Bananas Foster Cheesecake with Rum-Caramel Sauce

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1/2 cup dark rum
1 cup raw whole almonds and macadamia nuts, toasted and divided
1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bring rum to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup. Set aside to cool.

Chop 1/2 cup of the toasted nuts. Combine the chopped nuts with vanilla wafer crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Press mixture into a lightly buttered 9-inch springform pan. Set pan aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese at low speed until creamy and smooth. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add bananas and blend. Beat in whipping cream, vanilla and reduced rum. Blend well.

Pour batter into prepared crust. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for about 50 minutes. Top will appear slightly puffed. The cheesecake will be golden and set along the edges but will still move slightly in the middle when gently shaken. Carefully run a knife around edges of cake to loosen from pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.

Carefully remove sides of pan. Chop remaining 1/2 cup of toasted nuts. Serve each slice of Bananas Foster Cheesecake with Rum-Caramel Sauce and a sprinkling of nuts. Makes 12 servings.

Tip from the cook
Pecans would be a good choice for the crust as an alternative to almonds and macadamias.

Rum-Caramel Sauce

½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 cup half-and-half or whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar and salt over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and whisk in the rum. When the mixture stops bubbling, add cream and vanilla. Whisk to blend. Set aside and keep warm. To make ahead, let cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a glass bowl over barely simmering water.


- Recipe courtesy of Sue Doeden's All about Food.


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