© Constantine William Spyrou
The Masterchef competition has continued to get incredibly difficult and fierce. This past week, the losing team of the team challenge had to go through a pressure test in which they had 90 minutes to make a great and visually appealing cheesecake. They could use the pantry to provide whatever toppings they felt good for the cheesecake they wanted to make. The pantry had all kinds of fruits and chocolates and other such things.
For me, dessert is a struggle, because I haven't gotten too much into baking. I can make cookies no problem, but baking things such as cheesecakes are challenging for me. However, I have had experience cooking cheesecake "cupcakes," so hopefully that experience helps me knock out a successful cheesecake for this!
For my topping, I chose a classic Bananas Foster, which is caramelized bananas with a rum caramel sauce that is cooked with the bananas. The bananas will be sliced and ring around the edge of the cheesecake, with the caramel sauce swirling over the bananas and then to the center in a spiral shape. Instead of traditional vanilla ice cream that goes with Bananas Foster, I'll be using a vanilla bean cheesecake that is chilled. Hopefully it goes over well!
Recipe makes 1 cheesecake.
For the Crust:
15 graham crackers, crushed (around 1 1/2 cups)
4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
pinch of salt- fine ground
2 tablespoons banana liquer
For the Cheesecake Filling:
1 pound softened cream cheese
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 pint mascarpone cheese, softened
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Topping:
2-3 bananas sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
1/4 cup butter (about 1 1/2 sticks)
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
1 tablespoon banana liquer
1 tsp cinnamon
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean OR 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. In a hot pan, flambe the banana liquer for the crust. It will be done when the flames dissipate. Add this to the graham crackers, salt, turbinado sugar, and melted butter, and combine to form a crust. Make this no more than an eighth of an inch thick at the bottom of a greased 8 or 9 inch cakepan.
2. Beat the cream cheese in a mixer until smooth. Add in the Mascarpone, and beat until smooth once again. Add in the eggs while mixing slowly one at a time. Gradually add the sugar and vanilla bean/extract on slow mixing speed until smooth and thoroughly combined.
3. Add the filling to the cake tin. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. When done, chill in a fridge for around 20 minutes.
4. In a hot pan, melt the topping portion of butter. Add in the brown sugar and flambe off the dark rum and banana liquer. Add in the cinnamon and vanilla, and cook until the brown sugar melts into a caramel sauce with the butter. Quickly toss the bananas in with the sauce for about 20 seconds, then take off the heat and let cool.
5. When the cheesecake is chilled, bring it out and ring the outer edge with just the bananas. Swirl the caramel carefully around the middle part of the cheesecake to create a nice spiral.
The tie-in for this dish is the vanilla bean. Having it in each of the components really helps bring all parts of the cheesecake together and lets it harmonize.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! Let me know what you think and what you would change! If you make it, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =)