I think I was 17 or 18 when Grandma gave me her favourite cheesecake recipe. She'd found it in a magazine and the part-bake part-chill method became her go-to cheesecake method – and over time it became mine too.
Grandma passed away on Friday at the epic age of 92, and was buried today. An epic age for an epic lady: one of the kindest, most generous people you could ever hope to meet. Even during her last days she was concerned about visiting family members having enough biscuits to go with their tea.
The original recipe was for a plain vanilla cheesecake. Here, I've turned it into a banana cheesecake, with banana chips for old time's sake.
When I was little and visiting Grandma and Poppa with my dad, Grandma would go to a little drawer in the hallway and, as if by magic, produce all kinds of treats. The ones I remember the most vividly are banana chips, Parma Violets and Fizzers.
Since I also happened to have some dodgy old bananas lying around, I settled on going for the banana theme, and ended up using banana chips and crushed up brandy snaps for a crunchy crust.
Grandma, this one's for you.
For the Cheesecake:
60g digestive biscuits, finely crushed
80g brandy snaps, roughly crushed
50g banana chips, roughly crushed
50g unsalted butter, melted
600g curd cheese
2 very ripe bananas, puréed
Juice of 1 lemon
3 large eggs
150g caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tsp vanilla
For the Rum Fudge Drizzle:
100g unsalted butter
100g light soft brown sugar
100ml spiced rum
To Decorate (Optional):
Extra banana chips
50g milk chocolate, melted and tempered
150ml double cream, whipped
1) Grease and line the bottom of a 7" springform pan, and preheat the oven to 150°C.
2) Mix the crushed biscuits, brandy snaps, banana chips and melted butter together, and pack evenly at the bottom of your pan. Pop in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up a bit.
3) Using a balloon whisk, thoroughly combine the rest of the ingredients (don't whip too hard though, you don't want it to be foamy). Pour into the tin, tap the tin against the counter a few times to get rid of large air bubbles, and bake for 45 minutes. Now switch the heat off and let cool completely in the oven.
4) When cool, chill the cheesecake in the fridge for at least 4 hours (better overnight).
5) To make the drizzle, melt the butter into the sugar and whisky on a medium heat in a pan. Simmer for five minutes, or until the mixture forms a goopy ball when you drop a little of it into ice cold water, then let cool completely.
6) To make the decorations, simply dip the banana chips into the chocolate, shake off the excess and let set on some baking parchment. Unmould and plate up the cheesecake, drizzle over the fudge sauce, pipe some cream on and stick a chocolate banana chip into each peak.