Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Sweet Potato Cheesecake
OK, I admit it, I've gained weight since I started blogging. I am so kicking myself because I had lost weight before I started. I was just about where I wanted to be, weight-wise, before my latest obsession raised its calorie-laden head.
Confessions of a yo-yo dieter.
I'm starting to wonder if it's in a women's genes to have food issues. If we're heavy, we're trying to lose weight, or if we're not trying, then we're feeling bad about ourselves. If we're losing weight, it's like a campaign, a war to be fought and won. An enemy to conquer. If we're at the weight we want to be, it's a constant vigilance to maintain. And like a candle in the wind, it can be gone in an instant. Yesterday I was fine, today I am fat.
Here's my question of the day... do you have food issues? Are you happy with your weight? Have you gained weight since you started blogging? Do guys have these issues?
Speaking of gaining weight (cough, cough) how about a slice of Sweet Potato Cheesecake? *insert cheesy smile* (I know, I know, it makes no sense to be crying about gaining weight and then talking about cheesecake. No sense at all.)
I ran across this recipe at 4 Reluctant Entertainers, a fantastic website with so many mouth-watering recipes. (Click on the link for the recipe.)
This was a luscious, creamy cheesecake. More subdued than pumpkin cheesecake, but still delicious and spicy. I served this at our Thanksgiving get-together and asked guests if they could figure out the "mystery ingredient". Everyone said pumpkin.
While I'm on the subject of cheesecake, I wanted to share one of my favorite cheesecake tips, since I've baked more than a few in my day. (I know, I'm all over the place tonight.)
Here's the deal, you don't have to bake your cheesecake in a spring-form pan, which is shocking to hear, I know. Every recipe you've ever read includes a spring-form pan, but I'm here to tell you it's not required. I never use them anymore. I always use my 2" deep cake pans. Well, except for one time I went way out on a limb and used a Wilton character pan. (FYI, I brushed it liberally with melted butter and then coated that with sugar before adding the batter to the pan.)
One really nice thing about using regular pans is that you can totally dispense with that whole "wrapping the bottom of the pan in aluminum foil" business, if you feel the need to use a water bath. In addition, you can use any size pan you want, which is helpful when you're reducing recipes, and you don't have to mess around with the bottom of the spring-form pan at serving time.
So anyway, here's what you do... line your cake pan with a piece of parchment paper cut to the size of your pan and bake your cheesecake just like you normally would. Cheesecake usually puffs up a little, but then shrinks back down, so you can fill your pan almost to the top. Cool, refrigerate overnight.
Here's Mr. Cheesecake, ready to be freed from the pan. (Please ignore that big cheesecake fart on the top.) Run your knife around the edge of the cheesecake.
Fill your sink, or a large bowl, with hot tap water (don't use boiling water, it's too hot and will melt the cheesecake) and dip the bottom inch of the pan in it. Count to 10 or 15.
Remove the pan from the water and dry the bottom of the pan.
Lay a piece of wax paper over your cheesecake.
Then a cutting board.
Place your hands on top of the cutting board and under the pan, and flip the whole thing over.
OK, people, this is the part that might be scary, but just trust me on this. Pick up the pan and cutting board and give it a good whack on the counter. Cheesecake out yet? No? Repeat a few more times. If Mr. Cheesecake is still in the pan, it's time to show him who's boss. Pick up the pan by itself, still upside down, and give it a good healthy whack on the cutting board. If that doesn't work, go back and warm up the pan bottom a bit longer and repeat the steps.
It's not as intimidating as it sounds. I've never had a cheesecake stick to the pan.
Here he is... free! (That's the bottom, in case you wondered.) Now go get your serving plate, place it upside down on the bottom and flip it over.
So there you go, you're no longer a slave to your spring-form pan.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, I have been cutting back on the amount of sweets that pass my lips. I've been halving, and sometimes even quartering, recipes, sharing with neighbors, and (gasp!) even throwing away some of the leftovers, especially with those recipes that are only marginal.