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Chocolate Wrapped Banana Cheesecake

Ingredients

Peanut Graham Crust:

cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
cup packed light brown sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 large ripe banana, mashed
1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, finely chopped

Banana Cheesecake Filling:

3 large ripe bananas
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
32 ounces cream cheese, softened
cup granulated sugar
1 pound mascarpone cheese
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Assembly:

10 x 1.5 ounce bars dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 medium bananas
cup ( stick) butter
cup packed light brown sugar


Method

Make the graham cracker crust: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.


Beat butter and sugar in mixing bowl until light and fluffy, using electric mixer at medium-high speed. Add graham cracker crumbs and mix well. Add mashed banana and peanuts and mix well. Press mixture into bottom of 9 inch spring form pan.


Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and set. Cool in pan on wire rack.


Make the banana cheesecake filling: Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.


Peel bananas and place in food processor bowl. Cover and process until bananas are puréed. Remove banana puree and place in bowl. Stir in lemon juice and set aside.


Beat cream cheese in mixing bowl until smooth, using electric mixer at medium speed. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add mascarpone cheese and beat 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and banana purée and blend well. Pour over crust.


Bake for 35 minutes or until filling still looks jiggly and under-baked. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cover with aluminium foil and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Cheesecake will set and be firm to the touch.


Assemble the cheesecake: Cut a piece of parchment paper or food-grade acetate to fit around the side of cheesecake. Loosen cheesecake using a small knife. Remove side of spring form pan.


Place chocolate in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on MEDIUM (50% power) for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave 30 seconds more or until chocolate is softened. Stir until smooth and let cool.


Spread cooled chocolate evenly on strip of parchment paper. Allow chocolate to set up partially so that it is not longer wet to the touch, but is still malleable. Press chocolate-covered strip directly onto side of cheesecake. Refrigerate cheesecake until chocolate is set. Peel off parchment paper.


Slice bananas on the diagonal. Place butter and brown sugar into skillet. Cook until mixture comes to a boil and is smooth, stirring constantly. Add bananas and heat until bananas are caramelized. Remove banana slices from mixture, one at a time, and place on plate. Arrange bananas on top of cheesecake in concentric circles. Serve immediately.

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