Weekend recipe – sweet potato and blackberry cheesecake

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Did you think that sweet potatoes were only for savoury dishes? Well, think again: this unusual cheesecake shows the versatility of the vegetable.

The recipe has been created by Italian celebrity chef and sweet potato lover Felice Tocchini; the cheesecake has a surprise sweet potato compote in the centre, which is flavoured with aromatic star anise and cardamom. Combined with creamy mascarpone, a crunchy biscuit base and a tangy blackberry puree swirl, this dessert is a delightful reward for rummaging through the hedgerows. With a preparation time of 30 minutes and a cooking time of 40 minutes, it’s reasonably quick to make. If you prefer, you can make miniature versions. Whatever size you decide to make, you can prepare them the day  before you plan to serve them.

cut cheesecakeSweet Potato and Blackberry Cheesecake – Serves 10

  • Sweet potato compote: 2 cardamom pods, 1 star anise, 250g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2cm dice, juice of 1 orange, 1tbsp honey
  • Blackberry purée: 125g blackberries, 2tsp sugar
  • Cheesecake base: 220g oat biscuits, 60g butter, melted, 30g dark chocolate, chopped (optional)
  • Cheesecake filling: 3 eggs, seeds from 1 vanilla pod, 110g sugar, 500g mascarpone cheese, 50g plain flour

Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2 and line a 25cm/8in spring-form cake tin.

To make the sweet potato compote, place the spices in a non-stick pan and warm them up, making sure they don’t burn. Add the sweet potato, cover, shake together and cook for 1 minute. Add half the orange juice and cook, covered, for 1-2 minutes. After 2 minutes add the honey and mix. Transfer to a cold container and cover.

Make the blackberry purée by placing the berries and sugar into a pan with 1tbsp water and cook on a low heat until the berries becomes mushy. Blend to a puree before passing through a fine sieve into a bowl. Set aside.

To make the cheesecake base place the biscuits in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix together with the melted butter and chocolate, if used. Spoon the mixture into the bottom of the prepared cake tin and press down firmly.

Make the cheesecake filling by mixing the eggs, vanilla seeds and sugar together. Add the mascarpone and beat together until well combined. Add the flour and mix.

Remove and discard the spices from the sweet potato. Fold the sweet potato into the cheese mixture. Pour into the cake tin and then drizzle over the blackberry purée.

Bake the cheesecake for 40 minutes, or until the cheesecake is set and lightly golden on top. When cooked, remove from the tin, and leave to cool down before serving.

Find out more about sweet potatoes and how you can use them.

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