This recipe may look long and complicated, but IT IS WORTH IT! The recipe is long because I added a few flavors to the desert, which gave it a few more steps. But try it, as some would say, It’s heaven in a cup like dessert dish thing. Or as I would say. Yum. And it’s really not as hard as it looks, just mix this, crush that and layer it. And Ta-Da you have the perfect cheesecake!
It’s got a graham cracker pecan crust, coconut cheesecake filling and a sweet potato puree to add another delicious layer. Okay, the truth is, the extent of this magnificent perfection was really an accident, we forgot the sweetened condensed milk at the store, so naturally, my mind went to coconut milk, one of the few wonders of canned food.
Coconut. Pecan. Sweet Potato. Cheesecake. In one. and you were going to pass it up…
Tips for buying coconut milk: Coconut’s have lots of fat and their canned milk fat is the creamy thick part, the actual milk is the liquid part. It is said that if you stick the can in the fridge for a few hours or overnight the milk will thicken into mostly fat, that didn’t work for me, but I found a brand of milk that is mostly fat and has little water when you open the can straight out of the pantry. Different brands of coconut milk can give you different amounts of fat in a can. I might open a can from one brand and it doesn’t have any fat, while the most generic (Jewel brand) can has the most fat. The amount of fat in a can for a certain brand seems to be pretty consistent, but a good way to check whether other can is mostly fat is by shaking it while you are at the store to make sure it will work. If you shake the can and you can hear/feel the juice in the can then it means there is less fat, if you can’t feel the liquid inside the can upon shaking, then it is mostly fat.
I must apologize for my ridiculously long speech on coconut milk, I just happen to have a lot to say on the matter. But after skimming though that never-ending speech about the do’s and don’ts of coconut milk that I know you didn’t actually read, I think you deserve a recipe. So here go’s.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (the hardest part of the whole recipe)
3 teaspoons nutmeg
½ cup ground pecans (use a mortar and pestle or food processor for this)
14 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 cups sweet potatoes (I used 2 large sweet potatoes)
1 can fatty coconut milk (see extensive note above)
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (roughly)
1. Put a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight so the coconut fat separates from the milk.
2. Bake the sweet potatoes in advance. Poke forks into the potatoes, giving it holes to breathe and caramelize in the oven. Bake at 400 degrees until sweet potatoes are soft on the inside. About 30 min to an hour. (Don’t be surprised if it takes longer). Let potatoes cool after cooking.
3. In a small bowl, mix together butter, crushed pecans, graham cracker crumbs, and 1 teaspoon nutmeg until moistened. Press crumbs into the container of your choice with the back of a spoon (I gave up and used my hands).
4. Take the refrigerated coconut milk out and dump the fat in a separate bowl. The fat is the thick creamy delicious stuff that is sweet without sweetener. I always eat it (don’t tell!) Take the milky part of the container and put it in a small saucepan with ¼ cup of sugar. Cook this until sugar dissolves. If you take your milk out of the fridge and there is no fat on it, just put the whole can in the saucepan. It will still be delicious!
5. Peel the sweet potatoes after they cool. The skins should come right off if the potatoes have been properly cooked.
6. Puree the sweet potato in a blender or food processor until it is 100% smooth. Take about half of the puree out and set aside (this is for the extra layer of sweet potato in the final product). Add the sweetened coconut milk to the puree in the blender/food processor and combine them.
7. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides when needed.
8. Add in coconut milk sweetened sweet potato puree (Make sure the puree has no lumps) and mix until smooth again. With the mixer on low speed, add the coconut fat and mix and scrape down sides until everything is mixed in. Now add the vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon, and remaining 2 teaspoons nutmeg, beating well.
9. Pour or spoon cheesecake mixture about a quarter of the way up over top of crusts. Add a layer of sweet potato puree making sure you can see it on the outside of the glass for extra beauty and fill the container the rest of the way up with cheesecake filling.
10. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours, then garnish with cinnamon and/or nutmeg and graham crumbs.
Recipe Adapted From How Sweet It Is