Gingerbread Sweet Potato Cheesecake

Sweet potato gingerbread cheesecake.
Photo: Ben Cole
Sneak some veggies into this holiday treat.

What You'll Need:
Serves 12

For the base:

  • 150 g (5½ oz) digestive biscuits (or use graham crackers), crushed
  • 60 g (2 oz/½ cup) chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 75 g (2¾ oz) unsalted butter, melted for the filling
  • 1 medium–large sweet potato, about 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) (use orange sweet potatoes)
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) maple syrup
  • 750 g (1 lb 11 oz) cream cheese (full-fat), at room temperature
  • 55 g (2 oz/¼ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 95 g (3¼ oz/½ cup) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature

For the Topping:

  • 60 g (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 45 g (1½ oz/¼ cup) brown sugar
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) maple syrup
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) thick (heavy) cream
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) and line a baking tray with baking paper. Line the base of a 23 cm (9 in) springform pan with baking paper. Scrub the sweet potato and pierce it a few times with a skewer. Wrap in foil, place on the baking tray and bake until completely tender, about 1–1¼ hours, checking with a skewer.

Step 2: Meanwhile, for the base, process the biscuits and pecans in a food processor until they are the texture of fine breadcrumbs. Add the ground ginger and process for a few seconds. Add the butter and process until the crumbs start to clump together. Press into the bottom and part way up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once the sweet potato is cooked, reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F). Allow the cooked sweet potato to cool slightly, then peel and mash. Measure 375 g (13 oz/ 1½ cups) of sweet potato into the cleaned bowl of the food processor along with the maple syrup and process until a smooth purée. Transfer to another bowl and set aside to cool.

Step 3: Process the cream cheese in the cleaned food processor until smooth. Add the sugars, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and sea salt and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the side of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Add the sweet potato mixture and process until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, processing until each is incorporated before adding the next. Stop the food processor and scrape down the side of the bowl with a spatula, then process until creamy. Pour the cheesecake filling over the biscuit base and smooth the top with a spatula.

Step 4: Place on a baking tray and bake until the cheesecake is just set with a slight wobble in the middle, about 50–55 minutes. Turn off the oven. Leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door slightly ajar for 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and run the tip of a sharp knife between the cheesecake and the inside of the pan. Place the cheesecake, still in the pan, on a wire rack until cool.

Step 5: Meanwhile, make the topping. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and stir in the sugar and maple syrup until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes, reducing the heat to medium–low if the caramel is bubbling up the saucepan. Pour in the cream and stir until smooth. Bring back to the boil over medium heat and simmer for a further 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the sea salt. Set aside to cool.

Step 6: With the cheesecake still in the pan, pour the cool caramel over the top of the cheesecake and spread to the edges. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving, or overnight. To serve, remove the cheesecake from the pan and transfer to a serving plate. Store left-over cheesecake in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

The Potato Cookbook

Extracted with permission from The Potato Cookbook by Dale Whybrow, published by Hardie Grant Books April 2017, RRP $24.99.