When I was pregnant with my daughter, I craved only three things; french fries drowned in malt vinegar, chili cheeseburgers with extra cheese and extra chili, and cheesecake. Any make or model would do.
Mind you, I didn’t crave a slice of cheesecake, I craved the whole cake. It didn’t taste the same when it was only a slice. There was nothing that said “I’m all pregnant and hormonal over here and want to eat a quadzillion calories in a single sitting to make me feel normal and because I can with no one saying a word to me because they know better” …in just a slice. Nope. Give me a fork, a cheesecake sitting on my belly and I was good to go for at least an hour. I would eat the whole thing. Let me repeat…The. Whole. Thing. I sucked down every single calorie of those pies like an Electrolux with lips. I really didn’t even need the fork. Fingers worked just fine. Hmm. That was embarrassing. Alas, I digress.
While any cheesecake would suffice, I did have my favorites. My first favorite was a Tuxedo cheesecake with swirls of decadent chocolate and creamy vanilla with a chocolate cookie crust and topped with gorgeous chocolate shavings. When that got old I turned to a Key Lime and Coconut variety with a White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut crust. There were several others, but one that really stuck was an unfathomably delicious Banana Cream Pudding Cheesecake with a Salted Caramel Drizzle and Vanilla Wafer crust. Oh. Em. Gee. After the very first bite I was all over here like, “If you want to retain use of your fingers, do NOT approach.”
Pregnant women cannot explain why they crave what they do. I was never a cheesecake person before and really not much of one now. Boy I sure got my fill during those nine months, and what a SWEET nine months they were.
Banana Cream Pudding Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Drizzle
- 3, 8 oz. blocks cream cheese
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp. GOOD vanilla
- 1 small box instant banana cream pie filling
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 package Vanilla Wafers, crushed
- 1/2 stick butter, melted
- 2 bananas, sliced
- 1 tbsp. 99 Bananas Liquor – optional
- Salted Caramel
- Whipped Cream & Cherries – optional
With a fork, mix crushed wafers and melted butter until well blended. Grease either a round springform or four mini springform pans. Place cookie mixture into each pan and firmly pat into the bottom. Bake at 400 for about 5-7 minutes.
In a mixer blend cream cheese and sugar until well creamed. Add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Add vanilla, banana cream pudding, milk and liquor if using. Mix well.
Place sliced bananas on top of the baked crust. Pour batter over bananas. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes for minis or 45 minutes for a full sized pan. The center should still be a little jiggly. Let cool on a rack for about an hour, then transfer to the fridge to cool overnight. Before serving, drizzle cakes with Salted Caramel. Top with whipped cream, cherries and additional bananas if desired.
* If you really like salted caramel, it can also be swirled into the batter after pouring batter into the pans.