Caramel Banana Custard Cheesecake with Salted Cashew Praline - Vanilla Wafer Crust
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 10-12 servings
 
ingredients:
Toasted, Salted Cashew Praline-Vanilla Wafer Crust
  • 1½ cups vanilla wafer crumbs
  • 1 stick (4 oz) butter, melted and browned
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 cup cashew praline, chopped finely (recipe follows)
Cashew Praline
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • ½ cup salted cashew nuts. Toast them for added flavor, if desired
Adapted from THIS cheesecake recipe
  • 3 packages of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or the innards of 1 plump vanilla bean)
  • 1 tablespoon banana liqueur, optional - I didn't use any, just giving you an option to enhance the banana flavor
  • Caramelized bananas (recipe below)
Caramelized bananas
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 2 to 3 bananas, cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
directions:
Make the Cashew Praline.
  1. In skillet or heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the sugar until light golden brown. Stir in the tablespoon of butter and tablespoon of cream, then stir in the salted cashew nuts and mix gently until the all the nuts are coated with the caramel. Pour onto a silpat lined or buttered baking sheet, and let harden.
  2. Once hardened, break it up and measure one cup of the broken pieces. Place the one cup of broken pieces in a food processor and pulse until chopped finely, or chop finely with a knife. Set this amount aside for the crust. Eat any leftovers, or add it to your favorite cookie dough before baking!
Make Crust.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine vanilla wafer crumbs, 1 cup of cashew praline, and light brown sugar in a food processor with a few light pulses. Drizzle in melted brown butter and vanilla extract as you're pulsing, until crust holds together slightly when squeezed. Press the crust on the bottom and up the sides of a lightly buttered 9-inch springform pan, using the bottom and side of a small glass to really pack it in. Place in preheated oven and bake for 5 - 7 minutes. Remove and let cool. Do not turn oven off, keep it at 350F for baking the cheesecake.
Make the caramelized bananas.
  1. Heat a large heavy saute pan over medium heat, until hot, but not smoking. Sprinkle sugar around the pan and drizzle with corn syrup. Cook, without stirring, just gently shaking the pan if some areas are turning color quicker than other areas, until whole mixture turns a golden amber color, about 6-8 minutes.
  2. Stir in butter until smooth (caramel will sizzle), then add chopped bananas and cook until they're caramelized but still slightly firm, about 4 -5 minutes. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap so the caramel doesn't dry out, until cool and ready to fold into cheesecake batter.
Make Cheesecake filling.
  1. Take ½ cup (heaping ½ cup) of the caramelized bananas and puree them in a food processor, or just mash them until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Mix in the pureed caramel bananas, sour cream, heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and liqueur (if using) and blend until smooth and creamy. Gently fold in the remaining caramelized bananas chunks.
  3. Wrap outside of springform pan, from the bottom up, in heavy duty tin foil or double wrap in regular tin foil (this prevents water from seeping into the pan). Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan.
  4. Bake 70 minutes, until it is almost done - but jiggly in the center. Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake finish baking in the cooling oven for one hour. This prevents cracks in the cheesecake. After one hour is up, remove the cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill for several hours to overnight. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.
  5. Serve with your favorite caramel sauce, toffee bits, whipped cream or torched meringue, and/or bruleed banana slices*..or just enjoy as is :).
  6. * To make bruleed banana slices..cut a banana into slices, any way you want. Sprinkle the cut sides generously, with granulated sugar, and caramelize with a kitchen torch, or place on a lined sheet pan under the broiler, keeping a close eye on them so they don't burn. Pipe some whipped cream n the edges of the cheesecake and stick a bruleed banana in each mound of whipped cream, OR, cover the top of the cheesecake with sweetened, beaten meringue (as mentioned above) and torch it, for a grand presentation!
Recipe by parsley sage sweet at https://www.parsleysagesweet.com/2012/05/24/caramelized-banana-pudding-cheesecake-with-salted-cashew-praline-vanilla-wafer-crust-for-my-guest-post-at-gingered-whisk/