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