Banana Pudding Cheesecake
- 1-½ cups vanilla wafer cookie crumbs
- ½ cup pecans, lightly toasted and chopped
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon banana essence
- 10 pieces ladyfingers, each cut in half crosswise
- 1 cup ripe bananas, sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, loosely packed
- 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons banana essence
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream, whipped to soft peak stage
- 2/3 cup ladyfingers, coarsely crushed
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan with melted butter and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.
- Combine together vanilla wafer crumbs, pecans, melted butter and banana essence. Stir until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Press onto the bottom of prepared pan. Arrange ladyfingers vertically along the sides of pan, cut side down. Slightly press cookies onto crust to secure.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Remove from pan and allow crust to cool on the wire rack for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Once crust is ready, combine sliced bananas, lemon juice and light brown sugar in a pan. Cook over medium heat with frequent stirring, until sugar is melted and begins to caramelize. Remove pan from heat and set aside to cool.
- Place softened cream cheese in a mixer bowl. Set speed to low and beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Increase speed to medium and gradually add confectioners’ sugar. Beat in eggs one by one, beating until well-combined after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract and banana essence. Fold in caramelized banana slices.
- Carefully pour cheesecake batter into pre-baked crust, smoothening the top as you go. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until center is just set but still jiggly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in pan on a wire rack. Run a thin knife along the sides of pan, being careful not to ruin the ladyfinger border on crust, to loosen cheesecake. Allow to cool completely.
- Once cheesecake is cooled, remove pan sides. Transfer onto a serving plate. Pipe whipped cream on top of cake and sprinkle with crushed ladyfingers. Chill for at least 6 hour or overnight, before serving. Cut cheesecake into wedges to serve.
- For variety, double or triple quantity for caramelized bananas in Cheesecake Layer. Use only half or 1/3 for cheesecake. Add ground cinnamon and/or nutmeg to remaining caramelized bananas and spoon over individual slices, omitting whipped topping and crushed ladyfingers.
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