I tend to get slick looks and smirks whenever I tell someone that I’m an Anglophile. People just don’t see too many Black-Puerto Rican women who are willing to admit they pretend to be British ladies with castles in Downton Abbey, I guess.
As a homeschooling mom, I have the privilege of being able to tailor my lesson plans around all things British whenever we reach that point in our school year—like when we hit the Tudor dynasty. Although not as ancient as King Henry VIII (nor as scandalous), Banoffee Pie was a great way to introduce English desserts to my kiddos.
WHAT IS BANOFFEE PIE?
The classic banoffee (bananas, toffee, and cream) dessert has a shortbread type crust filled with banana and toffee sauce. A generous dollop of cream is spread atop it all, and it’s served like a pie.
However, being the rogue that I am, I’ve transformed it into a decadent cheesecake. I’m quite sure the infamous Henry would approve of my breaking with tradition: This version has a shortbread crust, which is filled with a banana cheesecake! Toffee sauce is ladled over the chilled cheesecake, and rosettes of whipped cream add a bit of flourish.
The toffee sauce I’m using is made from scratch, but if you’re pressed for time, you can use a pre-made butterscotch sauce, which is the closest thing to homemade toffee. Caramel sauce, or goat’s milk cajeta, would be great substitutes as well. Using homemade toffee sauce, though, will pay dividends in the final flavor.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST CHEESECAKE
As a native New Yorker, I pride myself on my ability to make an excellent cheesecake. The key to baking a perfect cheesecake is definitely patience.
- Bake the cake in a water bath (or bain marie) to keep the cheesecake filling at a constant, even temperature, which lessens the chance that your cheesecake will crack.
- Wrap your springform pan in layers of foil to eliminate any chance of water seeping into your cheesecake, and thus, ruining it. (Pay close attention when wrapping the foil around the spring locking handle. It’s notorious for puncturing the foil.)
- Allow your cheesecake to cool slowly inside the oven so the top does not crack. Abrupt changes in temperature can cause faults in the surface of your cheesecake.
MORE TIPS FOR GREAT CHEESECAKE
- Make the cheesecake at least 12 hours in advance, but 24 hours ahead is even better. A great cheesecake should be ice cold and firm enough to hold its shape when cut.
- Be sure to keep the cheesecake refrigerated—there are a lot of perishable components, after all. I’ve never had this cheesecake go uneaten for more than 48 hours, but the leftovers will keep for four days max in the refrigerator.
- Garnish your cheesecake just before serving to get that posh Brit look. My favorite way to decorate this particular cheesecake is with unsweetened dried banana chips that I find in the organic food section of my grocery store.
MORE DECADENT CHEESECAKES TO TRY!
- Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Perfect Cheesecake
- Raspberry Cheesecake in a Mason Jar
- Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars
- Sous Vide Cheesecake in Jars
For the toffee sauce:
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (197 g) packed light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the banoffee cheesecake:
- 2 (5-ounce) packages Walker’s shortbread cookies
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, divided
- 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 large eggs
- 3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon banana extract
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- Toffee sauce
- Whipped cream
- Dried banana chips