SALTED CARAMEL BANANA PUDDING CHEESECAKE FLAMBE

Ready to ring in the New Year? Why not ring it in with delicious style? Salted Caramel Banana Pudding Cheesecake Flambe is exactly the kind of recipe that would make that a reality.

While your average cheesecake is certainly decadent, and banana pudding resonates comfort and flavor, the combination of the two with an intense salted caramel and flaming pan takes the idea of dessert to an entirely new level!

Believe it or not, creating these mini-masterpieces isn’t at all difficult or terribly time consuming. The few steps are quite easy, and made much easier with the use of a KitchenAid® Stand Mixer and the powerful KitchenAid® Commercial-Style Dual Fuel Freestanding Range.

The first step is to prepare your cheesecakes, which are a snap. Utilizing the KitchenAid® Stand Mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment makes the whipping of the cream cheese batter a breeze. Be careful not to overmix the batter once you have added the whipping cream and sour cream, just gingerly mix those ingredients in until they are combined. This will help you achieve a dense, yet lofty, cheesecake.

The recipe below calls for a silicone mold, and these molds are a gem for projects like mini cheesecakes. However, if you do not have one, never fear. You can certainly make your cheesecake in an 8×8 pan and cut the cheesecake into squares once it has cooled completely. Just be sure to adjust the baking time to roughly 1 hour.

To make the crust, simply follow the directions. Placing the crust between layers of parchment paper make the process so much easier, and cleaner! No one likes having to clean a messy counter if they don’t have to.

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Once the cheesecakes have baked and cooled, and the crusts have been baked, it’s time to assemble. As you can see in the photo, the naked cheesecakes here were placed on top of round crusts. Again, you could make yours without a mold, and serve the cheesecakes as squares…it tastes just as delicious!

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The next step in the process is to make the meringue. Meringue has a reputation for being difficult, but as long as you follow these simple steps, you’ll have no trouble at all. First and foremost, be careful not to get any yolk in the egg whites when separating. You may even go as far as to separate each egg individually over a mug versus directly into the KitchenAid® Ceramic Bowl – this will save you from having to discard all those perfect egg whites if a little yolk slips in on the last egg!

Another trick is to use eggs that are room temperature, and slightly old. Fresh from the store eggs will work, but an egg that is a few days (or week) old will whip better.

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Finally, makes sure the Stand Mixer’s Ceramic Bowl and whisk are very clean – no oil allowed! Begin whipping the meringue until you have soft peaks, and then gradually add the sugar in a steady stream until the meringue is lofty and white, and is holding stiff peaks. Voila, you did it!

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Spoon the meringue onto the prepared cheesecakes, using a swirling motion. Cover the top and sides completely. Using your kitchen torch (or oven broiler), torch the meringue until it is golden brown and gorgeous. Remove each torched cheesecake to its own serving dish, and keep refrigerated until ready to serve. You can prepare these the day before if you like, just keep them chilled and covered.

When it’s time to serve, it’s finally time to play!

Bring the brown sugar and cream together until glen, and add in the slices of bananas. Be quick, you don’t need this to over cook and end up with mushy bananas. Now, here comes the fun part!

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Add the Gran Marnier, and watch that flame! It’s a stunning and impressive sight that is sure to delight your guests. Once the flame has died down, spoon the bananas and caramel around each of the cheesecakes, and serve.

Want to step it up another notch? Try your hand at sugar swirls! Brown sugar, water, and corn syrup combine to make great looking decorations for the tops of these gorgeous desserts. Be quick when spooning the swirls onto parchment paper or a Silpat – the sugar sets up fast! Once cooled, which only takes a minute, the swirls are ready to place as garnish.

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Stand back and prepare for applause!

Salted Caramel Banana Pudding Cheesecake Flambe

INGREDIENTS

For the cheesecake
3 8-ounce bricks of cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup pulverized vanilla wafer cookies

For the crusts
10 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup pulverized vanilla wafer cookies

For the meringue
7 egg whites
2/3 cup granulated sugar

For the salted caramel bananas flambe
1 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Pinch sea salt
3 bananas, sliced
1/4 cup Grand Marnier

DIRECTIONS

For the cheesecake
Place one 8-ounce package of the cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in the Ceramic Bowl of a KitchenAid® Stand Mixer. Beat on low speed until creamy, about 3 minutes, then beat in the remaining packages of cream cheese.

Increase the Stand Mixer speed to high and beat in the remaining sugar, then beat in the salt, vanilla, and almond extract. Blend in the eggs one at a time, beating only until completely blended. Mix in the sour cream and heavy cream with the pulverized vanilla wafer cookies. Be careful not to overmix the batter.

Pour the batter into the silicone molds. Bake the cheesecakes at 325F for 25 minutes, or until set. Allow to cool in the oven with the door propped open.

For the crusts
In the bowl of a KitchenAid® Stand Mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add dry ingredients and mix on low until combined.

Chill for 30 minutes, then roll half of dough between two floured pieces of parchment paper. Press into round cake pan or, if making minis, cut into desired size. Freeze remaining dough for later use.

Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown.

For the meringue
Whip egg whites to soft peaks. Slowly add sugar, beating as you add until all of the sugar is incorporated. Bring meringue to stiff peaks. Keep chilled until needed.

For the salted caramel bananas flambe
Heat brown sugar over medium low heat until smooth and thick. Add heavy cream and salt and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add sliced bananas until slightly cooked.

Just before serving, pour Grand Marnier over caramel in hot pan. Be careful as this will cause a large flame. Remove from heat when ready to serve.

To assemble: Place one mini cheesecake onto one cookie crust. Top with meringue, covering entirely. Place under broiler to brown, or use kitchen torch.

Add flambe bananas and caramel around edges of meringue topped cheesecakes. Serve immediately.

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