Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sweet Potato Cheesecake


I was going to wait and post this recipe closer to Christmas but after I got SO MANY requests, how could I resist?  Especially since this recipe has been a long time in the making.  Now I know there are tons of ways to make cheesecake and lots of options for ingredients but this is the recipe for you if:
  • If you like your cheesecake melt-in-your-mouth creamy.  
  • You're patient. (there's a 90 minute baking time and 24 hour chill time)
  • You want to incorporate your favorite holiday flavors like cinnamon and nutmeg into your cheesecake.
Having said that, if you're still interested in making this cheesecake, here are a couple of tips:
  1. Like with any cake, you should make sure all your ingredients are room temperature.  Take out your ingredients, including the eggs, 1-2 hours before you plan to bake.
  2. This cheesecake is best when allowed to set overnight, which is why I said it's for the patient cook.  For the best results, make it the day before you want to serve it.
  3. Sweet potatoes are called sweet because...they are! But some are sweeter than others.  I used 1 and a 1/2 cups sugar in this cake because my sweet potatoes weren't that sweet, but if you find those great, dark, super sweet ones, reduce to 1 cup of sugar.
  4. You will need special cooking tools to make this cheesecake.  These include: a spring form pan, a food processor, and a large standing mixer.
Ok I think that's it!  I have shared everything you need to know to make this recipe a success.  Enjoy!

6-10 Graham Cracker Squares, crushed
1/2 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
1 tablespoon Light Brown Sugar

2 Eggs
3 Egg Yolks
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1/3 cup Heavy Cream
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/8 teaspoon Ground Allspice
20 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1/3 cup Sour Cream
1 ½ cups Light Brown Sugar
2 cups Sweet Potato Puree (See recipe below)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine crushed graham crackers, melted butter, and sugar. Press the mixture into the bottom of a spring form pan; pushing some along the sides as well.  Bake crust for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the crust to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees.

In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, yolks, vanilla, heavy cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice.  Set mixture aside.  Then, in a large mixer with a paddle attachment, beat sour cream, at medium speed, for 1 minute, then add in cream cheese, brown sugar and finally add the sweet potato puree.  Once everything has combined, gradually add in the egg mixture in 2-3 batches, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl before each batch.  Once, everything has combined, stop the mixer.  Pour batter over the graham cracker crust. 

Place the cheesecake in the middle of a large roasting pan.  Pour boiling water (about a tea kettle full) into the roasting pan around the cheesecake to create a steam bath (this promotes even cooking).  Bake cheesecake for 90 minutes and allow it to cool.  Once cheesecake is room temperature, transfer to the refrigerator and allow to chill overnight.  Gently remove from the spring form pan and serve.

Sweet Potato Puree

Ingredients: (makes 2-3 cups depending on size of sweet potatoes)
2-3 Large Sweet Potatoes
1 tablespoon Olive or Vegetable Oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet, rub the skin with oil and roast in the oven until softened (about 60-75 minutes).  Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, peel skin off the sweet potatoes and put the flesh into a food processor.  Puree for 2-3 minutes and empty into a bowl.

Puree can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Maryland Crab Soup

It's been a bit since my last blog post, but I promise haven't been slacking!  In fact, I have written what I think is one of my best soup recipes and if you've been following this blog for a bit, then you know I've written ALOT of soup recipes.  But this one for Maryland Crab Soup will go down as one of my favorites.

In fact, I was so excited about this soup that before I posted it on my blog, I decided to send it to my editor at  Well, it's been posted on the site since November 5th, and besides the recipe being easy, healthy, and delicious, I also pay homage to my home state in my introduction.  So please click the link below to hop on over to to check it out!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Apple Brown Betty

Last night, I got the opportunity to cook live on my very first cooking show.  I was invited by Chef James Robinson who hosts an online cooking show every Wednesday at 9pm.  Yesterday, he had me on as his guest and I was asked to make a dessert that would compliment his Halloween inspired dinner.  I figured that I could have racked my brain to think of some kind of spooky dessert or I could keep it simple and classic and make Apple Brown Betty, a dish that I would venture to say was my Grandpa's signature dessert.  Plus, apples are in season so this dessert may not be a typical Halloween dish but it's definitely perfect for fall.

Well, as it turned out the cooking show was the best environment for me to revive this recipe because we had an audience of about 15 people.  The Chef and I gave out all of the Apple Brown Betty that I made and everyone said that they liked it!  I even had one woman tell me she was thinking about making it for Thanksgiving.  Smart lady don't you think? ;-)

So I have copied and pasted my Grandpa's recipe below for those of you who are interested in trying this dish.  This is how I remember him making it, except I substituted graham cracker crumbs for bread crumbs.  I spotted some cinnamon graham crackers at the store and I thought they would compliment the cinnamon that I mix with the apples, but Grandpa always had plain breadcrumbs on hand so he would use those.

Anyway, I hope you all make it this fall while apples are plentiful and therefore cheap! And hopefully I will be able to update this with the video of the show soon!

 Ingredients: (Makes 5-6 servings)

1/2 Stick Melted Butter, divided
1 cup Graham Cracker Crumbs (approx. 6 graham crackers, ground) OR Plain Bread Crumbs
7-8 Medium Sized Apples, peeled, core removed, and diced
Juice of 1 Lemon
3/4 cup Raisins or Dried Cranberries
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp Nutmeg
¼ tsp Ground Cloves
½ tsp Salt


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease the bottom and sides of a medium sized, glass-baking dish using about ½ of the melted butter.  Then, in a small bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs or breadcrumbs with the remaining melted butter, until is becomes the consistency of wet sand, and set aside.

Add peeled and diced apples to a mixing bowl and add lemon juice and raisins and stir to combine.  (The lemon juice keeps the apples from browning so you may want to add it right after you dice the apples).  Next add the vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt and stir again to combine.  If mixture seems a little dry, feel free to stir in more lemon juice.

Next sprinkle 1/3 of the cracker mixture on the bottom of the dish and pour half of the apple mixture on top.  Sprinkle some more of the cracker mixture over the apples, then add the remaining apples and sprinkle the remaining third of the cracker mixture on top.  Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes.  Then remove the foil, increase the oven temperature to 425 and allow to bake for another 15 minutes or until the top begins to brown and the apple brown betty is bubbling. (If you notice that the top is not browning, you could switch the oven to low broil for the last 3-4 minutes.)

Remove from the oven and allow to stand for at least 10 minutes.  Serve the Apple Brown Betty warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.