Cheesecake is the best dessert ever invented. Amen.
My dad has been taking me on dates ever since I could talk, which considering that I was talking at five months (I know, my poor parents...), is a pretty long time.
Over the years, our date locals of choice have changed, but some of my fondest "dad date" memories take place in a busy mall food court where we would order either caramel sundays or, my very favorite - cheesecake with blueberries.
I happen to know that that particular fast food chain no longer serves cheesecake, and I am sure that if I tasted it now, having grown up a bit, I might be less than impressed. However, to my seven-year-old palate it was everything wonderful in the world in one creamy slice.
While I hate to admit it, I also went pretty bonkers over those retro cheesecake cups covered in that gluey cherry pie filling. Honestly, I could probably still down half a dozen of them if given the chance. Why are they so good???
Cheesecake is my very favorite dessert. Hands down, no argument, it is the be-all end-all of the sweets world.
It's also pretty dreamy to make, considering that there is no fussy buttercream, crumb-coating or oh-help-me - layering, to fret over.
But! You can still make it look pretty darn fancy with the help of a star-tip and a bit of whipped cream.
Also, your senses will experience the incredible aroma of cream cheese and sugar being beaten together, which is, incidentally, the best smell in the entire world. Truly, I just googled it for you and it is fact! ....I'm lying.
But really, we all know it's true.
I had this strange misconception/fear about white chocolate cheesecake. I felt like the melted white chocolate would harden up into a bunch of annoying little bits as soon as it met with the cool cream cheese mixture. However, that is not the case. This cheesecake is as smooth as it can be and the subtle, yet unmistakable white chocolate is perfection.
After the cheesecake had time to rest and become the ultra creamy edible vacation that it is, I sliced some bananas, toasted a handful of macadamia nuts, and whipped up a coconut cream whipped cream.
Clearly, this cheesecake is all about the toppings.
Upon "testing" I realized that there was some disparity between the banana slices required for maximum enjoyment, and the number you are allowed to pile on top without it looking less than pretty. So, the solution is to use just enough when decorating your cake, and then slice up another quarter of a banana when you actually get it on your plate. Cheesecake science.
This is one of those moments where you need to stop listening to your fitness coach and make an emergency run to Trader Joe's for some cream cheese.
White Chocolate Cheesecake with Bananas & Macadamia Nuts
makes one, 10-inch cheesecake, about 16 servings / recipe adapted from Ina Garten
for the crust
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- pinch of kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut a circle of parchment paper and lay in the bottom of a greased 10-inch springform pan.
In the work bowl of your food processor pulse graham crackers until roughly the consistency of cornmeal. Add melted butter and granulated sugar and pulse to combine. Pour the crust into the pan and press it down tightly with your fingertips. Bake for 8-10 minutes; until the edges are golden brown. Allow the crust to cool while you prepare the filling.
for the cheesecake
- 2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 5 whole large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup coconut cream, at room temperature
- 1 cup white chocolate chips (The best you can find!)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.
Melt white chocolate by microwaving at thirty-second increments, stirring after each, until the chocolate is smooth.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine cream cheese and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy; about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed and add eggs and egg yolks, 2 at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the coconut cream and vanilla extract, then slowly mix in the melted white chocolate. Pour the filling into your cooled crust.
Bake for 15 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 225 degrees F and bake for an additional 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Turn off the oven and prop open the door. Allow the cake to cool in the open oven for 30 minutes, then transfer to your countertop and allow the cake to sit for 3 hours at room temperature before wrapping in plastic and transferring to the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
Remove the cake from the springform pan by running a knife that has been dipped in warm water along the edge of the cheesecake. Carefully lift the cake from the bottom of the springform pan (leaving the parchment attached to the crust) and transfer to a cake stand.
for the whipped cream & toppings
- 1/3 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup coconut cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 medium bananas, sliced diagonally
Transfer nuts to a small, nonstick frying pan and place over medium heat. Cook, moving the pan back and forth often, until the nuts are slightly toasted on the edges and have become fragrant.
In the work bowl of your stand mixer combine confectioner’s sugar and heavy cream. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form; beat in coconut cream.
Transfer the cream to a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe whipped cream along the edges and top of the cheesecake. Decorate with bananas and toasted nuts. Enjoy!
The cheesecake will last 5-7 days in the refrigerator, the bananas, however, may need refreshing.