Monday, April 27, 2009

Creamy Banana Caramel Cheesecake with Macadamia Nut Crust and Caramel Rum Sauce

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Remember that lemon cheesecake disaster? The one where the cheesecake puffed, burned, cracked, and tasted a little bit like a lemon flavored kitchen sponge? It was a disaster. An epic disaster. I have made so many awful cheesecakes, I officially named cheesecake as my NEMESIS.

Well. Guess what. Just guess. No really!

I WIN. That's what. I finally made a cheesecake that didn't suck sweaty goat balls. That's right. This cheesecake is good.


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No, wait. This cheesecake is GREAT. Dare I say it? This is the best cheesecake I have ever had. Ever. And that's saying something. Because I love cheesecake. A lot. And I know a good cake from a bad cake. And this cake is awesome.

You might be arching your eyebrows skeptically about the flavor. Banana cheesecake? Is that actually good?

YES.

YES, YES, YES! Have you ever had bananas foster? It was good, right? This cheesecake is a little like that. The cheesecake is smooth and creamy, with just a hint of mellow banana flavor, dark sweet rum, and vanilla. And don't forget the generous, rum infused ribbons of dulce de leche caramel. The crust is made of crushed macadamia nuts and unsweetened coconut. And it's topped with dark rum caramel sauce. It's kind of amazing.

I think I just might be making this again. RIGHT NOW. No really.


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Creamy Banana Caramel Cheesecake with Macadamia Nut Crust and Caramel Run Sauce

This month I joined an awesome baking club called The Daring Bakers. Each month, everyone in the club makes the same "challenge" recipe, then reveals said recipe on the same day on their blogs! Is that fun or what?

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

I think this might be a MAGIC recipe. I have made so many bad cheesecakes, but this one came out perfectly, and it was so easy! After so many throw aways, it's great to have a winner. It's definitely going in my permanent file.


Ingredients

1 macadamia nut crust with coconut flakes

For the cheesecake:
3 sticks cream cheese (8oz each) room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1 medium banana (not too ripe!)
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 can dulce de leche

Rum Caramel Sauce:
1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3 tbs butter



ok, lets get started! FIRST: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bring a LARGE pot of water to boil on the stove for your water bath.




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Got that cream cheese? I hope it's room temperature! It really makes a difference. In fact, I recommend everything be room temperature - the cream cheese, the eggs, and the milk. It goes together much more smoothly, with no lumps.


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Place your cream cheese in a stand mixer. Add the sugar.


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Beat together until sugar is incorporated, 2-3 minutes. Try not to sample too much. Not that I have ANY IDEA how good sugar creamed into cream cheese tastes. Nope. No idea whatsoever.


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Add the eggs one at a time, mixing each one in completely before adding the next. TIP: Mix on LOW until just incorporated. Overmixing will make the cake rise too much in the oven.


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Add the heavy cream. Also mix this in on LOW. See above for why. You know, if you forgot.


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Now add a tablespoon of this.


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And don't forget a tablespoon of THIS!


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Now for the fun part.


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Puree a banana in a food processor (or a blender). You want it really smooth. This is not a banana chunk cheesecake (yuck).


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Now gently mix it all up together. GENTLY. Like, until it is JUST mixed. It will be very runny. That's ok! Pour the cheesecake batter into whatever mold you are using, and fill it up HALF WAY. (I used ramkins. Next time I will use a springform pan. Ramkins were hard).


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Ready for some MORE FUN? Mix this up with a bit of rum until it is syrrupy. MMmmmm. Dulce de leche. Put a couple of blobs in and GENTLY mix some of this stuff in with a knife or a fork. You want to make ribbons. Try not to sample too much. But, well, if you do... you're stronger than I am.


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Fill your pans up to the top, and top with more dulce the leche. You can make a pretty swirly design on top like I did. Remember that boiling water at the beginning? Put your cheesecakes in a BIG pan, and fill the big pan up with water, until the cheesecake(s) are 1/2 way submerged. This slows the cooking down, and keeps the cheesecakes from burning or cracking.

Now put those babies in the over, and bake for 45-55 minutes (less if you are making small cheesecakes like me). You know it's done when the outer ring is firm, but the center is still jiggly.

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Turn your oven off, and let the cheesecake sit in the slowly cooking over for ONE HOUR. Then remove the cheesecakes from the water bath, and let them continue to cool on the counter. This SLOW cooling will also help to keep them from cracking.

Finally, refrigerate them overnight before unmolding.


Caramel Rum Sauce

This sauce is SO SIMPLE, but powerfully, and I mean POWERFULLY tasty. And also? Kind of fun! There is fire involved. That's all I'm going to say. FOR NOW.


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This is all you need: Butter, golden grown sugar, and dark rum.


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Start by melting 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan (Don't use ANYTHING no stick. We are going to be playing with fire here. We wouldn't want anyone to get hurt).


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Add 1/4 cup brown sugar.


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Heat on HIGH until the sugar is melted, and the sauce is bubbly.


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Remember the rum? You need 1/4 cup dark rum. And some matches. (Really).


