Wednesday, July 18

Southern Desserts 101: Banana Pudding Cheesecake

Bananas are inherently Southern. Most likely because they can trace their roots back to the late 1800's. Ton after ton of the tropical fruit arrived in America through Southern ports, particularly New Orleans. So much so that watching bananas being unloaded from cargo ships became a popular pastime for locals and tourist alike. Southern cooks began to experiment with their beloved bananas. Brennan's Restaurant, in the French Quarter of New Orleans, is the birthplace of 'Bananas Foster'. Mr. Brennan decided his restaurant needed to promote the plentiful fruit. He challenged his chef, BlangĂ©, to create an interesting dish and Bananas Foster was the result. Little did anyone realize the dish would go on to become an international favorite appearing on menus from New Orleans to Paris, France. The same can be said of Banana Pudding. It came on the Southern scene in 1903. Mary Frazer combined a simple custard with bananas and VOILA, this all-American dessert was born.

Banana Pudding Cheesecake
This recipe for Banana Pudding Cheesecake turns our original Southern tradition into a showstopper! It is an absolutely amazing cheesecake recipe, rivaling anything you can buy at the Cheesecake Factory or any other upscale bakery. It has a bold and very natural banana flavor. It's delightful flavors combine the deliciousness of cheesecake with the staid tried and true Southern style banana pudding into one of my all-time favorite desserts. Fresh bananas, creamy cheesecake, and crunchy vanilla wafers, it's pure bliss....what's not to love?!!
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  • 1 package 'Nilla Wafers', half turned to crumbs in the blender, half broken into large chunks
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tbs vanilla
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • Garnishes: sweetened whipped cream, vanilla wafers, whole and crumbs
  • Preheat the oven to 375 F
  • Mix Nilla Wafers crumbs and butter and press into a 9 inch spring form.
  • Wrap the bottom and sides of the spring form with aluminum foil to seal out water.
  • Beat the cream cheese on low speed until blended.
  • Add sugar and continue to beat on low.
  • Add the eggs one at a time.
  • Remove from mixer and fold in sour cream and the vanilla.
  • Pour 1/3 of the filling into the crust. Sprinkle with half of the sliced bananas and chopped vanilla wafers. Pour another 1/3 of the filling on top. Sprinkle with remaining sliced bananas and chopped vanilla wafers. Pour the remaining filling into the pan.
  • Place cheesecake pan into another pan and add water until it comes halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.
  • Bake for 45 minutes.
  • Leave the oven door closed and turn off heat. Allow cheesecake to stand for one hour in the oven.
  • Remove from oven and water bath and allow to come to room temperature.
  • Cover spring-form pan and place in the fridge.
  • Chill for at least 8 hours.
  • Remove from pan and plate. I wait until it's time to serve before I top the cheesecake with cream, wafers and bananas.

The next time you want to shock and awe your friends and family, 
give this Southern dessert a try, you'll be glad you did.

The Domestic Curator

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