Yesterday was apparently National Cheesecake Day.
If you failed to celebrate, I’m sorry.
We failed together.
But if you really need a proclaimed day to eat cheesecake… you’re weird.
This here tart has a cheesecake sentiment, so happy Cheesecake History Month. Apparently, that’s going on too.
Curse you, Cheesecake Factory.
Besides being the last day of Cheesecake History Month, today was my final day in Tampa Bay.
I don’t think I ever quite made it clear why I was down here to begin with.
Probably because I haven’t felt like it. Still don’t… writing, working, food, internship, restaurant critiquing, cookbook, research, lots of Twitter, Food Nation Radio Network.
Okay, that works right?
Glad we’re on the same page. Cause I want to tell you a story now.
Have you ever had a molten chocolate cake?
It’s warm, decadent, intensely chocolatey; and when your spoon crushes through the cakey shell, a flow of pudding-like chocolate lava flows from within. Then you enter cocoa euphoria. Beautiful things.
Right so, the story behind the molten marvel goes something like there was once this chef, this chef named Jean-George Vongerichten. One fine day in NYC, Jean-George is baking up some cake. So he goes and pulls this chocolate cake from the oven, only to find that it isn’t cooked all the way through. However,the chef decides that hey… this screw-up cake isn’t half bad, and proceeds to serve it. Thus, today’s beloved molten pudding-cored cake was born.
Don’t hold me accountable for the complete and utter validity of that little dessertish anecdote.
But moral of the story is…
Things don’t always turn out how you expect.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
This summer, for example… diversion from what was initially in my mind as I drove down here 2 months ago.
At points, the whole shebang was hard. Real hard. And scary, and frustrating and Lord help me, fattening.
Yet taken as a whole, the experience was something good. Maybe more like great.
I lived. learned. I grew.
I found that the seemingly random people and opportunities that really matter never just fall into our laps… they’re placed there.
I step away wiser, stronger and 3 sizes larger.
What more could one possibly ask for?
And see, I almost didn’t even bother posting this peanut butter crusted banana bliss tart simply because it was highly experimental.
In fact, it started out as cookies.
Then, I didn’t feel like cookies.
So cookies did not happen.
There were points during the transition to tart town when I got rather nervous.
Because stuff happened which I did not anticipate.
And that’s just life.
One of the skills I really fine-tuned this summer was the ability to handle unexpected occurrences. Without missing a beat. Usually.
Ya know, like when you totally mess something up… then say, “No that’s exactly what I meant to do. Obvi.” And then get creative to make it seem like that is indeed what you meant to do. Exactly. Yeah, like that.
You’d think after all of the decent writing I had to whip out over the past weeks, I would get over my love of the vague ranting scenarios.
Oh well, there again… life usually doesn’t play out how you foresee it to.
Probably for the best.
And that my friends, is why I did indeed share this lovely tart with you.
Like old Jean-George’s cake, it may not have stepped out the oven as originally planned… but it’s still pretty freaking tasty.
There you have it.
Embrace each day’s spontaneous nature.
Take something delicious away from every experience.
Try to leave an impact wherever you may find yourself.
Appreciate the fantastic people who wander into your life.
Eat cheesecake any day you feel like it.
Peanut Butter Crusted Banana Bliss Tart
for the crust
- 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 Cup powdered sugar
- 1 Cup Peanut Butter
- 2 tbsp cream cheese softened
- 1 Egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1/4 Teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375 F. Thoroughly grease a 9 or 10 inch tart pan. Set aside.
Combine with sugars in a large mixing bowl, then beat in the peanut butter. Next, mix in the cream cheese and egg. Add in vanilla.
Whisk together the salt and flour, add to the peanut butter mixture.
Press the dough into your prepared tart pan. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down,inside the crust. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove crust from oven.
Likely, the crust will be extremely puffed up. Using hands (with paper towel if too hot) or the back of a large spoon, press the dough back down and form it to the pan. There will be a good excess dough the comes over the edges when you do this. Carefully collect these “scraps” as you will use them later.
Pour the banana filling into the shell and continue baking 20-25 minutes, or until nearly set (still slightly jiggly in the center). Remove from oven and crumble the excess dough evenly over the top of the tart. Bake 15 minutes more or until completely set and topping is nicely browned.
Cool completely on a wire rack and refrigerate at least 3 hours before cutting.
For the filling
- 1 large ripe banana, mashed
- 6 tbsp cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 3 Snickers candy bars (or other chocolate bar of choice), roughly chopped
Beat the banana and sugar with the cream cheese until smooth. Next add the egg. Then, mix in the cream and flour. Fold in the chocolate pieces and pour into prepared tart shell and bake as directed above.