Sweet potato cheesecake with meringue and caramelised walnuts
This recipe takes a classic Thanksgiving side dish and creates a dessert that everyone will want a slice of. With sweet and nutty caramelised California walnuts and a cinnamon spiced cheesecake filling, this dessert will be a family favourite.
Preparation time: 80 mins
For the base
100g butter, melted
200g digestive biscuits
1 tsp ground cinnamon
For the filling
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp grated fresh nutmeg
1⁄4 tsp ground cloves
A pinch of salt
375g cream cheese, room temperature
150g brown sugar
200g sweet potatoes, roasted and pureed
1 tbsp vanilla extract
For the meringue
200g egg whites
170g brown sugar
For the caramelised walnuts
1⁄4 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 150C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and place to one side. Place the California walnuts, sugar, butter and cinnamon into a preheated medium non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring continuously, until the California walnuts are coated with the melted sugar mix, then immediately transfer to the baking tray to cool.
Next, finely crush the biscuits and place to one side. In a bowl, mix the melted butter and cinnamon, then mix well with the crushed biscuits. Transfer the mix into a loose-based round tin, firmly pressing the mixture into the bottom of the tin, then place into the fridge to set.
To make the filling, combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt in a small bowl and set to one side. Using an electric whisk, mix the cream cheese and brown sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Add the sweet potatoes, vanilla and spice mixture, and whisk again until smooth. Next, add the eggs one at a time whilst whisking.
Take the cheesecake base out of the fridge, pour in the sweet potato filling and bake for around 50 minutes. Leave to cool completely. Place the sugar into a preheated saucepan and heat until it reaches 100C. Using an electric whisk, mix the egg whites and when they begin to stiffen into soft peaks add a little of the heated sugar. Continue whisking, adding the remaining sugar a little at a time, at high speed until the meringue is smooth and firm and has cooled down (for around 10 minutes).
Remove the baked cheesecake from the fridge and dry the surface with some kitchen roll to remove any moisture. Place a layer of the caramelised California walnuts on top of the cheesecake (reserving a few for decoration).
Place the meringue mix on top of the cheesecake and spread it evenly over the surface, using a spoon to form peaks. Use a kitchen blow torch to lightly brown the meringue. Decorate with the remaining caramelised California walnuts to serve.
Recipe from California Walnuts (californiawalnuts.uk)