This decadent Banana Bourbon Cheesecake is definitely a show-stopper!
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
2 1/4 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium to 3 small)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup sour cream
Caramelized Banana Topping
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup bourbon
4 firm ripe bananas, peeled and cut 1/2 inch pieces on bias
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in bowl. Pat into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan evenly. Transfer springform to baking sheet and bake until lightly golden brown around the edges, about 12 to 15 minutes. Do not overbake. Let cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
Put small baking dish with water on lower rack of oven. (This will keep the cheesecake moist as it bakes.)
Make a parchment collar to fit inside the springform pan. Cut two strips of parchment 24-inches x 8-inches. Then fit inside pan, overlapping pieces to create a sturdy collar. Secure with paperclips or staple. Set aside. (The parchment collar will help the cheesecake from sticking to the sides of the pan and therefore help prevent cracking.)
Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, just until incorporated. (Do not over beat, as this may cause the cheesecake to rise, fall and then crack.) Fold in mashed banana, vanilla, lemon zest and juice and allspice. Add sour cream and mix just until combined. Alternatively, mix cheesecake in food processor.
Pour cheesecake filling onto graham crust. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake until cheesecake is just set but still soft and jiggly in the center, about 1 hour and 40 minutes. Turn oven off and let cheesecake cool in oven, with the oven door ajar, about 1 to 2 hours. Remove from springform pan. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 12 to 14 hours before serving.
Uncover and remove cooled cheesecake from springform pan. Transfer to serving plate. Pour Caramelized Banana Topping directly into center of cheesecake. Let cheesecake stand for 10 to 15 minutes, for easy slicing. Alternatively, slice cheesecake and then add banana topping to individual servings.
Caramelized Banana Topping
Over medium heat, melt butter in skillet. Add brown sugar and corn syrup. When brown sugar dissolves, increase heat to medium high and cook until smooth, thick caramel, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add bourbon. Transfer back to heat. Cook flambé if desired. (To flambé, ignite with long match or barbecue lighter. The alcohol should burn off in a few seconds and the flame will extinguish. If flame does not extinguish, cover pan with lid.) Cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Add sliced firm bananas toss to coat, cook for 1 to 2 until bananas are slightly soften but not mushy.
Yield: 10 to 12 servings.