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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Banana Cream Cheesecake

2018-06-07 15.04.12

2018-06-12 05.15.54

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.

2018-06-07 09.04.54

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

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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 off. 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

Crust:
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 refrigerator.

Directions For Cheesecake:
Set oven temperature 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 are 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.

 

 

 

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Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna

Wid Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (2)

Wid Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (3)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (9)

Before I get into this post, a video at www.YouTube.com/LindaHamel is going to be posted on my  YouTube channel, for this recipe. There’s a couple of things I want to mention.
1). I take you through a shortened version of this recipe. No one wants to watch an entire video from start to finish on making a Lasagna. The video would run over an hour and a half long and with everyone having busy lives, I thought, that would be just a bad idea. to keep the video short and sweet, I decided to prepare all the components for the lasagna in advance. In the video, I generally go through the steps on how I made each one. The video really concentrates on the assembly and the cooking process.
2). Something else I decided not to mention is adding fresh and dried Thyme to my sautèed mushrooms.  I felt it’s an ingredient that’s a personal preference. Thyme has a slight lemony flavor that I think pairs really well with mushrooms. In my ingredient list below, I include both dried and fresh Thyme but made them optional.
3). It’s important that if you want to make this recipe the ingredients and directions are at the bottom of this post.

After coming out of the oven, lasagna needs to rest for at least 20 minutes before cutting. The reason for that is that lasagna needs time to set up.

The top picture is after it’s been done cooking and rested for 20 minutes. The picture below is after the entire casserole dish had been refrigerated overnight and then a piece was cut.  You can see a big difference in the presentation. Truth be told, I think lasagna is always better the second day.

Wid Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (1)

My Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna is loaded with flavor. I promise, you won’t miss the meat! Mushrooms are such a great substitute for meat. Their meaty texture and earthy flavor paired with spinach, fresh mozzarella, and creamy Béchamel sauce takes comfort food to a whole other level.

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Once the spinach has thawed completely, squeeze all the excess water from the spinach. You want the spinach to be as dry as possible.

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Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (10)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (9)

Ingredients:
2 boxes of dried oven ready lasagna noodles ( you may only need a little over 1 box)
2 sticks of unsalted butter, 1 stick for Bechamel sauce, 3 tablespoons for mushrooms, the remainder for greasing baking dish
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of freshly minced Thyme leaves (optional)
1 tablespoons of dried Thyme (optional)
4 cups whole milk
2 -10 ounce packages of thawed, drained spinach, squeeze out excess water
3/4 of 32 ounce container of Ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (for Ricotta mixture)
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (for Ricotta mixture)
3 large eggs
1 large package of fresh Mozzarella, slice into 14 rounds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon for freshly ground nutmeg (store- bought ground is fine)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (for Bechamel sauce)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (for sautéed mushrooms)
2 pounds of sliced sautéed wild mushrooms
4 large cloves garlic minced
1 cup of grated Parmesan
8 ounces (1 cup) store-bought shredded Mozzarella
1/4 cup of fresh and finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley for Ricotta mixture,
2 tablespoons dried parsley for top

Directions For Spinach:
Thaw both boxes of frozen spinach the day before. Once thawed, drain and squeeze dry any excess water. You want the spinach to be as free of any water as possible. Transfer to bowl and set aside.

Directions For Cheeses:
Place store bought shredded Mozzarella cheese in a bowl and set aside. Chop up the Parmesan cheese into small chunks and place them into a food processor. Pulse a few times until you have the consistency of ground cheese. For the fresh Mozzarella, slice the Mozzarella into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place all prepped cheeses in the frig until needed.

Directions For Ricotta:
In a large bowl add Ricotta, 3 beaten large eggs, 1/2 teaspoon each of Kosher salt, and pepper, and finely chopped fresh flat leave Italian parsley. Mix together until well combined and set aside.

Directions For The Bechamel Sauce:
Bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Set aside. Melt 8 tablespoons of butter (1 stick) in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat, whisking constantly until flour has cooked out and becomes blonde in color. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture all at once. Add 1 teaspoon each of Kosher salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg, and cook over med-low heat, whisking for 3-5 minutes, until thick. To double check on the thickness of the Bechamel sauce, dip a wooden spoon into the sauce. Take your finger and make a line down the back of the spoon, if the sauce stays separate and doesn’t run together, sauce is ready. Immediately transfer to a large bowl. Place plastic wrap directly over the sauce, preventing a skin from forming, and set aside.

