Butternut Cheesecake

Butternut cheesecake

This recipe was born from one for pumpkin cheesecake given to me a while ago. I’d been wanting to try it for ages and decided that dessert for a Sunday lunch with friends and family was the perfect opportunity.

The copy I have is a photocopy and looks like it originally came from a magazine as part of a Celebrity Bake Stars feature, with this particular recipe contributed by Liezel van der Westhuizen. I adapted it by using butternut instead of pumpkin, reducing the sugar all round and replacing some of the cream cheese with yoghurt. I also added the glacé ginger and lemon peel.

The vodka-soaked lemon peel was a last-minute inspiration, since I had some left over from when I made limoncello a while back (I’ll post that recipe soon, now that lemons are starting to come back into season here in South Africa). I actually served the lemon peel in a small bowl on the side as I wasn’t sure everyone would like it, but as it turned out, I needn’t have worried. It really took the cheesecake to the next level, if I say so myself!

The ginger and lemon peel could also go directly into the cheesecake, by the way, instead of on top.

To finish it off, I found some small purple flowers in the garden which, added to the glace ginger, looked lovely. How pretty is this cheesecake?!

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Ingredients

  • 1 packet ginger biscuits
  • 2-3T butter
  • ±3 thick slices of butternut, peeled and steamed
  • 200g cream cheese or creamed cottage cheese
  • ½c Greek yoghurt
  • 1t vanilla essence
  • ¾c sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1t ground cinnamon
  • ¼t allspice
  • ¼t ground nutmeg

To decorate

  • ±175ml fresh cream
  • ±1T glacé ginger (optional)
  • ±1T vodka-soaked lemon peel (optional)
  • Flowers (optional)

Method

Prepare the butternut and steam it if you haven’t already.

Steamed butternut

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a loose-bottomed pan well with butter.

Grease a loose-bottomed pan

Put the rest of the butter on the stove to melt on low heat.

Melt the butter

Grind the biscuits quite fine. You can do this either in a grinder, a few at a time if necessary, or put the biscuits inside two layers of plastic bags (because one often breaks), squeeze out the air and tie the end, and then roll over the biscuits with a rolling pin or empty bottle. The biscuits probably won’t end up as fine, but it works pretty well.

Ginger biscuits in grinder

Ground ginger biscuits

Place the biscuits in a bowl and pour in the melted butter.

Add melted butter to ground biscuits

Mix up well until you have a mixture that looks something like moist breadcrumbs.

Biscuits crumbs and butter mixed

Press this into the loose-bottomed pan and smooth the surface.

Place crumbs in the pan

Smooth the surface of the crumb mixture

Bake for 10 minutes to harden slightly.

Slightly-baked crumb base

In the meantime, prepare your filling. Blend or mash the steamed butternut until it’s quite smooth. You should end up with about 1 cup of mushed butternut.

Steamed butternut in grinder

Pureed butternut

Place the butternut purée in a bowl with the cream cheese, yoghurt, sugar and vanilla essence.

Butternut, cream cheese, yoghurt, sugar and vanilla

Beat until the mix is smooth and well mixed.

Beaten butternut mix

Add the eggs, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg, and beat again until well mixed.

Add eggs and spices

Final mixture

Now taste and add a bit more of the cinnamon or other spices if you like.

Pour this mixture over the slightly-baked biscuit base.

Pour mix over biscuit base

Bake for 45 minutes then check to see how it’s doing. If it’s not quite ready, keep checking every 5 minutes after that (don’t worry about disturbing rising, since cheesecake doesn’t stay risen anyway). Mine took just over 1 hour.

The centre should be just set, so a fork or sharp knife comes out cleanly. It will continue to cook once you take it out, so don’t leave it much past that point.

Cooked cheesecake

Let it cool completely then refrigerate.

When you’re ready to serve, finely chop the glacé ginger and lemon peel if you’re using it.

Chop glace ginger

Chop vodka-soaked lemon peel

Beat the cream and spread it over the surface of the cheesecake.

Beat cream

Decorate with the ginger and/or lemon peel (or serve both or either on the side).

Decorated cheesecake

Inside the butternut cheesecake

It’s unlikely to last that long, but it should keep a couple of days if you don’t finish it in one shot!

 

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© Alexandra Lawrence and Inspired Nourishment, 2016

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