Banana Pudding Cheesecake Love Child
I think each region of the country has it's quintessential deserts - when I think of the North I think of New York Cheesecake. When I think South, I think Banana Pudding. Now - close your eyes and imagine that they got together and had a love child. That child would be this - it's not either one, yet captures what is lovely and luscious about each.
Now - I have to put a word in here about the vanilla wafer issue. Southerners grew up with banana pudding, and we happen to love the cookies as they are - and yes, they get soft. So what? Anybody not a Southerner seems to have an issue with this - which we frankly don't understand. So - if you have issues with wafers - all you have to do is use a graham cracker crust instead of the wafers and liqueur. Even better would be to use half graham crackers and half 'nilla wafers in the crust. That would preserve the flavors of both of the 'parent' desserts. Actually - I don't think I'd mind this stuff naked - it's that good.
How to Make Vanilla Extract
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup of sugar, plus 2 Tbl sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 Tbl Southern Comfort
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 Tbl butter, cold and cubed
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1/2 package vanilla wafers
- 3 Tbl creme de banana, plus another 2 Tbl
- Over medium low heat in a heavy saucepan, scald the cream with the 2 Tbl sugar. The sugar will help prevent the cream from burning. Remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk eggs, Southern Comfort, and creme de banana until the eggs are light in color and thickening. Add the cream cheese, and continue whisking until creamy and smooth.
- Add the cornstarch and pinch of salt to the cream cheese mixture and stir well.
- Working in small batches, temper the egg/cream cheese mixture with increasing amounts of the hot cream. Once completely combined, place mixture back on the heat - medium to medium low. You don't want to scorch it.
- Bring the mixture up to a simmer, and allow it to cook for just at a minute. Remove from heat, and add vanilla. Stir well.
- In a 9x13 casserole dish, place a layer of the vanilla wafers. With a spray bottle, spritz a thin mist of the creme de banana over the wafers. Slice the bananas thinly, and add a layer of sliced banana on top of the wafers. Top with half of the banana pudding cheesecake mixture. Work sort of quickly - the pudding will get very thick as it cools and sets up. Repeat with another layer of wafers, creme de banana, and pudding.
- Chill very well before serving. Top each serving with whipped cream. You can garnish with a vanilla wafer, a sprig of mint or a tiny sprinkle of cinnamon.
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