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Sweet Potato Gingersnap Cheesecake with Maple-Whipped Cream

Recipe: Sweet Potato Gingersnap Cheesecake with Maple-Whipped Cream

Remarks:

    Every year at Thanksgiving, I add another dessert beside the pumpkin pie. I want to give an option for those on a diet. I want an option for those who don't really like pumpkin. And I want to give an option for those that want to say, "Yeah, I want a big piece!" instead of, "Just give me a smidge."

    I also want something completely different.

    I had never seen a sweet potato cheesecake recipe, so I set out to see if it could be done. Not only can it be done, but also it can be made low fat and it can be topped with maple-whipped cream!

    This isn't a completely dietetic recipe. I just cut corners where I could to make it reasonable.* If you're on a strict diet, check with your dietician before adventuring too far with this thing. If you're indulging, you can give this a whirl and feel pretty good about it. In any case, it's pretty tasty and it's pretty.

    *If you're not interested in dieting at Thanksgiving or any other time, you can substitute sugar for the Splenda. They measure equally. And use regular syrup where I used sugar free. And, of course, you can use full-fat cream cheese!

Servings:
Serves 10 to 12.

Ingredients:

    Crust:
    1.5 cups of crushed gingersnap cookie crumbs
    3 Tbl Splenda
    4 Tbl melted butter (Don't use margarine. It doesn't work.)

    Cheesecake:
    4 8-oz. packages of Neufchatel cream cheese (1/3 less fat), room temperature
    1 cup Splenda sweetener
    2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mixture
    15-oz. can of sweet potatoes in light syrup
    3 large eggs
    1 Tbl vanilla

    Maple-Whipped Cream:
    2 tsp sugar-free maple syrup
    1 cup whipping cream

Instructions:

    To make the Crust: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Get out your 9-inch springform pan. Put the crumbs, Splenda and margarine in the pan. Mix with a fork until the butter is completely mixed into the crumbs and the Splenda sort of disappears into the mixture. Pat this mixture with your fingers into the bottom of the pan and partially up the sides of the pan. It should come up the side a half inch or more. You don't have to be too precise. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes until set. Let cool.

    To make the Filling: First drain the sweet potatoes in a colander. Put the sweet potatoes in a food processor and whiz them to make a puree. You can add up to a half cup of water to make the potato puree smooth. Sometimes you need a little liquid to get the processor started in its chopping process.

    In a large bowl, put in your cream cheese, Splenda, sweet potato puree mixture, spice, and one egg. Mix for one minute, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides. Add the next egg and mix another minute. Add the last egg and the vanilla and mix one more minute. This makes your filling nice and fluffy. Pour this over your crust. Level it with your spatula.

    Wrap your cheesecake pan in two layers of aluminum foil. You want to seal it good and tight so no water will get in. Wrap the bottom and up the sides. Set the pan in a larger roasting pan and then add water so the water level will be one inch up the side of the cheesecake. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes until the cheesecake is set. Remove the cheesecake from the water pan and put it back in the oven (now turned off) with the door open for 15 more minutes so the cheesecake cools down slowly. Then let it cool on the counter. Take off the aluminum foil side cover. Finally, chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight before serving. You can put a loose covering of plastic wrap on top of the cheesecake after it has cooled on the counter so it doesn't soak up any refrigerator flavors.

    To make Whipped Cream: Whip your cream as usual. Instead of adding vanilla or sugar when the cream reaches soft peaks, add the syrup and continue beating until stiff peaks form. If you want sweeter cream, you can add a couple teaspoons of powdered sugar but it's really not necessary. Taste test and you decide. Make the whipped cream right before you serve.

    To serve, take a sharp knife and slide it along the edge of the cheesecake to make sure it is loosened from the pan edge. Place it on your platter and unlock the springform to release the cheesecake. Gently lift off the outer ring. Clean up any little crumbs or messy edges. Slice your cheesecake with a very sharp knife that has been dipped in warm water and wiped off with a towel. This will make a very smooth cut.

Serving Suggestions:

    The cheesecake will taste best on days 2 through 4. As the days progress, the cheesecake flavor intensifies. Depending on the humidity in your refrigerator, your crust might start to get soggy, but the cheesecake will still taste good. As with all cheesecakes, I recommend taking it out of the refrigerator at least 15 to 30 minutes or even longer before you serve it. The colder it is, the less the flavors come through. Savor each bite by rolling it over on your tongue. Yum!

Enjoy!

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