Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup cold unsalted butter cut in pieces
1 pch salt
1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts coarsely chopped
4 pounds cream cheese softened 3-4 hours at room temperature
3 cups light brown sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
8 lrg eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup whipping cream at room temperature
3 cups peanut butter cups in ¾" cubes
PREPARE THE PEANUT CRUST
Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter two 9 inch springform pans with sides at least 2 3/4 inches high.
Put the flour, brown sugar, butter and salt in the large bowl of an electric mixer and mix on low speed just until small crumbs form. (The crust is supposed to be a crumbly mixture - be sure to mix the crust only to the crumbly stage, not to a smooth dough - do not form a ball). Stir in the peanuts. Divide the crust mixture in half, and press the mixture onto the bottoms and 1/2 inch up the sides of the prepared pans. Bake until the crust is just golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust while you prepare the filling. Leave the oven on at 350F.
PREPARE THE PEANUT BUTTER CUP FILLING
Put the cream cheese in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add the brown sugar and mix until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute more. Add the peanut butter and vanilla and mix just until blended. Add the eggs, two at a time, mixing the batter smooth after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl at least twice during this mixing. Mix in the whipping cream. Stir in the peanut butter cup pieces. Pour the filling into the prepared pans.
Cool the cheesecake, covered loosely with paper towels, in the water bath for 1 hour on a wire rack. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath. Remove the paper towels and cool 1 hour more. The cheesecake should feel cool to the touch. Cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, at least 6 hours or overnight.
TO FREEZE THE CHEESECAKE:Use a small sharp knife to loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the springform pan. Release the sides of the pan. You can either leave the cheesecake on the pan bottom or use the knife to loosen the cake and the slide the cake over onto covered cardboard. Wrap tightly in plastic then heavy aluminum foil, then Freeze.