(Mass Appeal) – If you’re in charge of preparing a dessert for one of your upcoming holiday get togethers, then we’ve got the perfect recipe for you. Michael Kachadoorian, cookbook author and creator of BakingNaturally.com is here to put a unique twist on the cheesecake standard.
Sweet Potato Cheesecake
Roast Sweet Potatoes
Use 1 pound of sweet potatoes, usually 1 large sweet potato or 2 medium. Roast potatoes in oven at 400 degrees for 1-1.5 hours depending on the size of the potatoes. Potatoes should be soft. Cool to room temperature-pull the skins off and mash to puree consistency. Set aside.
Make the crust:
30 gingersnap cookies each about 1.5 inches in diameter
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a food processor, add gingersnaps and sugar-pulse until fine crumbs form. Place the crumbs in a medium sized bowl. Add vanilla to melted butter and add to the crumb mixture-mix until fully combined.
Press crumbs into a 9-inch springform pan in an even layer not going up the sides of the pan. Bake for 9 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Make the crumb topping:
1 1/2 cups toasted pecans chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup light or dark brown sugar
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
zest of an orange
Place pecans on a baking sheet and place into a 350 degree oven for about 8-12 minutes to roast. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Let cool completely and then chop with knife to about 1/2-inch sized pieces or to your desired size. Set aside.
Add melted butter to a medium sized bowl, add sugar, flour, cinnamon, vanilla, and orange zest. Mix until combined. Mixture should be soft enough to squeeze in your hands and it clumps together. Add more flour, one tablespoon at a time, if mixture is too wet. Set aside to cool. Once cool, add toasted pecans and combine. Set aside.
I recommend doing the prep work the night before you make the cheesecake so that it makes making the cheesecake filling easier.
For the cheesecake:
2 lbs cream cheese-very soft-leave out overnight-must be room temperature
½ cup white granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
reserved sweet potato puree (should be close to 15 ounces)
½ cup sour cream-room temperature
4 eggs at room temperature
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
zest of one orange
Preheat oven to 325 or if using convection preheat to 300 degrees.
Wrap the springform pan that you made the crust in, with three layers of foil around the bottom and sides of pan to make water-tight. Place springform pan into a roasting pan. Place about 4 quarts of water in a saucepan and bring to boil while making the cheesecake filling.
In the bowl of a food processer or stand mixer, add cream cheese and mix until smooth. Add sugars and mix well. Add sweet potato puree and sour cream and mix well. Add eggs one at a time being sure each egg is incorporated before you add the next. Next, add all the dry ingredients and the orange zest. Mix until combined and there are no lumps in the batter. Pour batter into the springform pan that’s in the roasting pan. Carefully add the boiling water to the roasting pan so that the water comes up to the midway point on the springform pan. Carefully place into the preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes. At that point, take your reserved pecan topping you made earlier and sprinkle over the top of the cake, but don’t add to much as the filling may collapse. Bake an additional 20 minutes for a total bake time of 65 minutes. At that point, shut the oven off and leave the cheesecake inside with the door shut for another 1 hour. Then remove springform pan from the water bath and let cool on a wire rack for several hours. Once cake is cooled to room temperature, place in refrigerator for 8 hours-preferably overnight.