There are some childhood flavors that stick with you no matter where you move. For me, it’s peanut butter that’s stuck. This easy, 5-ingredient cheesecake brings together the nostalgic flavor of a classic American sandwich and a popular Israeli no-bake cheesecake recipe.
The classic Israeli no-bake cheesecake recipe–the one on the back of the Osem tea biscuit box, which is the same recipe the kids bring home from preschool every year–calls for whipping cream with instant pudding, sugar, and gvina levana (soft white cheese) and layering with biscuits soaked in milk. I have a few issues with this. Why does cheesecake need cream, anyways? As far as I can tell, what the cream adds is fat, i.e. flavor, and supposedly fluffiness, which I never seem to achieve. I am generally unsuccessful with whipping. It doesn’t matter whether it’s cream or eggs, whether I use a whisk, a hand mixer, or the whipping attachment on my food processor, I seem to be always falling short of the sought-after “stiff, white peaks.” This is probably a sign of lack of patience. The instant pudding mix, as I understand, is meant to dry up and stiffen the cheese mixture, as well as sweeten. But since the cheese mixture is now dry, the tea biscuits now need to be soaked in milk to soften them. Am I the only one who thinks we’re making a lot of unnecessary extra work for ourselves here?
Enter: peanut butter. Thicker than gvina levana or cream, full of fat and flavor. We’ve just replaced pudding mix, heavy cream, ten minutes of standing over the mixer and five minutes of digging it out of the closet and washing it with one ingredient. I love peanut butter.
Peanut butter, as wonderful as it is, needs a partner. My favorite pairing for peanut butter is usually chocolate. In fact, this cheesecake filling would probably be perfect for making a Reese’s cheesecake by using chocolate tea biscuits instead of vanilla, eliminating the jam, and throwing a handful of chocolate chips into the filling. (Ooh, I may need to go make another cheesecake.) Today, however, I had a jar of strawberry jam asking for attention, so peanut butter and jelly cheesecake it is.
Warning: This five-ingredient no-bake peanut butter and jelly cheesecake is so dangerously quick and easy, not to mention delicious, that you just may end up making it every week. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Easy, Five-Ingredient No-Bake Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake
makes 1 medium cheesecake
750 grams gvina levana
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3-1/2 cup sugar, depending how sweet you want
about 1/4 cup fruit jam
about 30 plain (vanilla) tea biscuits
crushed peanuts (optional, for garnish)
- Mix peanut butter, sugar, and gvina levana in a medium bowl with a spoon.
- Spread jam on one side of enough tea biscuits to cover the bottom of your pan. Place them in the pan JAM SIDE UP.
- Spread a generous layer of peanut butter cheesecake filling over the tea biscuits. Repeat.
- The third layer of biscuits put JAM SIDE DOWN so the top layer of peanut butter cheesecake filling spreads more nicely. Think of it like a lasagna with noodles right under the top layer of sauce instead of cheese filling.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours, or overnight, in order to allow the moisture from the cheesecake filling to soak into the tea biscuits and the whole cake to set.
- Garnish with a sprinkle crushed peanuts on top to serve, if you want the cheesecake to look fancier, and to add a little crunch.