(Inspired from Chef Jeff Henderson's recipe) My mom makes a bangin' chipotle sweet potato dish every Thanksgiving. I found a recipe for a sweet potato cheesecake and tweaked it to my liking. I don't like desserts to be too sweet; When I staged at Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, WA, Chef Holly Smith taught me not to be afraid of salt when baking. Now, I almost always add a little more salt to baked goods than recipes say to. And the chipotle here is a subtle flavor boost. —Kate on the Lake
In a food processor, combine grahams, pecans, salt, and butter until moistened. Press down evenly on the bottom of your 9" springform pan.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove and cool while preparing your fillings.
Sweet Potato Pie Filling & Cheesecake Filling
After you roast your sweet potatoes until soft, peel them, puree them, and let them cool. Mix in the eggs, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons softened butter, chipotle powder, 4 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, and the 1/2 tsp fine sea salt. Once incorporated, add the milk. Set aside and now make your cheesecake filling.
In your clean food processor, puree the soft cream cheese. While running, crack in your 3 eggs. Add your sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg, a dash of fine sea salt, and the lemon juice. Let run a couple minutes. Taste for lemon juice and sweetness. Add salt, sugar, or more lemon juice to taste.
Pour in 1/3 your cheesecake filling into your springform pan. Dollop half the sweet potato pie filling in three big drops around. Pour on another third of the cheesecake to cover. Dollop with more sweet potato filling. (I ended up not using all the pumpkin filling). Cover with the rest of your cheesecake filling.
With a knife or a wooden skewer, make swirls in the batter to create the marbled effect when you cut into it later. Careful not to hit the bottom and drag the crust around.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in a 325 degree oven with sheet tray half-filled with water underneath the rack your cheesecake is set on. (This will keep the crust from burning). Alternatively, you can bake it in a waterbath, but that's really a pain in the ass and the pan of water works fine :)
When the center is just set, remove the cake and let it cool on the counter for 30 minutes. Refrigerate until totally chilled--at least 2 hours.
For a fancy and quick garnish, get a block of semi-sweet chocolate, set it on a cutting board, and get a big knife. Starting at the top of the block, drag your knife toward you, angled away from you, with quite a bit of pressure. This gives you little curls of chocolate. Pile these in the middle of the cake.
Great paired with Double Chocolate Stout in the glass.