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Sunday, November 27, 2011

banana split cheesecake.

*Stupid stupid stupid me deleted some of the photos of this cheesecake in my camera, having forgotten that I've not downloaded them. There were supposed to be 3 more photos for this post. Arrgh!*

I'm confused.

Why is it called banana split cheesecake? I get the banana part, because there's banana in the batter. And there's chocolate too- in the swirl and the oreo cookie crust. The strawberry sauce that was supposed to be served on the side got switched out for strawberry jam because it's so much easier to scoop something out of the jar than to get the blender out.

So. Banana, strawberry and chocolate. Does that equal banana split? I thought a banana split didn't have any fixed flavours. As long there's ice cream served with bananas, it's pretty much a banana split. I can have cookies and cream ice cream and butter pecan ice cream with a sliced banana. Isn't that a banana split too?

I think this cheesecake should be called banana neapolitan cheesecake. Makes more sense to me.

You may recall that I don't like cheese if you've been following this blog. You can hold a dagger to my throat, thrust a fork into my hand and command me to start shoveling but I still wouldn't. But things changed a little ever since I made this hidden berry cheese torte. Made of a 50-50 mix of cream cheese and cottage cheese, it didn't have that hideous tang that I abhor in cheesecakes, nor was it overly cheesy. I even kinda like that cheese torte. Miracles do happen.

As much as I don't like cheese, and cheesecakes, banana split cheesecake sounded too good to give it up. Which is why I took the idea of using equal amounts of cream cheese and cottage cheese instead of all cream cheese. I even used low fat cream cheese so that it would have less of a tang.

It worked! I finished my portion of the cheesecake and liked it. The banana flavour was really distinct for my first bite but you wouldn't notice it after a while. And the chocolate swirl was just perfect- not too chocolaty that it would overwhelm the banana batter, nor to the point of just being there for the color contrast. Which surprised me considering that there was so little chocolate in there! And I loved the crust. Who wouldn't? I just wished that I could have taken the time to make that strawberry sauce. Jam just didn't fit in too well.

I'm gonna be quite harsh and say that this cheesecake looks atrocious. It wasn't supposed to be like this, with the darkened spots and mini fissure. I know I set the oven at 300F but when I turned my back and checked back 20 minutes later, the oven temperature was mysteriously set at 425F. 425F! Of course the batter would balloon up like crazy and permanently resemble some mountain valley if I didn't quickly adjust the temperature back down again. But the damage was done and even though the top layer settled flattened out again, the smooth surface was marred.

Thankfully, the cheesecake's texture was fairly undamaged. Apart from the uppermost layer which was a little rubbery, the insides were smooth like they should be. You know what, from this time onwards, I'm gonna pull up a chair beside my oven and keep watch. I've got my eyes on you, temperature knob.

Banana Split Cheesecake
slightly adapted from Love and Olive Oil
makes 1 8-inch or 2 6-inch cheesecakes

I used a mix of low-fat cottage cheese and cream cheese which resulted in a runnier batter. Hence, the banana and chocolate batter will mix too easily when you swirl it in. My advice is to pour the chocolate batter in a swirly pattern and forget the knife for later.

24 oreos, crushed finely
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
250g cream cheese, low-fat or full-fat
250g cottage cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tbsp all purpose flour
4 eggs
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted

2 cups fresh strawberries
3 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 300F. Grease an 8 inch round pan or 2 6-inch round pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper if desired; butter parchment.

Combine the oreo crumbs and melted butter until evenly mixed and dump the mixture into the prepared pan, pressing down to distribute and compact the crumbs.

To make the filling, place the cottage cheese, cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar, banana, sour cream and  flour in a food processor and pulse to form a smooth paste. With the machine on, add in the eggs one by one. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse again briefly to ensure that all the ingredients are incorporated.

Measure out 1 1/4 cups of the filling and set aside. Pour the remaining filling into the crust. Combine 1 cup of the filling that was set aside with the melted chocolate. Drizzle the chocolate filling in an abstract ribbon pattern over the top of the plain filling in the pan. Drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup filling in the same manner. If you want, you can use a knife to further swirl the two batters together but be careful not to overmix.

Bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven when the center is still slightly jiggly. Run a knife all the way around the edges to release the cake and crust. Return it to the turned off oven and let stand without opening the door for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool on a rack until cooled to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, overnight is best.

To make the strawberry sauce, place the strawberries and remaining 3 tbsp sugar in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

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