Directions For Sautéed Mushrooms: click the link below for recipe

Sauteed Wild Mushrooms

YouTube Video for this recipe is at www.YouTube.com/LindaHamel

Assembling The Lasagna:
Spread some of the sauce in the bottom of the buttered 8 x 12 x 4 inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of oven-ready noodles on top, then ladle more Bechamel sauce. Sprinkle both grated Parmesan and shredded  Mozzarells cheeses. Next, add the half the spinach and mushrooms. To that, add the fresh Mozzarella slices.  Repeat this process once more. Next, add all of the Ricotta mixture and top with another layer of the noodles. Lightly press, with your hands, on the top to make sure all the ingredients are nice and level in the dish. Over that last layer of noodles top with the rest of the Bechamel sauce and a final sprinkle of both grated Parmesan and shredded Mozzarella cheeses. Add a sprinkle of dried parsley over the top for color.

Bake uncovered at 375 degrees F. for 45 minutes until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly and hot. Once out of the oven, let rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Directions For Reheating Refrigerated Lasagna:Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Pour between 2 tablespoons or 1/4 cup of water over the lasagna (depending on its size). Spray the dull side of the foil with non-stick cooking spray. Place the sprayed side down over the lasagna and seal tight around the edges of the baking dish.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until lasagna is hot and bubbly.

Directions For Freezing Fully Cooked Lasagna:
Make sure the lasagna has cooled completely, at least an hour and a half. Wrap the entire baking dish in freezer safe plastic wrap. This ensures there are no gaps in the wrap where air can get in and cause freezer burn. Then place foil over the top. Can keep up to three months.

Directions For Cooking Frozen Lasagna:
Transfer the frozen lasagna to refrigerator 24 hours in advance. Before going into the oven, remove the foil and plastic wrap from the baking dish and replace it with new foil that’s been sprayed with some non-stick cooking spray, on the dull side of the foil.  Add  2 tablespoons or 1/4 cup (depending on the size of the lasagna) of water over the top of the lasagna. Place the sprayed side down over the top, seal the edges tight. This will prevent any cheese from sticking to foil. Place the dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

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Pumpkin Spiced Crumb Cake

Photo Dec 05, 2 18 04 PM

2017-12-04 18.43.07

My Pumpkin Spiced Crumb Cake is one of my family’s favorites. I do want to explain why I take help from my local grocery store whenever I make a cake. In the past, I’ve mentioned using box cake mixes. They’re a time saver, most importantly, there are great box cake mixes out there. First, they’ve come a long way in their quality and variety. Second, why would you break out the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and or cocoa powder, when all these ingredients are already measured and mixed for you!

I start with a basic box cake mix, building a flavor profile of the type of cake I’m looking to make. For example; If I’m making a chocolate cake, adding brewed coffee will enhance the chocolate flavor. I also like to add Ricotta cheese to the cake batter. These ingredients I’ve mentioned. ultimately enhance or make for a more tender cake.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 to 55 minutes (Baking time may vary depending on the type and size of the pan you use)
Equipment: parchment paper, 8 x 8-inch or 9 x 9-inch square pan
Yields: 9 slices

Note: I’m using a store-bought pumpkin spice for this recipe. I’ve also included a homemade pumpkin pie spice recipe below.

Ingredients For Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup + 2 tablespoons of cake flour
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/3 cup of chopped pecans (optional)
1 stick (8 tablespoons), melted unsalted butter

Ingredients For Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice:
teaspoons of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1 pinch of allspice

Directions For Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice:

In a small bowl, whisk the spices together until combined. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place.

For The Pumpkin Spice Cake:
1 box vanilla cake mix (16.5 oz. Duncan Hines French Vanilla)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4  cup granulated sugar
1 cup of Libby’s pumpkin pie mix
1/2 cup Ricotta cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup of water
pinch of Kosher salt
1 heaping teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
powdered sugar for garnish

Directions:
For the topping:
Using a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the sugars, cake flour, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Pour in the melted butter and stir with a spatula until thick crumbles form. Set aside while preparing the cake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For The Cake Batter:
Spray pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper, then spray the parchment paper. Note: This will allow for easy removal.

In a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add oil, vanilla extract, sugars, pumpkin pie mix puree, and ricotta cheese. Once the mixture is smooth, add 1 egg at a time until incorporated.

In a medium size bowl, add the box cake mix, pumpkin pie spice, and Kosher salt. Whisk these ingredients together. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Do not over mix! Note: If you are doing this by hand, you can use a spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading into an even layer. Cover with the crumb mixture. If needed, break up the larger crumbs into smaller ones.

Place into oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester, inserted into the center, comes out clean, and the center of the cake barely jiggles. Remove from oven and let cool in the loaf pans for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Top the cake with a dusting of powdered sugar.

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