Meet your new favorite dessert recipe: An easy cheesecake that looks gorgeously fancy. It’s deliciously decadent, too, thanks to the clever combination of just-enough sweet potato, ample cream cheese, and a brown butter-based graham cracker crust. It hits all the nostalgia elements, while also feeling elevated enough for the most special occasions. (Yet it only requires 20 minutes of active time—a win!) Roasting the sweet potato not only adds a caramelized sugary element to the filling, its natural sweetness allows this recipe to be lower in refined sugar than many other cheesecakes. Don't fret, save time and microwave the sweet potato, if needed.

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Victor Protasio

Recipe Summary

hands-on:
20 mins
total:
4 hrs 25 mins
Servings:
8
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Place sweet potato on a rimmed baking sheet; poke all over with a fork. Bake until tender when pierced with a fork, 40 to 45 minutes. Alternatively, microwave in a microwave-safe bowl on high until tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop flesh into a bowl; discard skin. Mash until smooth (you should have about 1 cup); set aside.

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  • Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate with butter. Set aside a small heatproof bowl. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium, swirling pan occasionally, until butter is lightly browned and smells nutty, 4 to 5 minutes. Immediately transfer to small bowl, scraping out all of butter with a rubber spatula. Let cool for 10 minutes.

  • Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until coarse crumbs form, 15 to 20 pulses. (You should have about 2½ cups.) Add cooled brown butter, salt, and 3 tablespoons sugar; process until fine crumbs form, about 15 seconds. Using your fingers, press mixture into bottom and up sides of prepared pie plate, making crust thicker on bottom than sides. Using bottom of a measuring cup, tightly pack crust in plate. Bake until crust is set and slightly darkened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

  • Meanwhile, beat cream cheese with vanilla bean seeds or extract in a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add remaining 5 tablespoons sugar; beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well combined. Add mashed potato, beating until incorporated, about 1 minute.

  • Pour filling into crust, smoothing top. Bake at 325°F until cheesecake is puffed and center jiggles only slightly, 28 to 30 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for about 1 hour. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for at least 90 minutes. Drizzle with caramel sauce just before serving.

Tips

Prepare cheesecake up to 1 day in advance. Cover and chill.