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I Love Chocolate

by Stephanie Zonis

 

Banana-Chip Cheesecake

16 servings

 

Here is a dessert for a crowd; cheesecake goes a long way! This cheesecake, less sweet than some, has an easy graham cracker crust. The filling uses puréed bananas and includes miniature chocolate chips, and a chocolate glaze adds a nice finish to the dessert. You'll need a nine-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 circle (at least 10" in diameter) so that it fits in the bottom of the assembled springform pan. Tear off two pieces of aluminum foil, each about 12" long, and place in an "X" pattern on a flat surface; place the cardboard circle in the middle of the "X". Fold the foil over and around the cardboard circle (any excess foil should be folded over onto the bottom of 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, and the bottom will have the excess foil folded over onto it. Place this, smoothly covered side up, into the pan bottom, then prepare pan as instructed below. This foil-covered circle will enable you to cut your cheesecake without worrying about scratching the bottom of your pan, and it makes transporting the cheesecake easier, too.

The bananas you use for this should be fully ripe--no green, a golden yellow skin, and lots of brown "sugar spots." I purée mine in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (I make the graham cracker crumbs in this processor, too, then just wipe out the work bowl before putting the bananas into it). In any case, do not purée the bananas until just before you'll need them, and remember you want the purée smooth rather than chunky.

This cheesecake has a more custardy texture than many, which is how I like my cheesecake. You'll notice that a good percentage of the chips "migrate" toward the bottom of the cake when it is baking, but this does not matter; a "hit" of chocolate at the top is supplied by the glaze.

 

Crust:
1-3/4 lightly packed cups
   graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
27 ozs. cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups 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 puréed)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. dark rum
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Glaze:
3 ozs. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Few grains salt
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. heavy cream

 

Assemble a nine-inch diameter, three-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 circle as described above. Generously butter sides of springform, 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, form a layer of this mixture on the pan sides, right up to the top of the pan (use about 2/3 of the crumb mixture for the sides). Press the crumb mixture onto the pan sides firmly so it will adhere, and try to make the crumb mixture on the sides as even a layer as possible. Use remaining crumb mixture to cover the pan bottom, compacting firmly. Try not to have crumb mixture too thick where bottom and sides of pan meet. Chill crust until needed.

For Filling:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. The cream cheese must be very soft before you start mixing the filling. Place it, with the 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 scraping 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 purée in food processor fitted with steel blade just until smooth. Measure out 1-1/2 cups of the purée and add to cream cheese mixture, beating at a low speed until incorporated. Beat in cream, then rum and vanilla. Remove from mixer. With large spatula or spoon, stir in chips.

Remove crust from refrigerator. 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 HEAT TO 250 DEGREES F. Bake about 1-1/4 hours longer. Outer edges of cheesecake will have risen and may contain small cracks; 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 about one hour. Then, if you did use the foil-covered cardboard circle, it is safe to remove the bottom of the pan. 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 required, place bowl of chocolate over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl), and stir often until melted and 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 surface showing just at the edge, because I think it looks better). Work quickly, as the cold cheesecake will set the glaze speedily. Return cheesecake to refrigerator until glaze is set.

To cut cheesecake, use a large, sharp, heavy, straight-edged knife. Run 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 wrapping.

 

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Copyright © 1999 Francesca Chocolate Productions. All Rights Reserved.

Stephanie Zonis provides the above information to anyone, but retains copyright on all text. This means that you may not: distribute the text to others without the express written permission of Stephanie Zonis; "mirror" or include this information on your own server or documents without my permission; modify or re-use the text on this system. You may: print copies of the information for your own personal use; store the files on your computer for your own personal use only; and reference hypertext documents on this server from your own documents.

 
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This page created May 1999


 

 
 

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