New Lessons this Fall

Open your books and turn to page 5.

Yes, you can hear that phrase everywhere. Students are starting out a new school year and that means new subjects and information to learn and digest. Some students will be challenged, some will be bored and then some will find a whole new exciting topic to spur them on.

So, what about you? Why not pick a new path in cooking that you have not tried before - perhaps baking bread, cooking ethnic foods, cake decorating, canning preserves, or creating luscious chocolate candies. Locate a how-to book appropriate to your chosen subject and study along with your kids while they do their homework. You will be surprised at what you can discover... and eventually digest!

This fall I am going to study cheesecakes. I can't remember the last time I tried making cheesecake and with all the different shapes of pans available, you can become very creative. The first purchase will be a springform pan and I think I'll start with a basic 9" round springform pan. Most cheesecake recipes I see, seem to call for this size. However, I'm intrigued by the mini cheesecake and individual mini springform pans. Also on the top of my list is a cheesecake recipe book. "The 50 Best Cheesecakes in the World" sounds like a good book to start with.

The first recipe that I will try won the competition at our county fair. It sounds heavenly. You could try it too... of course, you must like bananas!

Bananas Foster Cheesecake


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. (packed) brown sugar
  • 2 - 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3 lg. eggs
  • 2 cups pureed bananas (about 4 bananas)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. dark rum
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt


  • Sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping
  • 8 oz. caramel sauce
  • 1 tbsp. dark rum
  • Bananas, peeled and sliced
  • Finely chopped pecans (optional)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Wrap outside of 9-inch diameter springform pan (3-inch high sides) with heavy-duty foil. Combine flour, pecans, butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in large bowl. Mix well. Press mixture onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar. Beat in cornstarch. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just blended after each addition. Add pureed banana, sour cream, lemon juice, vanilla, rum, cinnamon and salt. Beat just until combined.

Transfer filling to crust-lined pan. Place springform in large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to roasting pan to come 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake until center of cake is just set, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Turn off oven. Let cake stand in oven until cooled to room temperature, about 2 hours. Refrigerate cake until well chilled. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Cut around cake to loosen; remove pan sides. Transfer cake to platter. Warm caramel sauce in small saucepan over low heat, stirring often. Mix in rum.

Decorate top of cake with sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping. Sprinkle with some finely chopped pecans (optional). Arrange sliced bananas around edge of cake. Drizzle sauce decoratively over cake. May serve leftover sauce on the side for drizzling.

I think the caramel sauce is what sold me on this recipe - drizzling caramel over anything always makes me want to take a bite.

So back to your homework...what have you decided to study this fall? Visit our website sale page for possible ideas.
Other topics to consider...

  • The Artful Cookie. Learning to bake and decorate elegant cookies.
  • Candymaking. Learn how to make truffles, fudge and other delectable goodies in your own kitchen.
  • Starter Cake Decorating Kit. Want to make your own delightful birthday cakes and treats. This kit contains some basic tools and instructions to get you started.
  • The New Napkin FoldingTransform simple linen squares into something dazzling - from frilly to dramatic!
  • Ball Blue Book of Preserving. Touted as the "bible" of home preserving, you will want to start with this book if you choose canning.
  • Beginners Garnishing Set. Learn to create frilled carrots, cucumber fans, and other whimsical additions for your dinners and buffets.
Final announcement of the day:
All lab work will take place in the kitchen tomorrow, please be prepared with ingredients and tools as needed!