Sweet Potato Cheesecake with Candied Crumb Pecans.
This was not my idea. At all. In fact, I had never even heard of sweet potato cheesecake before. Where have I been?! My goodness...
Sweet potato pie is a delicious classic, as is cheesecake. Pairing the two together never entered my mind before it was suggested by Husband. He heard the idea from someone else. The someone else happened to be a chef. Who was I to ignore a chef's recommendation!?
Fantastic! This tasted absolutely fantastic. Not too sweet. Just rich & delicious. The candied pecans were a nice crunchy compliment to the smooth consistency of the cheesecake, and the mild delicate flavors of the sweet potato were not lost.
The recipe requires a lot of work, but the results are so worth it!!! I highly recommend this for Thanksgiving dessert or anytime you feel like having a bit of cheesecake with a little bit of sweet potato pie!
Here is the recipe: (Adapted from Food Network, by Tanya Holland)
I used an 8 inch springform pan.
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/8 cup confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter
Sweet Potato Cheesecake Filling
1 lb (2 boxes) cream cheese (softened)
3/4 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 large eggs + 1 egg white
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 sweet potatoes (washed, pricked several times with fork, baked skin on, on a foil lined pan, in a 400 degree oven for about an hour, peeled, cooled, and pulsed into a puree consistency in a food processor)
Candied Crumb Pecans Topping
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup toasted pecans
butter for greasing pan
Crust: Line bottom of an 8 inch springform pan with foil & grease entire pan with a bit of butter. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a bowl. Using a measuring cup, press this mixture into prepared pan, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Cool.
Cheesecake: Turn up oven to 450 degrees. Place cream cheese into a stand mixer bowl. Beat until smooth with paddle attachment. Continue to mix, adding the sugar and salt. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the sour cream, flour, and spices. Lower speed and add sweet potato puree. Pour the batter into the cooled crust lined pan. Place a baking pan of hot water on lowest rack in the oven. Set cheesecake on rack above. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then lower temperature to 250 degrees and bake an additional 1 1/2 hours or an inserted thermometer reads about 160 degrees. Cool completely in pan for 30 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight or until completely chilled.
Candied Pecans: Grease a flat pan with butter. Melt sugar over med high heat, stirring constantly until temperature reaches 310 degrees. (Please be careful, this is very very hot) Stir in pecans until coated completely. Quickly pour and spread onto pan. Let cool and then pulse in food processor until a coarse crumb like consistency.
A couple things:
• A candy thermometer would be very useful. I did not have one, and guesstimated the melted sugar temperature.
• Some cheesecake recipes, such as this one, requires a water bath (Baking the cheesecake directly inside a pan filled with hot water). I read that this keeps moisture in the oven & prevents the cake from cracking. I had never done this before, and was terrified that the water would seep into my springform pan and I'd have a soggy disaster for dessert...hence why I placed the pan of hot water on the oven rack below the cheesecake. And, of course, my cake did have a big ole crack in it from not following directions, but it was so delicious that nobody cared.
Has anyone baked a cheesecake in a water bath? Does this truly prevent cracks?
Thoughts & suggestions are welcomed! Any questions, ask away:)