If you love bananas this is the dessert for you. A rich cheesecake flavored with very ripe bananas topped with bananas roasted with rum, brown sugar, butter and vanilla.
I do my cheesecakes a little differently than some others. First of all, I don’t bake them in a spring form pan. Almost every spring form pan I’ve ever owned becomes a bit warped over time, making it almost impossible to bake in a water bath without leaking, and I find wrapping the pan in foil tedious and not always water proof.
I use a regular cake pan lined with parchment paper and then use a blow torch (or hot water, but a blow torch is more fun!) to release the cold cake from the pan. I’ve never had a problem with a cake sticking.
Some recipes recommend that you leave the baked cheesecake in the oven as it cools. I think the reasoning on this is that the cake will finish baking and then cool very slowly so it won’t shrink and crack.
I remove the cake from the oven as soon as it’s ready, allow it to cool just a bit, then run a thin knife around the sides of the warm cheesecake to release it from the pan.
Most recipes say the cake is baked when the cake is mostly set but the center still jiggles a bit. This recipe has so much moisture from the sour cream and the bananas I find it’s very easy to underbake it. I bake it until the cake is set all the way, but it’s still pale in color and moves as a mass, not just in the middle.
Here are some other tips for cheesecake success–
- To avoid lumps of cream cheese in the batter, make sure the cream cheese is softened to room temperature before mixing. Thoroughly scrape the bowl after mixing the cheese, after adding the sugar and after each addition of eggs to the batter.
- Do not over mix the batter or mix on high speed, especially after the eggs are added. Over mixing aerates the batter, causing it to puff up and crack as it bakes.
- Do not use the convection setting of your oven. I love convection baking, but not for custards.
- Just like any other custard, a cheesecake needs to bake in a water bath. The water will help the custard bake at an even temperature. Baking a custard without a bath can cause curdling and puffing, yuk!
- Chill completely in the refrigerator before unmolding.
- Having just said that, if you want to make a cheesecake that breaks all the cheesecake rules check out this recipe for San Sebastian Cheesecake.
Bananas with brown speckles are the perfect ripeness for this recipe
Graham Cracker Crust
- 6 tablespoons (3 oz, 85g) butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers)
- 1/4 cup (2 oz, 56g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 16 oz (453g) cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup (6 oz, 170g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (8 oz, 224g) sour cream
- 2 medium (8 oz, 224g) very ripe bananas, smashed with a fork (leave some lumps for texture)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean, or a 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, whisked together with a pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 112g) brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons dark rum
- Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1/4 cup (2 oz, 56g) butter
- 4 medium (16 oz, 448g) ripe but still firm bananas, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9" cake pan or springform pan with a parchment paper round. If you're using a spring form pan wrap the outside of the pan with a piece of aluminum foil to cover the bottom and sides.
To make the Crust
- Combine the cracker crumbs, cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Pour the melted butter over the crumbs and toss to combine. Dump the crumbs into the cake pan and press into an even layer. Bake the crust for 10 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
Make the cheesecake batter
- Combine the softened cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed to combine the ingredients, scraping the bowl and beaters often to avoid lumps.
- Once the mix is smooth, add the sour cream, bananas, vanilla and lemon juice. Scrape the bowl. Add the eggs in three stages, scraping well after each addition. Mix just until the eggs are combined, do not over mix.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan. Set the pan into a sheet pan or roasting pan. Set the pan into the middle rack of the oven and pour water to come at least 1/2 way up the side of the cake pan.
- Bake until the cake softly jiggles as a mass when the pan is shaken, about 45-50 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Run a thin sharp knife that has been moistened with warm water around the sides of the cake to release it from the pan (this will prevent the cake from cracking while it cools). Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. To make the topping, combine the brown sugar, rum, vanilla bean seeds and butter in a small saucepan. Heat to melt the ingredients together. Toss the sauce with the sliced bananas
- Roast the bananas on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper until the bananas have softened slightly and the sauce is caramelized and bubbly (about 10 minutes).
- Remove the cold cheesecake from the refrigerator. If you used a spring form pan run a knife around the edges of the cake and release the pan.
- If you used a regular cake pan, set the cold cake into a bowl of very hot water for 20-30 seconds to release the sides. Run a warm knife around the sides of the cake. Place a plate or cardboard cake circle on top of the cake pan. Immediately flip the cake over and remove the pan and the parchment circle. Flip the cake over onto a serving plate
- Arrange the roasted bananas onto the cake as a topping or serve along side the cake as a condiment.
I like to add the bananas to the chilled cheesecake just before serving. I prefer not to refrigerate the roasted bananas because the texture is not as nice when cold.
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