Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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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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Below are twelve tablespoons of unsalted butter. Melt the butter over low heat then add to the processed cookie crumbs.

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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, 1 Spring Form Pan, 1 (10-cup) food processor

Crust:
2 1/2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) of butter, unsalted and melted
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:
3 (8-ounce) bars of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
4 tsp banana extract
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup puréed 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, Kosher salt, 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, puréed bananas, 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.

2 Comments »

Pumpkin Spiced Crumb Cake

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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.

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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, 1 (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) of butter, unsalted and melted

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.

Ingredients For The Pumpkin Spice Cake:
1 (16.5-ounce) box of French vanilla cake mix (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 the cake from the 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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Eton Mess By Way Of Italy

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This dessert is my favorite to serve whenever I have guests over for dinner. I think it’s the “WOW” factor of Eton MessBy Way Of Italy.

My mom was born in London, England, then on my dad’s side of the family was from Sicily. This combination, from my background, definitely allows for awesome fusions dishes and desserts.

Eton Mess is a traditional English dessert consisting of a mixture of strawberries, broken meringue, and double cream. As a young girl, who lived in London in the early ’70s, with my sister and mother, I was exposed to a whole new style of food. Eton Mess was a dessert we’d have after Sunday supper. I remember my mom always let me help, telling me that I could be as creative as I wanted to be when assembling this dessert.

I thought I would update this recipe by taking a slight detour through Italy. Bringing my Italian influences onto the scene.

I’m using a mix of fresh berries, Mascarpone  (Italian cream cheese) mixed with lemon zest, and broken turtle pecan Biscotti cookies. Topped off with a sprig of fresh mint and a dusting of powdered sugar.

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mint

Fresh-Mint-Leaves

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 1 rimmed baking sheet pan, 6 parfait glasses

Ingredients:
1 box of turtle pecan Biscotti cookies
2 (8-ounce) containers of Mascarpone, room temperature
1 lemon, zested
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1/2 pint blackberries
1/2 pint blueberries
1/2 pint raspberries
10 large strawberries, hulled and quartered
6 small sprigs of fresh mint for garnish
powdered sugar, for dusting the tops

Directions:
Start by setting up 6 parfait glasses on a rimmed baking sheet pan. Using a small mallet, break up the Biscotti in their package. In a large bowl, add all the berries (reserving a variety of fresh berries for the top).

To the berries, add the granulated sugar, stir to coat all the berries. Let the berries macerate in the sugar for a few minutes. While the berries are macerating, in another bowl, add the Mascarpone, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon zest, mix until smooth.

Now it’s just a matter of assembling this dessert. Start with a spoonful of the crumbled Biscotti, next, a spoonful of the Mascarpone mixture. Then a spoonful of the berries. Repeat this process ending with a few of the reserved fresh berries and the crumbled Biscotti on the top. Garnish each Eton Mess By Way Of Italy with a sprig of fresh mint and a dusting of powdered sugar.

This dessert is served best chilled for a least 15 minutes.

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