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.
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! 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.
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.
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.
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.
Place your cream cheese in a stand mixer. Add the sugar.
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.
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.
Add the heavy cream. Also mix this in on LOW. See above for why. You know, if you forgot.
Now add a tablespoon of this.
And don't forget a tablespoon of THIS!
Now for the fun part.
Puree a banana in a food processor (or a blender). You want it really smooth. This is not a banana chunk cheesecake (yuck).
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).
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.
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.
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.
This is all you need: Butter, golden grown sugar, and dark rum.
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).
Add 1/4 cup brown sugar.
Heat on HIGH until the sugar is melted, and the sauce is bubbly.
Remember the rum? You need 1/4 cup dark rum. And some matches. (Really).
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.
Voila! Rum sauce. TO DIE FOR. Really. SO GOOD. Especially with bananas.
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