A cross between banana pudding and cheesecake, this Banana Pudding Cheesecake with Crumbled Pralines is the perfect summertime dessert!
The other day, we were going through our kitchen cabinets. Our kitchen always seems to just accumulate stuff. (Please tell me your kitchen just accumulates stuff, too??) The kitchen gadget drawer was overflowing, and I was having night terrors at the thought of opening the cabinet with the plastic storage containers. But the task of the day was the coffee mug cabinet.
You see, I like coffee mugs. No, I don’t collect them from everywhere I’ve been on vacation. In fact, I rarely ever buy a coffee mug. (Although my wife did buy me a Grumpy mug when she had a work conference at Disney a couple years back. That was allowed. I’m Grumpy in the mornings before coffee. And sometimes after coffee, too.) Nevertheless, our coffee mug cabinet was becoming a bit overstuffed. It was like a game of Tetris trying to figure out how to get all of the clean ones in the cabinet at the same time. (Curse you, stupid mug handles!)
As we were pulling out mugs that we haven’t used in years, I found an old classic. There’s nothing too special about this mug. It’s tan(ish) in color. But it holds memories. I got that mug from one of my students the very first year I taught Latin. I was living in Baton Rouge, and I’d taken a crazy career turn by agreeing to teach Latin to 3rd-12th graders. (Just a couple months before, I’d been wearing a suit and working in a bank.) One of my 3rd graders brought me a little gift one day. Just a simple mug with a bag of coffee. But I still remember it.
Living down in Louisiana brought a lot of new experiences to me. Mardi Gras, LSU football and delicious Cajun food to name just a few. I lived just over an hour away from New Orleans, and I quickly fell in love with that city. I also quickly fell in love with the food in New Orleans. In fact, that was the first place I ever stumbled across pecan pralines. I wasn’t really sure what pralines were, but one bite and I was hooked.
Pecan pralines are a New Orleans creation, and they always take me back to my days living in Louisiana. The other day, I decided that crumbled pralines would make a great topping over a cheesecake. But what kind of cheesecake? Hazelnut? Maybe. Chocolate? Hmmm. Then it hit me. Banana. Yup, a Banana Pudding Cheesecake with Crumbled Pralines. That needed to happen. And it did.
I’m not gonna lie, my wife was a little skeptical about the banana pudding cheesecake. Banana flavored desserts can be a little hit-or-miss, but I told her to trust me on this one. I was armed with confidence that this combo would work! And it did. The worst part was trying to avoid eating all of the crumbled pralines before they made it on top of the cheesecake. Together, this Banana Pudding Cheesecake with Crumbled Pralines is one tasty dessert!
And in case you are wondering, that coffee mug is still in the cabinet.
Banana Cheesecake with Crumbled Pralines
For the Vanilla Wafer Crust
- 1½ cups vanilla wafer crumbs ~50-55 wafers
- 3 Tbsp light brown sugar
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
For the Banana Cheesecake
- 32 oz. cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ½ Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup mashed bananas
For the Pralines
- ¾ cup pecans lightly toasted
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Vanilla Wafer Crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Using a food processor or mini-chopper, pulse the vanilla wafers until finely ground. In a medium bowl, combine the vanilla wafer crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter. Stir until fully combined.
- Lightly butter or grease a 9” springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper. Press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom and up sides of the pan. (Tip: A flat-bottomed glass helps pack the crust mixture down evenly.)
- Bake crust at 350°F for 7-8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
For the Cheesecake
- Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
- Using a countertop mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until completely smooth (about 3 minutes).
- Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar and flour; mix well. (Tip: Don’t forget to scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl to fully incorporate the sugar.)
- Whisk the eggs and egg yolks together and add to the bowl in 2 additions, mixing fully on low speed after each addition.
- Add the sour cream, vanilla and mashed bananas; mix on low speed until fully combined. (Tip: Use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure the filling is fully mixed.)
- Pour the batter on top of the cooled crust.
- Wrap the bottom of the pan with a piece of aluminum foil and place in a large baking pan. Fill pan with about 1/2”-3/4” of water. Bake at 325° until center of cake is just barely set (about 80-90 minutes). (Tip: Pull the cheesecake out of the oven when there is about 1" ring of "looser" filling left in the center of the cake.)
- Remove cake from oven and cool for 10 min. Place in refrigerator until fully cooled. (Tip: I like to wrap entire pan in plastic wrap and freeze overnight. The next day, I remove the cake from the freezer and release the springform pan. Then I just transfer the cake to a serving platter and defrost in a refrigerator for 4-5 hours.)
- Crumble Pralines over top of cheesecake before serving.
For the Pralines
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or silicone liner; set aside.
- Place all ingredients into a large saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring often, until mixture begins to boil. Let boil for 3 minutes, or until temperature reaches 238-240°.
- Remove pan from heat and continue stirring until mixture begins to thicken slightly.
- Using 2 large spoons, drop spoonfuls of praline mixture onto lined sheet pan. Let cool completely.
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