Milk Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownies

Chocolate Tapioca

Banana-Chip Cheesecake

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Sweet Spot


Banana-Chip Cheesecake

Tips: 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.


  • 1-3/4 lightly packed cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 27 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 6 egg yolks, from eggs graded "large"
  • 4 to 5 medium, ripe bananas (to make 1-1/2 cups pureed)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. dark rum
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Few grains salt
  • 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.

For 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 needed.

For 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).

16 servings

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