Make Ahead

Banana Chai Cheesecakes

June 23, 2020
Author Notes

When I was studying to become a tea sommelier, I was struggling to think about how to get more tea into food, not just alongside it. In this case, I've got the spices used in chai, if not the actual tea leaves.

I absolutely LOVE the incredible banana version of the Cordon Rose Cheesecake by Rose Levy Beranbaum. So I thought, instead of serving banana-flavoured desserts with chai, why not put them together? It turns out cardamon and cloves are a fabulous complement to banana. You can buy a pre-made spice blend, of course, but there's nothing like toasting and grinding your own. You can absolutely make this cheesecake in a traditional pan in a water bath, but sous vide cooking gives them a lighter texture. If you haven't tried this method yet, you've got to!

Doubling down by drinking chai with the cheesecakes is not too much, since the tartness of the sour cream and cream cheese plays well against the sweet tea. —Theresa Lemieux

  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Serves 12-16
  • Chai-spice blend
  • 15 pieces green cardamom pods
  • 1 piece Cinnamon stick
  • 6 pieces whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 piece Whole nutmeg
  • .5 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • Banana Chai Cheesecake
  • 2 packets cream cheese
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon masala spice mix (above)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
In This Recipe
  1. Chai-spice blend
  2. Toast all spices in a dry pan until slightly browned and fragrant.
  3. Let cool slightly, then put in a coffee grinder dedicated for spices.
  4. Pulse until mostly pulverized.
  5. Hand grate cinnamon and nutmeg and add to other spices, pulse.
  6. Sift and set aside.
  1. Banana Chai Cheesecake
  2. Preheat the water bath to 80°C (176° F).
  3. Mash two very ripe bananas until you have approximately a cup. Add in the lemon juice, vanilla, grated ginger and salt. Smush it all together and set aside.
  4. Put the spice blend and the sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and stir together.
  5. Add in the cream cheese and beat until smooth.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition.
  7. Beat in sour cream until incorporated, then the mashed banana.
  8. Cast the batter into mason jars—I use a ladle or a serving spoon to make sure I don’t spill on the edges of the jar.
  9. Fill until just below the screw top. Put the lids on and turn them until fingertip tight. Using tongs, lower the jars into the water, stacking them up if need be.
  10. Cook for 90 minutes, then remove and let cool to room temperature before putting them in the fridge. Chill for 6 hours or preferably overnight.
  11. To serve, open the jars, top with slices of banana, dollops of whipped cream and a pinch of masala spice to top it off. If you like crunch, add toasted ground pistachio or cashews, or crushed cookies. Pair with masala chai made with the same spice mix, or contrast the sweetness with a fortifying Assam or Ceylon black tea.

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