Monday, 20 February 2012

Purple Cheesecake

It's February! The weather has been wonderful here – some snow, lots of blue skies, lots of sunshine – but I've been largely confined to indoor areas. You see, February is a midterm month, which means Valentines day, my birthday, and any other sunny day are traditionally spent intimately with textbooks. This long weekend provided a much needed breather and an opportunity to test a recipe that had been brewing at the back of my mind through out all those hours of studying. The recipe involved using a new kitchen equipment that I'd been planning to buy for a while: the potato ricer. I was so excited to try it and finally did yesterday. Let me tell you, it felt so incredibly satisfying to press the pulp out of the potato and watch the potato spaghetti-shaped strands emerge from the bottom. I used it to make a purple sweet potato cheesecake.

The recipe: Steam three small purple potatoes (about 1 lb) until soft. Mash potatoes and 12 oz light, plain cream cheese together in a bowl. Add 3 tbsp brown sugar, 3/4 cup milk (any fat content will do) and 2 egg whites. Using a whisk, gently stir to thoroughly mix all ingredients without adding air. Pour into two 6 inch round cake pans lined with parchment paper on the bottom only. Even out the top and place in the refrigerator (I just covered mine and placed them outdoors) to chill. Meanwhile, to make the base, stir together 2 tablespoons each whole wheat flour, soy flour, and coconut flour with 2/3 cup milk and 2 tbsp melted butter. In a separate bowl, beat an egg white with 1 tablespoon sugar and a pinch of salt to medium peak. Fold egg whites into the flour and milk mixture. Gently pour the base batter on top of the chilled cheesecake batter, being careful to keep the surface of the cheesecake even. Bake in a 250F oven for 1 hour 30 minutes. Top should be golden brown. Let the cheesecakes cool at room temperature before chilling in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Run a thin spatula around the edges of the chilled cake and gently turn it upside down onto a plate. Slice, serve, enjoy!

I used the potato ricer to mash the potatoes and cream cheese. This eliminates the need to bring the cream cheese to room temperature first. I find 3 tablespoons of brown sugar makes the cake sweet enough for my tastes, but if you prefer sweeter, feel free to add more. Baking the crust on top of the cheesecake has many benefits. You don't have to worry about baking in a water bath, excess soufflé, or cracks. It also prevents a soggy crust. Just make sure not to use removable bottom cake tins and remember to line the bottom of the cake pans with parchment!

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