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Add the rum to the bubbly sugar. Light a match - don't get too close! Those flames can shoop up to three feet high! Gently swirl the sauce as it flambes, so that the alcohol comes to the surface and is burned up by the flames.


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Voila! Rum sauce. TO DIE FOR. Really. SO GOOD. Especially with bananas.


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Now put it all together. This one is to celebrate Baby James' birthday! And by that, I mean what should have been his birthday - his due date! Happy zero little dude! Wait, what? You are too young to each cheesecake. Oh, ok. I guess mommy can eat your piece for you. :D

31 comments:

  1. I love your pictures! Especially the one of the caramel sauce on fire. So tasty looking.

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  2. Beautiful photography and cooking! I love your flavor combinations!

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  3. Wow, this looks amazing, great idea!! Love Banana's foster. Love cheesecake. Now combining the two, simply fabulous!

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  4. I love your photos too! But the banana and caramel combination just made me hungry for some :) I'll have to remember to add banana next time I make some cheesecake with caramel sauce. thanks!

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  5. Can't go wrong with a bananas foster cheesecake :) Great step by step too - I need to start doing that for the DB challenges..

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  6. What a splendid cheesecake! I love that combination of flavors!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  7. This looks so delicious, I was wondering about bananas and caramel... great photos and story!

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  8. OMG, looks so good! Love that macadamia nut crust.... so versatile. Am always looking for a graham cracker substitute.

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  9. Haha - I just realized THIS was your DB post. I commented on your previous cheesecake thinking that was and I was like "where's her DB line?! Don't forget it!!" Looks fabulous!! :) Well done!!

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  10. Your cheesecakes are amazing! And so pretty.

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  11. That first close up is so tempting... but my favorite shot has to be the one of the swirls. Beautiful cheesecake!

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  12. Oh so beautiful...you're my new best friend, can I live with you? I won't make a mess, I promise.

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  13. OMG, your cheesecake is like a tropical sundae. Bananas with dulce de leche is heaven, and your perfect swirls of it are heavenly! Great photos too!

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  14. This looks fantastic! I'm loving all of the banana cakes.

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  15. Wow. Just, wow. This looks incredible and I want to eat my screen. Well, except for the picture with fire in it. That would taste kind of painful.

    By the way, I'm the actual Abbey from the recipe, and we are totally on the same wavelength here because a banana/caramel bananas-foster-inspired cheesecake is a variation I've been plotting in my head for months but haven't had an occasion to make. ROCK ON. This looks fabulous.

    And can I just say how proud I am that you finally found a cheesecake recipe that works? I'm honored that my humble little recipe has found its way into your permanent file, and hope you make many more successful ones in the future. :-) Thanks for all your wonderful comments!

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  16. macadamia, banana, caramel... HEAVEN! love how you make that pattern with the caramel. so pretty. Well done

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  17. Oh wow banana caramel ... I can't stand it. It's too delicious to resist! Well done!

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  18. Thankyou everyone! I had a really great time making it! And Abby, thankyou SO much for the recipe! I am so flattered that you read my blog!

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  19. This sounds so decadent. I'm so glad you have found a cheesecake that will let you make such wonderful creations without suffering from fail! Thanks for being a part of the April Daring Baker's Challenge!

    Jenny of JennyBakes

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  20. I have this thing for bananas and caramel...and rum...they're so delicious together! I wish I could have had a slice of that... oh well, I'll just have to make it myself, because Abbey's infamous cheesecake recipe sure is a keeper! Beautiful pictures and great presentation!

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  21. WOW. Once I finish moving, I am going to make this right away. Really. As in, I am going to abandon my luggage in the hallway and rush straight into the kitchen and make this. :D It looks so beautiful!

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  22. girl do you know I drive to the cheesecake factory at least once a month just to get some banana cheesecake. and I have yet to find a decent recipe to make my own banana cheesecake with? I must try this. finally someone else who likes it the way I do...

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  23. Oh wow! This looks and sounds amazing! Love the flavours!

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  24. That cheesecake looks and sounds so good!

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  25. I'm going to bake this in a 9-inch springform pan, so WHAT TEMP and HOW LONG should I bake it? Also, do I still cool it in the oven (DOOR CLOSED OR OPEN) for an hour or so after oven is off? And one more question: where do I buy the dulce de leche? Does Safeway have it? It sounds Spanish.
    I need your answer right away as I want to do this tomorrow..Nov. 6.

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  26. I made this dessert for Thanksgiving. Everyone said it was the best cheesecake they ever had. I baked it (the day before) in a 9 inch springform pan. I made a mess with the swirl, I totally need more practice doing that. In every other way it was perfection. Thanks for sharing!

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  27. Wow, that looks mouth-watering!

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  28. Nice to find this blog. so much attractive post content are there. Hugs.

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  29. Just a thought. Could you make the recipe more printer friendly? I really don't like to print out 16 pages for a one page recipe. Thanks

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  30. Looks yummy and I would love to try this. Do you prebake the crust when baking it in a springform pan? Can someone help me out on this? Thank you kindly!

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