Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Banana Cream Cheesecake

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What do you get when you mix banana cream pie with cheesecake? A Banana Cream Cheesecake. This dessert will have you coming back for seconds.

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Above is a picture of my vanilla sugar. I keep my vanilla pods after I’ve scraped the caviar out, I add the pod into my granulated sugar jar, this way I always have vanilla sugar on hand.  I’m using vanilla sugar in my shortbread cookie crust for this recipe

Spring Form Pan Lined With Parchment Paper

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Offset Spatula

Above is what’s called an offset spatula. This makes frosting any type of cake so much easier than using, for example; a butter knife.

Note: A useful tip for frosting is to dip the offset spatula into very hot water then wiping off the spatula. You want to do this once you spread the cream all over the top with the Bavarian cream.  This technique will give you a smooth top and defined outer edge.

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Yields: 12 servings
Bake Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Inactive Bake Time: 30 minutes in the oven
Cool Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Equipment: Electric or Stand Mixer, Spring Form Pan, Food Processor

2 1/2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs
12 tbsp unsalted butter, melted (1 1/2 sticks)
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
4 tbsp granulated sugar (optional vanilla sugar)

Bavarian Cream:
1 tsp powdered gelatin
2 tbsp whole milk
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp banana extract

2/3 cup cold heaving whipping cream
5 tbsp powdered sugar

Cheesecake Filling:
24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
4 tsp banana extract
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup pureed bananas (2 bananas)*
3 large eggs, room temperature

Directions For Whipped Cream Topping:
1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 fresh sliced bananas

Note: Use ripe bananas, not ones that have browned

Directions For Crust:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper-lined in the bottom and grease the sides. Add the broken up shortbread cookies to a food processor, fitted with the metal blade. Press pulse a few times to process the cookies into crumbs. Add in the melted butter, and keep pulsing, until the mixture has the consistency of wet sand. Carefully remove the blade, then dump the crumbs into the springform pan. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides (ex: pictures above) of the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool. Cover the outsides of the pan with aluminum foil so that the water doesn’t seep through the springform pan. (ex: pictures above). Set prepared pan aside.

Directions For Bavarian Cream:
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin onto the milk and set aside. In a medium-size bowl, whisk the egg yolks together and set aside. Add the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, and banana extract to a large saucepan and heat over medium heat until warm. Remove the cream mixture from the heat and slowly pour the hot cream into the whisked eggs to temper* them. Add the egg and cream mixture back into the saucepan and return to the heat. Continue cooking over medium heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, or reaches 160 degrees F. This process should happen pretty quickly. Add the gelatin mixture to the hot cream and stir until smooth.

Pour the custard into another bowl and set that bowl inside another larger bowl containing a good amount of ice. Allow the custard cool to room temperature. While the custard is cooling, add heavy cream and powdered sugar to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form. Once the custard (Bavarian cream) has cooled, gently fold the whipped cream into the custard. (Note: Be sure the custard is, at a minimum, room temperature so whipped cream does not wilt). Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the custard so a skin doesn’t form on top, and transfer to the refrigerator.

Directions For Cheesecake:
Preheat oven to 300-degrees F.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and flour on low speed until completely combined and smooth. Be sure to use low speed to reduce the amount of air add to the batter, ( this may cause cracks in the cake). Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sour cream, banana, and vanilla extract, mix on low speed until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly to combine after each of them is added. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.

Pour the cheesecake batter into the crust. Place the springform pan inside a large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with enough warm water to go about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. The water should not go above the top of the aluminum foil on the springform pan. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes. The center should be set, but still slightly. Turn the oven off and leave the door closed for an additional 30 minutes. The cheesecake will continue to cook but slowly begins to cool as well.

Crack the oven door for an additional 30 minutes to allow the cheesecake to cool slowly. This helps to prevent cracking. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath along with the foil wrapping. Place onto a cooling rack and cool for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from the springform pan.

Spread the chilled Bavarian cream, using an offset spatula, all over the top. A good tip for frosting (underneath the picture of the offset spatula) is referenced above. Refrigerate the cheesecake until completely cool and firm, about 6 hours.

Add the heavy whipping, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract for the whipped cream topping to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. whisk on high speed until stiff peaks. Pipe swirls of whipped cream around the edges of the cheesecake. Add sliced fresh bananas for the top and along the sides.

Store in refrigerator. If you’re decorating in advance with the whipped cream and fresh bananas, place cheesecake in a plastic cake container, then into the freezer.  This will stop the bananas from turning brown.  Bring the cheesecake out to thaw out enough to slice before serving.

*To Temper, is the process of adding a small amount of the hot cream slowly to beaten eggs while whisking so the eggs won’t scramble. Then add the egg mixture back to the pot, combining it with the rest of the cream mixture.


Strawberry Cheesecake Swirl Topped With A White Chocolate Drizzle

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Cheesecakes, besides being decadent and delicious, I believe are one of the most popular dessert items found on restaurant menus. Whenever I’m making a cheesecake, I think about the three things, first, the crust, then the filling, and finally the topping. Of course, the traditional is only comprised of two of these, the crust and the cheese filling. Let’s face it, cheesecake lovers are always trying to invent new ways of sprucing up the traditional with fruit, chocolate, and even making savory ones.

I really want to take a minute to talk about the batter, the body of the cheesecake. My two main objectives are to prevent the cheesecake from cracking or the eggs from curdling. I like using a water bath, a gentle heat, for the baking process which prevents the cheesecake from cracking.

