Here is a dessert for a crowd. This cheesecake, less sweet and
more custardy in texture than some, has an easy graham cracker
crust. The filling uses pureed bananas and includes miniature
chocolate chips, and a chocolate glaze adds a nice finish to
the dessert. Note that a good percentage of the chips migrate
toward the bottom of the cheesecake during baking, but you'll
still get a "hit" of chocolate at the top from the glaze. You'll
need a nin-inch springform pan, which must be three inches tall.
I have a great pan with a dark, nonstick finish, made by "Kaiser".
As an optional step, trim a corrugated cardboard cake circle
at least 10 inches in diameter so it fits in the bottom of your
assembled pan. Tear off two pieces of aluminum foil, each about
12 inches long, and place in an "X" pattern on a flat surface;
place the trimmed cardboard circle in the center of the "X".
Fold the foil around and over the cardboard circle (any excess
foil should be folded over onto the circle, then flattened out
as much as possible). When done, you'll have the cardboard circle
covered with foil. One side should be smoothly covered; place
the circle, smooth side up, into the pan bottom, then complete
pan preparations as directed below. This will enable you to
cut the cheesecake without worrying about scratching the bottom
of the pan; it also makes it easier to transport the cheesecake.
The bananas you use for this should be fully ripe--no green,
a golden yellow peel, lots of brown "sugar spots". I puree mine
in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (I make the graham
cracker crumbs for the crust in the processor, then wipe out
the workbowl before putting the bananas into it). You could
also puree the bananas with a fork or potato masher. Whatever
you choose, do not puree the bananas until just before you'll
need them, and remember you want a smooth, not chunky, puree.
lightly packed cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/3 cup
unsalted butter, melted
- 27 ounces
cream cheese, softened
cups granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp.
- 6 egg
yolks, from eggs graded "large"
- 4 to 5
medium, ripe bananas (to make 1-1/2 cups pureed)
- 1/4 cup
- 2 Tbsp.
- 1 tsp.
- 1 cup
miniature semisweet chocolate chips
- 3 ounces
semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- Few grains
- 1/3 cup
plus 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
Assemble a 9 inch diameter, 3 inch tall springform pan, preferably
one with a nonstick finish. Adjust rack to center of oven. If
desired, line bottom of springform pan with foil-covered corrugated
cardboard cake circle as described above. Generously butter
sides only of pan, then set aside.
Crust: In medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and
melted butter. Mix thoroughly to blend well. Using your fingers
or the back of a spoon, press about two-thirds of the crumb
mixture onto the buttered sides of the pan, going all the way
up to the top. Try to make the layer of crumb mixture on the
sides as even as possible. Use remaining crumb mixture to cover
the pan bottom, compacting firmly; try not to have the crust
too thick where the bottom and sides meet. Chill crust until
Filling: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. The cream cheese
must be very soft (but not melted) before you start to work
with it. Place the softened cream cheese, with sugar and flour,
into the large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at a low speed,
scraping bowl and beater(s) often with rubber spatula, until
perfectly smooth. (Continue to scrape bowl and beater(s) frequently
with rubber spatula throughout mixing process.) Add egg yolks,
one at a time, incorporating each before adding the next.
Rinse and dry the unpeeled bananas. Peel them, removing any
brown spots from the flesh. Break the bananas into large chunks,
then puree in food processor fitted with steel blade (or with
fork or potato masher) just until smooth. Measure 1-1/2 cups
puree (eat or discard any that remains) and add it to cream
cheese mixture, beating at a low speed until incorporated. Beat
in cream, then rum and vanilla. Remove from mixer. With large
spoon or spatula, stir in chips.
Remove crust from refrigerator. Gently pour filling over a large
spatula into the chilled crust; the pan will be very full. Place
in preheated oven; bake for 8 minutes. REDUCE OVEN TEMPERATURE
TO 250 DEGREES F. Bake about 1-1/4 hours longer. When done,
outer edges of cheesecake will have risen and may contain small
cracks, while the center will still look uncooked and will quiver
if pan is gently tapped. Remove from oven.
Allow to stand on cooling rack at room temperature (out of drafts)
for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Gently and carefully loosen sides of cheesecake
from springform; remove sides of pan from cake. (Leave the bottom
on for now, even if you used the foil-covered cardboard circle.)
Chill cheesecake at least 1 hour. Then, if you used the foil-covered
cardboard circle on the pan bottom, carefully and gently loosen
the pan bottom from the bottom of the circle; remove pan bottom.
Return cheesecake to refrigerator. Chill at least 4 hours (preferably
overnight) before glazing.
For Glaze: Place chopped chocolate and salt in small heatproof
bowl. In small saucepan over low heat, heat cream until very
hot, stirring occasionally. Pour about half of hot cream over
chocolate. Let stand for a minute or two, then stir until smooth
(if necessary, place bowl of chocolate over simmering water
on low heat--water should not touch bottom of bowl--and stir
often until smooth. Remove from heat and hot water.) Gradually
stir in remaining cream. Allow glaze to cool to room temperature,
stirring occasionally. Slowly pour glaze into center of cheesecake;
quickly spread to cover surface (I leave a narrow rim of unglazed
cheesecake at the edge, because I like the look of it). Work
quickly; the cold cheesecake will set the glaze speedily. Return
cheesecake to refrigerator at least until glaze is set.
To cut, use a large, sharp, heavy, straight-edged knife. Rinse
knife blade under very hot water; shake off, but do not dry.
Repeat this procedure before making each cut. Store cheesecake
in refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to one week. Freeze
for longer storage (thaw in refrigerator, still in wrappings).
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