Claudia Teague’s Old #3 Sweet Potato Cheesecake

Claudia Teague's Old #3 Sweet Potato Cheesecake

This sweet potato cheesecake is not a modern invention; rather, it’s built on a rich history. Old #3 Hot-Red Cap ginger ale is made by Blenheim Ginger Ale Company of S.C. It is an old-fashioned ginger ale with a tradition that dates back to the 1800’s.

Ginger Snap Crust
  20 Ginger Snap Cookies
  2 TBSP Butter (melted)
  ½ cup Pecan Pieces

Butter 8” spring form pan. Mix ginger snaps, butter and pecans. Press the crust mixture on the bottom and halfway up the side of the pan. Bake at 325F for 10 minutes and cool while mixing the cheesecake.

Sweet Potatoes
  2 large Sweet Potatoes
  ¼ cup Sugar
  1 TBSP Butter Nut Flavoring
  ½ Bottle Old #3 Blenheim Ginger Ale

Peel, cube and place potatoes in medium pot; add other ingredients. Stir and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until liquid has totally reduced. Cool and puree potatoes while warm. Set aside and cool. Two large potatoes typically yield 2 cups of puree.

Cheesecake
  4 – 8oz.Neufchâtel Cheese
  4 large Eggs
  1 TBSP Vanilla Extract
  ½ tsp Ground Ginger
  2 cups Sweet Potato Puree*
  1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  ½ tsp Ground Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream sugar and cheese until it is smooth. Beat eggs in a separate bowl, add gradually. Continue by adding sweet potato puree, extract and spices. Be careful not to over mix. Pour batter into prepared pan. Set pan on baking sheet and place in oven. Pour water into the baking sheet to create a water bath. Bake at 300 for 90 minutes. Turn off oven and allow cake to cool. Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan. This extra effort keeps the surface from cracking and creates a smooth texture.

Pecan Topping
  4 TBSP Butter
  ¼ cup Corn Syrup
  ½ tsp Cinnamon
  ½ cup Brown Sugar
  1 pinch Salt
  1 ½ cups Toasted Pecans

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Over medium-low heat, add sugar and syrup. Heat until sugar dissolves; stir 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add toasted pecans, cinnamon and salt.

On a cool cheesecake, spread the pecan topping with a spatula. Allow 20 minutes for topping to cool before serving.