Happy Friday! Let’s celebrate with a completely over the top boozy dessert, shall we? I made this beauty over a month ago, for my birthday to be exact, but I haven’t found the time to share it until now. For that, I am very, very sorry because it’s filled with so many of my favorite things. For as long as I can remember, banana pudding has been one of my favorite desserts. As a kid, it was one of the few things that compared to a bowl of ice cream or a big slice of chocolate cake. I’ve loved bourbon since I took my first sip and, in my mind, it has no equal. With both childhood memories and my favorite adult spirit in one place, this was a natural choice for my birthday dessert.
Like all great cheesecakes, this one has multiple steps, so you’ll want to bake it the night before you serve it and let it set in the fridge overnight. Make the whipped cream (which is also spiked with booze, of course) and garnish the dessert just before your guests arrive, so you’ll have a beautiful recipe to showcase and talk about. Just don’t be surprised when, with the first bite, your guests’ cheerful chatter gives way to complete and total silence and enjoyment. This bourbon banana pudding cheesecake is just that good.
The banana pudding of my childhood gets a decidedly grown up boost as a creamy, dreamy, boozy bourbon banana pudding cheesecake.
Bourbon Banana Pudding Cheesecake
adapted from The Candid Appetite
For the crust:
2 c. finely crushed mini Nilla wafers
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
3 large ripe bananas
1 TBSP freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c. light brown sugar
2 TBSP bourbon (or 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract)
4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
4 large eggs
For the garnish:
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1 TBSP bourbon (or 2 tsp. vanilla extract)
1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 banana, sliced
8 mini Nilla wafers
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-in. springform pan and wrap the outside with aluminum foil.
2. In a food processor, pulse the Nilla wafer crumbs and chopped pecans until they are finely chopped and thoroughly combined. With the processor running, pour melted putter through the feed tube until the crumbs come together. Pour crumbs into the prepared pan. Using your hands or a glass, pat them down into the bottom and about 2/3 of the way up the sides. Bake 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely.
3. In a small pot, mash the bananas until they are completely smooth. Add the brown sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has melted and the bananas are slightly cooked, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in bourbon. Allow to cool completely.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Slowly add in sugar and continue to cream, 2 minutes more. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well and scraping the bowl down between additions. Stir in banana mixture until just incorporated.
5. Place springform pan in a large baking or roasting pan. Pour in cheesecake filling. Pour hot (not boiling) water into the pan until it reaches halfway up the springform pan. Carefully place the pan in the oven and bake 55-60 minutes, or until the center is mostly firm and barely jiggles. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely, then refrigerate at least 8 hours.
6. To make the whipped cream, beat cream with a hand or stand mixer on high speed until it begins to thicken. Add the bourbon and confectioners’ sugar and beat until soft peaks form.
7. To garnish, pipe 16 dollops of whipped cream (one for each slice) around the outside of the cheesecake. Top each dollop with alternating banana sliced and mini Nilla wafers. Keep in the refrigerator, covered, up to 5 days.
Yield: 16 servings