"If I could only eat one pie for the rest of my life, I would choose this one. It’s so incredibly good!" - so says Roy Fares in the headnote for this recipe, featured in the new book United States of Cakes: Tasty Traditional American Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and Baked Goods. I am pretty into this book so far. For one thing, it's beautiful eye candy: I could look at the pictures of cakes and places all day--it speaks to my sweet tooth and wanderlust tendencies.
Now, the title might be a bit misleading - while you might be picturing sweets from sea to shining sea, the book is mostly set in Southern California. The author, Roy Fares, is an international pastry chef celebrity, and on his travels, the Los Angeles area intrigued him quite a bit--so he settled there to bake through some American favorites. It's a beautiful book, but don't expect a book like United Cakes of America: Recipes Celebrating Every State. DO expect some delicious and decadent desserts, like the one featured below.
Makes 12 pieces
- 15 (200 g) graham crackers
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp (100 g) butter
- 1⁄4 cup (40 g) sugar
- 11⁄2 tbsp (10 g) cocoa powder
- 1⁄2 tsp (3 g) salt
- Cheesecake Filling
- 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1⁄2 cups (600 g) cream cheese
- 3⁄4 cup (180 g) sugar
- 2 tbsp (20 g) all purpose flour
- 1⁄4 cup (59 mL (50 g)) whipping cream
- 2 (30 g) egg yolks
- 2 (110 g) eggs
- 1 1⁄2 (80 g) Snickers bars
- 1⁄2 cup (60 g) salted peanuts
- 1 1⁄4 cups (300 g) cream cheese
- 2 tbsp (15 g) cocoa powder
- 3⁄4 cups (120 g) confectioners' sugar
- 1⁄2 tsp (11⁄2 g) vanilla extract
- 1⁄4 cup (50 g) whipping cream
- Pieces of Snickers
- Salted peanuts
- Optional, cocoa powder for Dusting
Make the Pie Shell
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius), convection function. Run the cookies in a food processor until they become fine crumbs. Melt the butter and add it. Add a little more butter if you think that the mixture is too dry to work with. Line a springform, 9 inches (23 cm) in diameter, with the crumbs, create an edge of about 11⁄2 inches (4 cm) high. Flatten the surface a little with the back of a tablespoon. Bake in the center of the oven for 7 minutes. Allow to cool.
Make the Cheesecake Filling
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius), convection function. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and flour in a bowl until fluffy. Whisk in the cream. Fold in the egg yolks one egg at a time with a spatula. Cut the Snickers into pieces and spread them over the bottom of the pie shell along with the peanuts. Pour the cheesecake mixture on top and smooth with a spatula. Bake in the middle of oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (105 degrees Celsius) and bake for 35 minutes (do not open oven door). Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake stand in the heat for another 25 minutes (which reduces the risk of cracking). Remove and let cool completely. Let the cheesecake stand in the fridge for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight, so that it hardens properly. Run a thin knife around the form’s edge before it is removed. Rinse the knife with hot water a few times during that process.
Make the Frosting, and finish up
Mix all the ingredients except the cream in a bowl and whisk until the mixture feels fluffy. Whip in the cream in batches until it becomes a smooth frosting. Pipe or spread the frosting over the cheesecake. Garnish with Snickers chunks and peanuts and, if you like, dust with cocoa powder.