Banana Pudding Cheesecake

Happy Easter y’all!  Summer’s coming and this is generally the last of my spring flings before I turn the tables to leaning out.  It is a delicious one and the perfect dessert to wow your family.  The banana pudding flavor lightens up the cheesecake (sort of) making it the centerpiece of your Easter table.

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The claim to fame for this recipe goes to  Southern Living March 2012.  I made a few changes to make it gluten free and a tad healthier.

Recipe & Ingredients

1 1/2 cups finely crushed gluten free vanilla wafers*
1/2 cup chopped pecan
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

*These can be hard to find; any similarly shaped gf vanilla cookie will do.  I used Ginny Mini Butter Crisp and found them at my local Whole Foods

Preparation

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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Gently stir banana mixture into cream cheese mixture. Pour batter into prepared crust.

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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.

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Sprinkle top of cheesecake with coarsely crushed wafers. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Cover and chill 8 hours.

Garnish:  beat 1/2 cup raw cream with a little powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.  Place dollops around outer edges of cheesecake.  Top each dollop with a vanilla wafer and banana slice dipped in lemon juice (to prevent browning).

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