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Banoffee cheesecake is a dessert that combines the flavors of banoffee pie and dulce de leche flan to create a rich, indulgent dish. Traditional Irish banoffee pie, or banoffee mess, is little more than rich toffee cream and bananas in a baked pie shell. Dulce de leche flan is a milk-based custard topped with creamy caramel. A decadent banoffee cheesecake often combines bananas, cream cheese, toffee, and caramel sauce. There are also many variations of banoffee cheesecake that allow cooks to tailor it to their needs.
Like traditional Irish banoffee mess, banoffee cheesecake usually starts with a baked pie crust. The crust may be graham cracker crumbs and butter, crushed chocolate or vanilla cookies, shortbread cookies, or traditional pie crust dough. The crust is then topped with velvety toffee, banana slices, and caramel. The order in which these layers go into the crust, as well as how they’re prepared and mixed together, is entirely up to the cook.
Some cooks might like to place a layer of sliced bananas in the crust first, followed by a layer of toffee, then the cheesecake and caramel sauce. This method not only distributes the flavors, it offers a surprise when the cake is served. Another method involves mixing the toffee, caramel, and bananas together and drizzling them on top of the cheesecake. A third possibility involves the cook mixing all of these flavors into the cheesecake and leaving off the garnish entirely. This simplifies the dessert and may make it easier to eat.
Methods for making toffee, one of the key ingredients in banoffee cheesecake, also vary greatly. One recipe includes about equal parts dark corn syrup or molasses, brown sugar, cream, and a little butter. Other recipes may call for canned toffee, dulce de leche, or caramel sauce mixed with butter and light molasses.
Yet another option is relatively simple, but takes some time. It involves removing the label to a can of sweetened condensed milk and boiling it in a pan of water for about three hours. As the milk warms, it starts to caramelize and become darker and darker in color until it transforms into smooth, rich toffee. This method requires few ingredients and may be cheaper than purchasing pre-made, canned toffee.
A few more variations include the variety of banana used in banoffee cheesecake and whether or not the cook wants to include chocolate. Yellow Cavendish bananas are available in most grocery stores, but red bananas may be sweeter. If using red bananas, they must be ripe or they’ll taste starchy and entirely unappetizing. As for chocolate, the cook may include chips, chocolate cookies, or chocolate sauce in any part of the cheesecake-making process. Many cooks decide against this, opting for a chocolate-free dessert that is still rather decadent.