Caramelized Banana Cheesecake


3/4 cup pecan halves
2 Tablespoons light butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 medium bananas, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dark rum, optional
1 package (8 oz) ea. softened: fat-free cream cheese, light cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

Topping, optional:
1 medium banana, thinly sliced
1/3 cup your favorite preserves, such as apricot, melted


Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place pecans on baking sheet; toast in oven about 8 minutes. Check frequently to avoid burning; set aside. Leave oven on. Melt 1 tbsp of the butter in non-stick skillet over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar; cook, stirring frequently, until melted, about 6 minutes. Add 2 sliced bananas; cook until bananas are caramelized and soft enough to mash with back of spoon. Remove from heat; set aside. Stir in rum, if using. Combine cream cheeses and 3/4 c of sugar in large bowl of electric mixer. Beat until completely blended. Add sour cream, egg and egg whites; mix well. Add caramelized banana mixture; beat until incorporated. Put remaining tbsp of butter, remaining 1/4 c sugar and toasted pecans in food processor fitted with metal blade. Process until finely ground; press on bottom of ungreased 8-inch springform pan. Pack down firmly using palm of hand. Pour filling mixture over crust. Place pan inside larger pan and put on oven rack. Add water to depth of 2 inches. Bake until firm to touch, about 1-1/2 hours.Remove from oven; let sit on wire rack 1 hour. Refrigerate, covered, at least 3 hours or overnight before serving. For topping, stir banana slices into melted preserves; spoon over chilled cheesecake.

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