Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cookbook Thursday: Slow cook Southern style

            I discovered “The Southern Slow Cooker: Big-Flavor, Low-Fuss Recipes for ComfortFood Classics” by Kendra Bailey Morris (Ten Speed Press, 2013) on Facebook and followed the links to her blog, “Fat Back and Foie Gras.” “The Southern Slow Cooker” hit bookshelves yesterday and here’s a sneak peak into what the new cookbook has to offer, a fun recipe for cheesecake in a jar.

Slow Cooker Chocolate-Banana Cheesecake in Jars

From “The Southern Slow Cooker: Big-Flavor, Low-Fuss Recipes for Comfort Food Classics”
1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened 
condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large banana, cut into thin slices, plus additional sliced bananas for garnish
Whipped cream, for garnish
Shaved dark chocolate, for garnish
            Directions: In a small bowl, mix together the crushed chocolate wafers, sugar, and melted 
butter. Partially fill six half-pint canning jars with about 3 tablespoons of this mixture, being sure to distribute it evenly. Set aside any leftover chocolate crust mixture.
            In a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one, still beating the mixture. Pour in the condensed milk and the vanilla and continue to beat.
            Fill each jar with about 1½ to 2 inches of the cream cheese mixture. Add an even layer of banana slices along with some of the reserved chocolate crust. Finally fill each jar with more cheesecake mixture, leaving about an inch of headspace. Lay a kitchen towel on the bottom of the slow cooker to protect the ceramic surface and place the uncovered jars in the slow cooker insert, making sure they are not touching each other or the sides of the cooker.
            Fill a tea kettle with water and heat to just boiling. Pour just enough water into the slow cooker to come halfway up the glass jars. Cover the top of the slow cooker with several thick sheets of paper towels to absorb additional moisture. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 1 to 2 hours, until the cheesecakes begin to pull away from the sides of the jars. Using a pair of tongs, carefully transfer the jars (they will be very hot) to a wire rack. Cool completely. Screw on the lids and place the cheesecakes in the fridge until well chilled, at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
            Just before serving, top each jar of cake with additional sliced bananas, a dollop of whipped cream, and shaved chocolate. Serve the cakes straight from the jars with spoons. Serves 6.

Cheré Coen is a Lafayette freelance travel and food writer. She is author of “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Tour of Historic Acadiana” by The History Press. Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.