SWEET POTATO CHEESECAKE WITH GINGER-PECAN CRUST
This recipe holds a special place in my heart. Not only is it a Southern family favorite layered with roasted sweet potatoes, pecans, ginger snaps, maple syrup, brown sugar and vanilla but it is the exact recipe I created for my graduating grade at Epicurean Culinary School back in 1996. How wild?!
So the other day I was going through some old recipes and stumbled upon it and decided to make it and post it for the holidays. Gosh, the page was pretty worn with food stains, torn and folded edges and it was dated 5/1/96. It's obvious this recipe got plenty of use. LOL!
As I read through the recipe and began to get all my ingredients together (called "mis en place. In French culinary terms means "everything in place) I realized a few adjustments had to be made and the method reformulated. Recipes of my early culinary years! LOL! Nontheless...I lessened a few ingredients and started baking. The recipe came out fantastic and I was able to made 4 mini desserts to give as gifts.
This recipe is so effortless and simple to make. I find by roasting the sweet potatoes, it lends a very sweet and caramelized texture to the dessert. And the hint of lemon zest gives it a vibrant kick to the already warming seasonal flavors. Unlike most sweet potato cheesecakes this one is light and doesn't overwhelm you with super sweetness. The rich taste of the natural flavors is what you'll love.
30 Ginger Snap Cookies
1/2 c. Pecans, Chopped
4 Tbs. Butter, Softened
2 - 8oz. Cream Cheese, Softened
1 1/2 c. Sugar
3 Sweet Potatoes, Peeled, Cut into Cubes and Roasted (4 cups)
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg, Ground
1/2 tsp. Cinammon, Ground
1/2 tsp. Ginger, Ground
2 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 Tbs. Maple Syrup
1 c. Light Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Lemon Zest
2 Tbs. Flour
Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees. To begin, make crust by combining ginger snap cookies and pecans. Pulse until the mixture is blended. In a medium bowl add the cookie pecan mixture and butter and blend together with a wooden spoon. Press evenly onto a bottom and 1 inch up side of a 9-inch springform pan or 4 mini springform pans. Place into the oven and bake until set for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set to cool.
Using an hand electric mixer beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, cinammon, ginger, nutmeg, maple syrup, roasted sweet potatoes, flour, lemon zest, salt, eggs. Beat until all ingredients are incorporated and smooth. Pour into crust of the 9-inch springform or the 4 mini springform pans. Bake until set and firm, 1 hour.
Once done, remove from the oven and cool. Remove the cakes from the springform pans and top with sour cream and pecans, whipped cream and caramel sauce drizzle.
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