheesecake Semifreddo

No one wants to slave over a hot oven when the weather’s lovely and the birds are chirping.  I mean, sometimes it’s unavoidable and luckily for me our apartment doesn’t get much sunlight so it tends to be cooler than hotter.  Still, no bake desserts are great and can really come in handy.

This dessert is one hell of a doozy, and I don’t say that lightly.  I had never made a semifreddo before, which means “half frozen,” so the dessert is kind of like an ice cream cake.

An ice cream cake with a sweet oat crust and peanut crust, peanut butter cheesecake layer and swirled with hot fudge sauce.

Yeah.  You can wipe the drool off your keyboard now.  This is a pretty involved recipe, so make sure you have the time it requires, including time in the freezer to set.

But trust me, the result is incredibly worthwhile and will impress anyone you serve it to.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Semifreddo

Adapted from Scientifically Sweet

Makes one 8X8” pan

For the crust:

1 cup old fashioned oats (not instant)

¼ cup unsalted peanuts

2 Tbsp packed light brown sugar

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 Tbsp smooth peanut butter

For the filling:

2 large eggs

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar

8oz cream cheese, softened

¼ cup smooth peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

¾ cup heavy cream

1 recipe Hot Fudge Sauce (recipe to follow)

To make the crust, spread oats in an even layer in a large deep frying pan over medium low heat and toast until very lightly golden and smells nutty, about 5 minutes.  Shake the pan frequently to prevent burning.  Transfer oats to the bowl of a food processor and set aside.

Place peanuts in the same frying pan and toast until lightly browned and fragrant, shaking the pan frequently, about 5 minutes.  Transfer peanuts to the bowl of the food processor with the oats and pulse several times until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Pour the mixture into a small bowl and stir in the brown sugar.  In a small saucepan over medium low heat, melt together butter and peanut butter until smooth.  Pour this over the oat mixture and stir it in until evenly combined.  Use your fingertips to blend it together so that the oats are evenly coated with the butter mixture.  Pour it into an 8×8” glass baking dish and press it evenly into the bottom.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you make the filling.

In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together eggs and two-thirds of the sugar until blended.  Place the bowl over a pot with ½ inch of simmering water and whisk vigorously non-stop until thickened and frothy.  The mixture should register at least 162 degrees F on an instant read thermometer to safely cook the eggs.  Remove bowl from over the simmering water.  Using a hand mixer, beat the mixture until cool, thick and doubled in volume, about 6 minutes.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with remaining sugar until smooth and fluffy.  Beat in peanut butter, vanilla, and salt until well incorporated.  Gradually add the chilled egg mixture in two parts until smooth.  Beat until light and fluffy.  It should resemble softly whipped cream.  Refrigerate this mixture for 20 minutes.

When ready, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks using a hand mixer on medium speed.  Add the cream all at once to the bowl with the cream cheese mixture and fold it in very gently using a wide rubber spatula until evenly combined.  Pour it over the crust in the glass dish and spread it out evenly.  Spoon room temperature hot fudge sauce randomly over the surface (you will only need about half the recipe) and use a butter knife to swirl it in.  Cover the dish with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 4 hours or overnight.  Transfer to the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving and cut with a hot dry knife.  Store leftovers in the freezer.

Hot Fudge Sauce

 Makes about 1 cup

 ½ cup heavy cream

2 Tbsp water

3 Tbsp corn syrup

2 Tbsp packed brown sugar

1/8 tsp salt

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

½ tsp vanilla extract

In a 1-quart heavy bottomed saucepan, combine cream, water, corn syrup, brown sugar and salt over medium low heat.  Bring it to a simmer, stirring frequently, until sugar has dissolved.  Remove pan from heat and add chopped chocolate.  Let the mixture stand, undisturbed, for 2 minutes and then stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.

Return pan to the stove and bring the chocolate sauce to a gentle boil over medium low heat, stirring constantly.  When it reduces to a boil, continue to cook for 3 minutes.  Make sure to stir constantly and get to the bottom edges of the pan as the chocolate can burn easily.  The mixture will be thick and luscious.

Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla extract.  Let cool about 15 minutes.  Store leftovers in a mason jar in the refrigerator.  Reheat gently in a hot water bath for reuse.  I stirred the leftover sauce into an ice cream recipe.


2 Comments on “Peanut Butter Cheesecake Semifreddo”

  1. mixxedtape says:

    Still drooling, this looks like heaven!

  2. bashfulbao says:

    It is sooooo good. Like frozen peanut butter and chocolate heaven.

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