Monday, May 10, 2010

Baby Banana Cream Cheesecakes

Some things to be thankful for:

Lovely bananas,

and cream, 

and cheese.  

Makes 18 baby cakes.  

For the crust:  
2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
2-3 T butter, melted

For the filling:
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
6 T plus 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
pinch of salt
4 tsp cornstarch
2 eggs
1/2 cup mashed banana
5 T plus 1 tsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

For the decoration:
3/4 cup whipped cream
2 tsp-2 T. confectioner's sugar (depending on taste)
1 ripe banana
1.  Prep:  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners and set aside.  

2.  Make the crusts:  Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter.  Put 1 T of crumbs in each cup and use your fingers to pat down the crumbs.  [The crumbs do not need to come up the sides of the cup, but it's okay if they do.  If you plan to remove the liners before serving, you will want to pack the crumbs down into an even line so that they look attractive.]  Bake the crusts for 5 minutes.  Then allow to cool for a couple of minutes while you prepare the filling. 

3.  Make the filling:   While the crusts are baking, beat the cream cheese in a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment until fluffy.  Add the sugar, salt, and cornstarch and beat until mixed.  Then add the eggs, beating adequately after each until batter is smooth.  Mix in the mashed banana, heavy cream, and vanilla.  

4.  Fill and bake:  Fill each cup almost full (this will be easier if you use a cookie scoop).  Place muffin tins in a roasting pan or pans or other large pan(s) and put in oven.  Then fill the roasting pan(s) with hot water to come about halfway up the sides of the muffin pans.  Bake for 22 minutes, until centers are set.  

5.  Cool:  Allow the cakes to cool in the pan before removing them.  Then carefully lift them out of the muffin tin and set on a wire rack to cool completely (if not already cool).  Place in refrigerator and let set for about 4-5 hours, until firm.  

6.  Prepare the decoration:  Beat the heavy cream in a mixer with the wire attachment (or a hand-held mixer) until it holds a shape.  Then add the confectioner's sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.  Slice one ripe banana into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Cut each slice in half.  

6.  Decorate:  Fit a pastry bag with a wide star tip (I used Ateco #824) and fill with the whipped cream.  Decorate each cake with a large star.  Finish by placing one banana half-slice on top of each star.  Chill until ready to serve.  [Note:  These are best decorated right before serving, or a couple of hours before serving.  After that, the whipped cream will begin to melt and the star will no longer hold its shape.]

All on a Monday evening in May.  

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