When using both corn starch and flour in the batter, the cornstarch will prevent the eggs from curdling. I’ve also have found, after the cheesecake has baked for an hour, leaving the cheesecake in the water bath, in the oven with the heat off, and the oven door slightly ajar for an additional hour, will ensure you won’t have cheesecake with those little annoying cracks in the top. The residual heat, in the walls and left in the water bath, will radiate enough heat to complete the baking process.

It’s a personal preference that I choose to use a little flour in the batter. I like the creamy, silky yet firm texture to my finished cheesecake. Now, if I were making a savory version, then I’d incorporate flour and cornstarch in the batter because I’d want a slightly firmer texture. No matter savory or sweet, the gentle heat of a water bath is always the method I use.

This is my Strawberry Cheesecake Swirl Topped With A White Chocolate Drizzle.

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Note: Reserve the vanilla pod(s) for your granulated sugar. You’ll have vanilla-flavored sugar for future recipes.

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Prep Time: 1 hour
Active Baking Time: 50 to 60 minutes
Inactive Baking Time: 60 minutes
Inactive Prep Time For Crust: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time For Strawberry Sauce: 30 minutes
Refrigerate Cheesecake: overnight
Freeze Cheesecake: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours
Yields: 8 to 10 slices
Equipment: 9-inch springform pan, 3-quart saucepan a roasting pan, food processor, an electric mixer, aluminum foil, long wooden skewer, Stand mixer or electric hand-held mixer

Note: Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature

Ingredients For The Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 cups of tightly packed cracker crumbs (1 sleeve each, honey graham crackers and cinnamon graham crackers, processed)
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
3/4 stick of unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients For The Strawberry Filling:
2 pints fresh strawberries, hauled and cut
2 heaping tablespoons of corn starch
1/4 cup of strawberry preserves
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

Ingredients For The Cheesecake Filling;
3 8-ounce bars of cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup  Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup of sour cream, room temperature
1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
1 seeded vanilla bean (reserve the vanilla bean pod(s))
3 large eggs, room temperature

Hot water for “water bath”

Ingredients For White Chocolate:
2 11-ounce packages of Ghirardelli White chocolate chips, melted

Directions For Strawberry Sauce:
Start with fresh strawberries that have been hulled and halved into a food processor. Add in the cornstarch and pulse until the strawberries are completely puréed. Next, pour the puréed strawberry mixture into a small saucepan. Over medium-high heat, add fresh lemon juice, granulated sugar, and strawberry preserves, stir to combine. Bring up to a boil, constantly stirring, Cook the strawberry sauce until shiny and thick. This takes about 5 minutes. You’ll see that the sauce has thickened when you run your finger down the back of a spoon and it stays separated. Remove the sauce from the heat, place it into a bowl, and transfer to the frig to chill for 30 minutes.

Directions For Graham Cracker Crust:
prepare the springform pan (as seen in the picture above) by tightly wrapping the aluminum foil around the bottom exterior of the pan. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process the two varieties of graham crackers. Transfer the graham cracker crumbs to a mixing bowl add sugar, stir to combine. Add in the melted butter, mix to combine. The crumbs should look like wet sand. Dump the cracker crumbs into the springform pan. Spread the crumbs around with your fingers to fill the bottom of the pan. Then using the bottom of a small shot glass, firmly press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and around the interior edges of the pan. Prepare the outside of the springform pan (as seen in the picture above) by tightly wrapping the aluminum foil around the bottom exterior of the pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Directions For Cheesecake Filling:
In an electric hand-held or stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add in the softened cream cheese, Mascarpone cheese, and flour beat until light and fluffy. Next, add the lemon zest, sour cream, vanilla extract, and the caviar of the vanilla bean. With the mixer on low speed gradually add in the sweetened condensed milk. Finally, add the room temperature eggs one at a time until just combined. Turn the mixer off.

Preheat oven to 300-degrees F.
Remove the crust and strawberry filling out of the frig. Pour half the cream cheese mixture over the crust. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon dollops of strawberry sauce onto the batter. Then pour the other half of the cream cheese mixture carefully on top, not to disturb the strawberry dollops. Then repeat adding spoonfuls of strawberry filling on the top. Using the pointy end of a skewer, make swirly designs making sure not to go through to the bottom layer. Just draw the swirls really lightly on the top.

Set the filled (unbaked cheesecake) and foil-wrapped springform pan into a large roasting pan. Have a tea kettle of hot water ready. Add the hot water into the roasting pan so it comes about a 1/4 of the way up the sides of the springform pan. Tip: Set the roasting pan with the cheesecake in the pan, and in the oven first, before adding in the hot water.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until center is almost set. Turn the oven off leaving the pan in the oven with the door slightly ajar for another hour. Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan and let cool on a wire rack until room temperature, around 20 minutes.

Remove the foil from around the pan and refrigerate overnight. The next day, microwave the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl for 15-seconds; remove the bowl from the microwave and stir. Repeat the process until most of the chocolate has melted. The white chocolate will continue to melt from its own heat upon being stirred. Remove the springform pan from around the cheesecake. Take a fork, dip it into the melted chocolate, drizzle the melted white chocolate all over the top and down the sides. The cold cheesecake will harden the chocolate pretty fast.

I like to place my cheesecake in the freezer for around 2 hours then return the cake to the refrigerator before cutting. This helps to make the cheesecake nice and firm allowing you to have smooth even slices.

Tip For Slicing Cheesecake:
Take a sharp knife, dip it into very hot water, before slicing each piece.

1 Comment »

Craftsman And Wolves



My daughter Melissa made her second visit to Craftsman and Wolves in San Francisco. I’d found this unique place while watching Unique Eats on the Food Network. She had a Cava and a Cheesecake Verrine that consisted of Praline, Pomelo, and walnuts in the cheesecake, she absolutely loved it.

For more information on Craftsmen and Wolves visit their website at







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