Friday, September 4, 2009

Roasted Sweet Potato Cheesecake

Yes, this is dairy-free!  No one could believe it when I said it had sweet potatoes and no dairy. Here's the secret: never tell anyone the ingredients until after they eat it -  - just present it as a "cheesecake".

This is NOT a difficult recipe, altho, yes, it is time consuming. BUT, make it and you will not regret it. And when you serve it, you will be famous. Forever. Whoever eats it will be your biggest foodie fan the rest of their life. It's that good.

Prep:  a lot of time! seriously.
Cook:  roast potatoes, 55-60 min; bake cake, 50 -75 min

Ingredients for cheesecake, crust and topping:
  • 2 dark orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb. total), such as jewel or red garnet (sometimes sold as yams)
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter (ok, so a lil bit of dairy here)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 24 ounces rice cream cheese
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 4 eggs, large
  • ¼ cup soy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup rice sour cream
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1 1/4 cup graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup soy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Roast your Sweet Potato's

You can do this a day ahead of time and refrigerate cooked potatoes.
  • Preheat oven to 375° (convection not recommended). Peel sweet potatoes and cut in half lengthwise. Place in a 9- by 13-inch baking pan and brush with melted butter. Bake until potatoes are soft when pressed, 45 to 55 minutes.
  • Scrape any charred spots off potatoes, then cut potatoes into chunks. Whirl in a food processor or mash in a bowl with lemon juice until smooth. Reserve 1 cup; save any extra for another use.
Meanwhile, prepare crust.

Pecan Crust:
  • Whirl 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans in a blender until finely ground; you should have 1/4 cup. 
  • In a bowl, mix pecans, 1 1/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 5 tablespoons melted butter. 
  • Pour into a 9-inch cheesecake pan with removable rim (2 1/4 in. tall). 
  • Press mixture evenly over bottom of pan.
  • Bake crust in same oven with potatoes until lightly browned all over, 10 to 12 minutes.

Back to the cheesecake:

Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
  • In a bowl, with a mixer on high speed, beat cream cheese until fluffy. 
  • Gradually beat in granulated and brown sugars, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally, until mixture is well blended and smooth. 
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended. 
  • Add reserved sweet potato mixture, the whipping cream, sour cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Mix on low speed until well blended.

  • Wrap bottom of cheesecake pan with heavy-duty foil, pressing it up the sides. You want to wrap it really, really tightly.
  • Pour batter over crust.
  • Put cheesecake pan in a 12- by 15-inch roasting pan at least 2 inches deep. Set pans in oven and pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cheesecake pan.   This is important.  This ensures even baking of your cheesecake.
  • Bake until cake barely jiggles in the center when gently shaken, about 55 minutes. Remove pans from oven. Lift cheesecake pan from roasting pan and let cool completely on a rack, about 1 hour.  

When cooled, chill until cold, at least 1 1/2 hours, or up to 3 days (cover once cold).

Up to 6 hours before serving, cut around inside of pan rim to release cake; remove rim.

With a pastry bag, pipe dollops of maple cream onto cake. Or serve maple cream separately, to spoon onto each wedge.

Maple Cream:
  • In a bowl, with a mixer on high speed, beat 3/4 cup soy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. 
  • On low speed, beat in 1/4 cup maple syrup just until blended.

Notes:  Can be made up to 3 days ahead; wrapped tightly; refrigerated.

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