Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia Degaris Pursell
1 1/2 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted
17 vanilla wafers
2 large ripe bananas, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarsely crushed vanilla wafers
Garnishes: sweetened whipped cream, vanilla wafers, sliced bananas tossed in lemon juice
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together first 3 ingredients in a small bowl until well blended. Press mixture onto bottom of a greased and floured 9-inch springform pan. Stand 17 vanilla wafers around edge of pan (rounded sides against pan), pressing gently into crust to secure. Bake 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 30 minutes).
Combine bananas and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Stir in brown sugar. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, 1 minute or just until sugar has dissolved.
Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer 3 minutes or until smooth. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Gently stir banana mixture into cream cheese mixture. Pour batter into prepared crust.
Bake at 350° for 45 to 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove cheesecake from oven; gently run a knife around edge of cheesecake to loosen. Sprinkle top of cheesecake with coarsely crushed wafers. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Cover and chill 8 hours.
This was my very first time making a cheesecake. Turned out GREAT!! I forgot to add the vanilla extract, but it didn't seem to make a difference. The next time I think I will mash the bananas intead of dicing them as one other reviewer stated. I will also not pre-bake the vanilla wafer crust as it turned out a little overdone. DEFINITELY looking forward to making this again & again.
You can increase the flavor of bananas in a dessert by roasting them first before adding to the dessert. This also means that you don't have to wait until they are fully ripe. To roast bananas, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325°F. Place 3 unpeeled bananas on baking sheet and bake until skins are completely black, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Proceed with your recipe as usual.
I have made this twice and both times it was a big hit! The first time I followed the recipe to the letter and found the banana pudding flavor too light. The second go round I added another diced banana and that made a world of difference. I also made homemade whipped topping and sliced bananas for garnish. Next time I'm going to make a meringue and use a torch to get that golden color. Wish me luck.
I made this cheesecake pretty much as directed and it turned out creamy and rich, although not the prettiest cheesecake I've ever made. The family seemed to enjoy it and it disappeared quickly. Next time, however, I plan to leave out the lemon juice or cut it back to half the amount and increase the brown sugar a little. I could taste the lemon juice (as could others) and found I didn't like that bit of tang and that the juice really wasn't necessary to prevent the bananas from turning brown. I'd also mash the bananas instead of dicing them since, personally, I didn't really care for the texture of the diced fruit in the creamy cake. Also, even though I used 3 ripe bananas (a MUST) I didn't notice much banana flavor. Next time I will make sure the bananas are even riper....almost black...to get the most out of the flavor. The only thing I did differently was that I added a TBSP of cornstarch to the batter (no flavor change) to help stop cracking (totally worked) and set the (foil-covered bottom) springform pan into a water bath for the baking of the cheesecake. For simple convenience I used ReddiWhip for the top but next time I'd either make my own whipped cream or perhaps use Cool Whip creamy. I think I'd like the texture better.
I made this today in hopes of having it for Easter. The banana flavor is delicious next time I plan to mix in other ingredients. My crust burned and no I did not over bake. Followed the recipe as stated. Next time I will use graham cracker crust. This recipe has great flavor & I will make again. :>)