We can’t imagine summer without banana pudding. So, we took this favorite southern dessert and turned it into a cheesecake topped with banana meringue cookies and crushed vanilla wafers. Creamy, delicious, and loaded with banana flavor, it mimics that perfect southern treat.
1 stick unsalted butter, plus more to grease the pan
3 cups vanilla wafers
3 tablespoons sugar
1 ¼ cups ripe bananas
24 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
2 tablespoons flour
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons banana extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup crushed vanilla wafers
banana meringue cookies (recipe below)
Heat the oven to 375˚F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan on the bottom and sides. Add a parchment circle to the bottom of the pan; butter the parchment.
Melt the stick of butter and set aside. Place the vanilla wafers in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add the melted butter and sugar; pulse until incorporated. Using a flat-sided measuring cup, press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared springform pan. Place the pan on a sheet tray then into the oven and bake for 9-12 minutes. Remove and cool completely. Place the spring-form pan in the center of 3 large pieces of aluminum foil and wrap the foil up the sides of the pan to make a water-tight seal. The cake will be baked in a water bath, so the idea is to use the foil to keep the water out of the cheesecake. Reduce the oven to 300˚F.
In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse the bananas to a smooth purée. Measure out 1 ¼ cups of the banana.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, flour, salt, and banana purée together for 5 minutes. Make sure the mixture is very smooth and fluffy with no lumps. Add the sugar and continue beating until very smooth. Add the extracts and beat until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Stop when the final egg is just incorporated. Be careful not to overbeat the eggs into the mixture.
Place the springform pan inside a large roasting pan. Transfer the banana mixture to the springform pan and tap on the counter gently to release any excess air. Fill the roasting pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the springform pan and place in the oven. Bake for 75 minutes. The cheesecake should be only slightly jiggly in the center when done. Turn off oven, open the door for a few minutes to release some heat then allow the cheesecake to cool for 1 hour in the oven. Remove to a cooling rack and cool completely. When cooled, cover tightly, and transfer the cheesecake to the refrigerator. Chill for at least an hour or until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, remove the springform, top with banana meringue cookies and more crushed vanilla wafers. Makes 16 servings.
Banana Meringue Cookies
2 egg whites
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 ½ teaspoons banana extract
¾ cup white sugar
Preheat oven to 315˚F. Add pieces of parchment paper to cover two cookie sheets. Beat egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, and banana extract until very firm. Gradually add sugar and beat into the egg white mixture.
Drop or pipe by teaspoonfuls onto the parchment lined sheet trays. Bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned. Turn the oven off and leave the cookies in the oven overnight to cool and dry. Makes 20 cookies.
The perfect combination for a special summer dinner – pan-seared scallops served atop a bed of creamy cheese grits with seared fresh corn and prosciutto. To complement the scallop’s sweet, succulent flavor, we added a lemon butter cream sauce right under the scallops to make this pure meal luxury.
Basil Lemon Cream Sauce
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 cup cream
Juice of one lemon
6-8 fresh basil leaves
2 garlic clove, cut in half
In a saucepan, heat butter over medium temperature until melted. Slowly whisk in the cream and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the lemon juice, basil, and garlic. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean saucepan to remove the basil and garlic. Cover and keep warm.
Cheese Grits With Fresh Corn Prosciutto
2 ears fresh corn, kernels removed
4 tablespoons butter, divided
¼ cup chopped prosciutto
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 cup Charleston Favorites grits
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup cream
¼ cup soda water
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the corn kernels and prosciutto and sauté over medium-high heat until the prosciutto is lightly browned, and the corn is cooked through; set aside and keep warm. Rinse the grits, drain and remove any floating chaff and hulls. Bring 3 cups water and 1 ½ teaspoons salt to a boil. Add the rinsed grits and cook frequently stirring for 15-20 minutes.
Reduce heat to low, add the cream and soda water, often stirring, until the grits are very thick, about 10 minutes. Add the cheese, remaining butter and pepper; stir to combine. Cover and keep warm while you make the scallops.
1 pounds dry sea scallops, approximately 12
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
Remove the small side muscle from the scallops, rinse with cold water and thoroughly pat dry. Set uncover on a paper towel lined plate in the refrigerator for 2 hours to dry the surface.
Add the butter and oil to a 12 to 14-inch sauté pan placed over high heat. Salt and pepper the scallops. Once the fat begins to smoke, carefully add the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other. Depending on their thickness, sear the scallops for 2-3 minutes per each side. The finished scallops should have a golden crust on each side and be translucent in the middle.
2 tablespoons fresh chives
2 tablespoons lemon zest
Ladle some cheese grits in a bowl. Top with the corn and prosciutto sauté and then sprinkle with chives. Add a little cream sauce; rest the scallops in the cream sauce. Top the scallops with lemon zest.
Makes 4 servings.
