Have I told you my love affair with banana cheesecake? I swear I must have at some point in this blogging life. I adore the banana cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory, but sadly they are located far away from me. I've had it on my list for forever to create my own banana cheesecake to indulge in. And finally I've started that process; I think I've found the perfect recipe. I'm still kind of testing and experimenting, but this one is pretty darn good. And I just had to share it with you. My blogging friend at Chez What made a banana cheesecake and shared the recipe with me. I took his advice of using the lemon on the banana, but didn't take his advice on the sheddred wheat for a crust, but trust me I will next round.
I loved the addition of the caramel-rum sauce, but completely forgot the fresh whipped cream. If you do make this, please add on a large dollop of fresh whipped cream. The Cheesecake Factory does it, and it totally adds to the dish.
This cheesecake was so good, I had to give it away ASAP because I would eat the whole thing in one sitting. That crust, man that crust was amazing. Next time I might prebake the crust a bit to get it super-crunchy. This is a cheesecake I know Emeril Lagasse would be proud of, and that makes me happy happy. Emeril if you ever do read this--I will bake one for you and deliver it right to you or you can come to my house.
banana cheesecake with caramel-rum sauce
1 1/2 lb. (24 oz) cream cheese softened
¾ cup white sugar
4 mashed bananas, really ripe!
2 ts. good quality vanilla
1 ts. fresh lemon juice for the bananas
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 TB dark brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted, cooled a bit
(I put a pinch of salt in the crust)
for the crust:
preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
To make the crust, mix the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, salt and butter in a bowl until well combined. Firmly pat the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan. Use a glass to press in the edges—it really helps. I like to make some of the crust go up the sides, up to you of course. Then bake in the preheated oven about 10 minutes or until "almost" golden brown.
for the cheesecake:
Preheat the oven to 320˚F. (I found this was the right temp for me. I’ve heard of turning oven to 350 degrees and baking for 5 minutes then down to 310 for remaining 50-55 minutes. You really have to find what works best for you and your oven temps).
Mash ripes bananas well and sprinkle just a little bit of lemon juice, not too much about 1 ts, set aside.
In a mixing bowl or mixer, combine cream cheese and sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add in the bananas and vanilla extract; mix well.
Pour into the crust. Bake for 1 hour. Or until the middle is not jiggly anymore.
Let cool in the oven for 1 – 2 hours. Do not open the oven door until cool. You must chill this in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours before serving. That amount of time was perfect for me.
1 cup sugar
6 TB unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, room temp (important!)
pinch of salt, optional
a splash of rum or dark rum, optional (room temp)
Cook notes: Please use a thick, sturdy pot for making caramel as you want even heat distribution and don't want your sugar to burn. And it is best to use a pan with high sides as the caramel mixture will bubble up. Please make sure your heavy cream is room temp and not cold. The cold will make the caramel not set up right.
Heat sugar on medium to medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. As the sugar begins to color and melt a bit, go ahead and stir it with spatula or wooden spoon. You want the sugar to come to a boil. Once it started boiling I stopped stirring.
Once all the sugar has melted and you have a dark amber color, this is the time to add the butter. Stir until butter melted, take off the heat, then add in the the heavy cream, very slowly. It will make a lot of noise and bubble up. Once added whisk/stir a lot! Keep stirring until smooth, add in your splash or two of dark rum (optional) and this is when you add in a tiny pinch of salt (optional). Keep stirring. Once smooth, let the sauce sit in pan for a while. If using straight away go ahead and do so, if storing let it cool a bit more before storing in glass jar. Make sure it's completely cool before placing in glass jar and storing in fridge.