Banana Pudding Cheesecake

Banana Pudding Cheesecake

1 1/4 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
5 tbsp butter, melted
5 tbsp sugar

Cheesecake filling
24 ounces packages of cream cheese, softened (three 8 ounce packages)
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp flour
3.4 oz package dry banana cream pudding mix
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Topping, if desired
Additional 1-2 bananas, sliced
vanilla wafers
whipped cream
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, combine crust ingredients and mix well.
3. Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper in the bottom.
4. Bake crust for 10 minutes then remove.
5. Cover the outsides of the pan with aluminum foil so that water from the water bath cannot get in and set aside.

Cheesecake filling
1. Reduce oven to 300 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, blend the cream cheese, sugar, flour and pudding mix with an electric mixer until combined (Use low speed to keep less air from getting into the batter, which can cause cracks). Mixture will be sticky. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beating slowly and scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.
4. Add the mashed banana and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed until well combined. Mixture should be well combined, but lumpy.
5. Pour the filling into the pan with the crust. Drop onto the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
6. Place springform pan inside another pan. Fill outside pan with enough warm water to go about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. The water should not go above the top edge of the aluminum foil on the springform pan.
7. Bake for 1 hour and 30-45 minutes. Turn off heat and leave in oven with door closed for 20 minutes.
8. Crack oven door and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another 20 minutes or until set.
9. Remove from oven and chill.
10. Once chilled, top with a layer of slices bananas, chopped vanilla wafers and whipped cream, if desired

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