Tropical Cheesecake

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been participating in Bountiful Baskets.  It’s been great so far!  I pay $15 for a basket that I pick up on Saturday.  The basket contains 50% fruits and 50% vegetables.  You never know what you’re going to get until you go pick it up.  I like that the baskets generally contain at least one fruit or vegetable that I wouldn’t normally seek out in the grocery store– like jicama.  I get to try new things and investigate new ways to use up some fresh fruits and veggies!  For more information on Bountiful Baskets, go to www.bountifulbaskets.org.

A week ago, we got bananas.  Really green bananas.  That was just fine with me.  They finally ripened this weekend.  I had one banana left and I’d been dreaming of bananas drenched in caramel.  Believe me, this combo is irresistible.  Pineapple and caramel is also delish.  I had a banana, butter and brown sugar, but it needed something more.  Cheesecake!  Coconut!  Now we’re talking!

Tropical Cheesecake
1 box Jello No Bake Cheesecake
1-1/2 cups milk (not pictured)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 stick butter, divided
1 banana, sliced
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1-1/2 cups shredded coconut

1.  Place a medium skillet over low heat on the stove.  Add the coconut.  Stir every few minutes.  In the beginning it will look like this:

Continue to cook and stir over low heat until the coconut begins to brown and smells nutty.  It should look like this:

Remove from heat and put the toasted coconut in a bowl to cool.

2.  Place the crumbs for the crust in a 9″ pie plate along with 1/4 tsp cinnamon.  Stir well to combine.  Melt 5 Tbsp of butter and pour over the crumb mixture.  Stir until well combined and all crumbs are coated with butter.  Press gently to cover the bottom and sides of the pan.  Set aside.

3.  In a large bowl, combine the cheesecake pouch with 1 tsp vanilla and 1-1/2 cups cold milk.  Mix on high for about 3 minutes, then stir in all but 1/2 cup of the toasted coconut.  Spoon into the prepared crust, smooth the top, and set aside.

4.  Melt the remaining 3 Tbsp butter in the same skillet the coconut was toasted in over medium heat.  Add the brown sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Add the bananas and cook, turning every few minutes, until sauce thickens and bananas are soft. 

5. Spoon the bananas on top of the cheesecake.  Drizzle the sauce over top, then sprinkle with the remaining coconut.  Refrigerate overnight.

6.  To serve, dip the pan briefly in hot water.  Slice and serve.  Enjoy!

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