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Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 12 to 16
Peanut Butter Cheesecake
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
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Many of us prefer homey, mouthwatering desserts to those towering, complex constructions that appear on upscale restaurant menus.

Linda Olson, pastry chef at Betise, a bistro on Lake Michigan in Wilmette, Ill., bakes the full-flavored, old-fashioned desserts for which we yearn.

Depending on the season, her repertoire can include creme bru^lee, flourless chocolate roll with whipped cream, Champagne zabaglione or angel cake with fresh berries, persimmon pudding or steamed pumpkin pudding, to mention only some of the favorites that I have tasted over the years. Here is a sampling.

Crust

1

Grease 9-inch springform pan and wrap double thickness of foil around outside. Mix cookie crumbs and butter and press evenly into bottom of pan.

Cheesecake

1

Beat cream cheese at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing each just until combined before adding another. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla. Transfer 1-cup batter to small bowl; set aside. Add peanut butter to remaining batter and mix well, scraping down bowl.

2

Add melted chocolate to reserved 1-cup batter. Pour over crumb crust; spread smooth. Pour peanut butter batter over. Smooth top. Set into 2-inch deep baking dish and pour in enough hot water to come up sides 1 inch.

3

Bake at 350 degrees until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, top has risen to top of pan and is golden brown, about 1 hour 5 minutes. Remove from water bath; cool completely on rack. Use small flexible knife to release cheesecake from sides of pan. Leave ring on while storing. Refrigerate overnight, covered airtight.

4

To serve, bring to room temperature. Use sharp knife dipped into hot water to cut in wedges.