It’s hot out there and time to cool off with this tasty treat. Deliciously creamy lemon gelato dotted with fresh seasonal peaches and stuffed in a crispy ginger cookie we coated in Bourbon Vanilla Sugar. You can’t get any cooler than these summer ice cream sammies.
1 ⅓ cups bread flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup Bourbon Barrel Foods Bourbon Vanilla Sugar or Turbinado sugar
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and ginger.
Using a stand mixer, or hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until the butter is light and fluffy and the sugar has dissolved. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and combine until smooth.
On low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and blend until just incorporated. Cover and refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough into 1” diameter balls, then roll the dough balls in the Bourbon Vanilla or Turbinado sugar. Place the dough 2″ apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use a flat-bottom glass or cup, flatten the dough balls to ⅜” thick. Place the dough in the oven and bake for 14-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven, and cool on the sheet tray for five minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Lemon Peach Gelato
2 small fresh peaches
2 cups whole milk
1 cup cream
1 large lemon
6 large egg yolks
½ cup sugar
Cut the peaches in half and remove the pit and any hard interior pieces. Cut the peach halves into a small dice. Place on a parchment lined sheet tray, in one layer, preferably not touching. Place in the freezer.
Combine the milk and cream in the saucepan. Using a vegetable peeler, carefully remove in strips the yellow part only on the outside of the lemon and add to the saucepan with the milk/cream mixture. Place over medium heat and cook until steaming, be careful not to let the mixture boil. Remove from the heat, cover, and allow the lemon to infuse for 20 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns light yellow and the sugar has dissolved into the eggs. Pour the infused milk through a fine mesh strainer into the egg mixture, a small amount at a time, whisking until thoroughly combined.
Pour the mixture into a clean saucepan, and place over medium-low heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until a thick custard forms that coat the back of the wooden spoon, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to overheat.
Place a smaller bowl in a large bowl filled with ice. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into the small cold bowl. Stir occasionally to cool the mixture, then cover and place in the refrigerator and keep cold until well chilled, about 3-4 hours or preferably overnight.
Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. When the gelato is almost completed, add in the small diced frozen peaches. Place in a freezer container and freeze 2-3 hours.
Set the gelato out of the freezer for 10-20 minutes or spreadable. Spread two tablespoons of gelato on the side of one cookie. Top with another and freeze until solid, about 30 minutes. Make 10 cookie sandwiches with extra gelato.
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A summer fruit tart recipe is the best way to use the season’s ripest yield. Topped with a combination of fruits to bring out summer’s sweetness, we like our shortbread crust filled to the brim with Grand Marnier and Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream.
Shortbread Pastry Crust
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
¼ cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1 ¼ cups whole milk
3 large egg yolks
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
2 teaspoons Grand Marnier, optional
½ cup apricot jam or preserves
3 cups of summer fruit such as raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, plums, pineapple, peaches
To make the shortbread crust: In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the salt. Place the butter in a mixer bowl, add the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Lightly whisk the egg then add to the butter mixture, beating until just incorporated. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix just until the dough forms into a ball. Dump out on a floured surface and flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, or place in a zip-top bag. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or just until firm.
Lightly butter an 8” or 9” tart pan with a removable bottom or an 8” or 9” tart ring. Roll the dough into an 8” or 9” circle then add to the pan or ring and evenly pat the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of the container or pastry ring. Cover with plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator for a least one hour.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400˚F. Lightly prick bottom and sides of the pastry crust with the tines of a fork and place the tart pan on a baking sheet. Bake the crust for 5 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 350˚F and continue baking the crust for about 15 minutes more or until dry and lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the pastry cream: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks together. Sift the flour and cornstarch together into the egg mixture and mix into a smooth paste.
In a saucepan, add the milk and heat until the liquid starts to foam up. Remove from heat and slowly temper small amounts at a time into the egg mixture, constantly whisking to keep a smooth mixture. Pour the egg mixture into a clean medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until just boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, remove from heat and immediately whisk in the vanilla bean paste and Grand Marnier. Pour into a clean bowl and quickly cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a layer from forming. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until very cold. When ready to use, whisk to remove any lumps that may have formed.
Topping: Heat the apricot jam with one tablespoon of water in a small saucepan over medium heat until liquid. Remove from heat and strain the jam through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps.
To Assemble Tart: Be sure to assemble the tart on the day it will be eaten. Remove the tart from the sides of the pan and remove the bottom of the pan, then slide the tart shell on to a platter.
Spread a thin layer of apricot glaze over the bottom and up the sides of the baked tart shell to help prevent the crust from getting soggy. Let the glaze dry for 20 minutes. Spread the pastry cream onto the bottom of the tart shell over the glaze. Arrange the fruit on top and carefully brush a very light coating of fruit glaze on the fruit. Refrigerate until ready, serves 6.