This recipe for gluten free sweet potato cheesecake with praline topping came straight out of my heart. Created in my kitchen with what I had on had, this cheesecake recipe includes both cream cheese and ricotta cheese. An almond crust keeps it light, while the mix of cheeses and traditional pie spices takes the familiar flavors to whole new delectable levels. Yep and yay!!
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Sometimes You Just Gotta Feed Your Body and Your Spirit...
I've been flying under the radar for several weeks now. I was sick at least three times in the past three months, due to unexpected black mold poisoning. And, while I got over my last sickness bout over a week ago, I was still feeling weak and malnourished. So, I took a week to rest and recuperate, and try to get myself back on track for the long haul.
I felt weak in my bones, and tired in my joints. My head ached, and sometimes it even felt like the hairs on my head hurt, too. The smallest amount of physical exertion left me extremely fatigued, and the sleep I was getting was not rejuvenating my body nor renewing my spirit. Nope.
It was time for me to take action. And that action was doing a whole lot of resting. And eating. Lots and lots of eating. Yep. I ate my way through multiple servings of my Cajun smothered green beans with sausage, and Paleo chicken Fricassee. I also ate lots of salads, and pretty much anything else I could put on a plate.
I even baked three times during the week, which is without a doubt the most I have ever baked in my life. Honestly, Mark is the usually the dedicated baker around here, and I generally use the oven to store my small but beloved cast iron cookware collection.
But, the last week was different...the kind of different that I needed it to be in more than one area of my life. As a Christian, I know that God's strength is made perfect in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV), and that I needed to turn my frailties over to Him. Well, my head knows that, but it took a day or two last week for my heart to jump on board with the surrender.
But, once it did, I was gradually able to give it all to Him. And that's when I started to feel better. When I wasn't eating or thinking about what I could eat next, I had my Bible in my hand. I read through book after book of the Word, delighting in soul-shaking truths that came alive to me for the first time, even though I've read the texts before. And I drew massive strength from the promises of God, and the testimonies of the saints of old who had frailties of their own to hand over to the Lord.
Little by little, this almost constant spiritual and physical nourishment help me let go of my blog, my other business endeavors, and honestly everything else that I had to worry about. Hour by hour, and day by day, I literally felt myself grow stronger and stronger. So, I kept feeding my body and my spirit, and 'turning off' the world and all of its nagging issues.
And Then There Was Julie...
I also prayed for others. A lady named Julie came to our church about six weeks ago. She was bearing a body full of cancer, and in deep, deep pain. She turned to the Lord for help. And He called her to our church, and she got saved during counsel with our amazing pastor!! Screaming loud yay!!
Although I missed it during my illness, she also got baptized. She told our pastor that she didn't even want to come up out of the baptismal water, because she was ready to go Home. She passed away six days later, on Saturday, and the sadness that I felt for her family was highly overshadowed by the revelation that hit me like a ton of bricks seconds after I heard the news: It was a privilege for me, and an honor, to see God call, save, and take a saint home to Glory. It was a privilege for our whole church to bear witness to this!! I am humbled and overjoyed!! Yep!!
Like me, but in a totally different way, Julie received the spiritual nourishment that she needed to surrender her frailty to the Lord, and receive the peace that surpasses all understanding in her time of greatest pain. She left this mortal life, but gained an immortal one where she will never, ever be sick or in any kind of pain again!!! I am still sitting here in awe of God's abounding grace to those He saves at the end of their life. I'm so, so happy for her, and I don't think I'll ever forget what I saw and heard God do in her life after she received the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior.
My dad also got sick, which was another strain on me. But, he is recovering, too. And, by Sunday I was feeling strong and well again. I had baked sweet potatoes in the fridge, and I wanted to create something that would help me remember the physical and spiritual healing that I received over the past week. And I wanted to remember what he did for Julie, too, cause it's almost unfathomable. Almost...cause that's how much He truly loves us!! And this great love He gave to me, and to her right in front of my very eyes, called me to remembrance and celebration in the only way I know how. By creating food in my kitchen!! Yep and all kinds of yay....
So, I used my baked sweet potatoes to make this gluten free sweet potato cheesecake with praline topping. But, you could use the super tasty Bruce's Yams if you don't want to bake the sweet potatoes yourself.
This recipe combines a lot of my favorite celebration foods into one crazy yummy dessert, so now it's a keeper for me. I won't make it often, but I will make it again when I or others need it to help nourish our bodies and our spirits.
Patience Please for Gluten Free Sweet Potato Cheesecake With Praline Topping...
As I'm sure you already know, baked cheesecake recipes take a bit of time, so you really have to be in the mood to make this. Even though I was totally in the mood, the cool-down and overnight refrigeration time was almost too much to bear. I kept going into the fridge, and lifting the cover just to adore its gorgeous color and enticing aroma!! But, it was worth it when it was finally over, and I was finally eating bite after 'oh this is sooo good' bite of the gluten free sweet potato cheesecake.
First, you press the almond crust into the bottom of the pan...
Then, you whip up the easy gluten free sweet potato cheesecake filling in your stand mixer or by hand, and pour it over the crust:
Then, you bake it for an hour. (I didn't use the traditional cheesecake water bath, and it turned out great. However, if you like the water bath method, please feel free to do so.) When it's ready to come out of the oven, it looks just like this:
Beautiful, huh??? After it cools down enough to go in the fridge, which for me was about 90 minutes, it needs to set in the refrigerator for at least four hours. But, I let it set it overnight because I wanted to make sure the texture was perfect.
At the end of the wait, you run a pastry knife around the side of the pan to loosen it from the sides of the pan. Then, you release the sides of the pan. If you're serving this to others, you might want to run the knife under the bottom of the pan to loosen the gluten free sweet potato cheesecake from the bottom of the pan.
You don't have to remove the bottom of the pan, though. It's tricky, and you could end up cracking the cake. If you want further information about how to do this correctly, please take a look at this concise and very well done video on Youtube.
Finally, whip up the praline topping in just a few minutes, and then let it cool slightly. Pour it over the gluten free sweet potato cheesecake, and cut and serve it immediately. Or, cover and refrigerate (if you have the willpower.)
I'm happy to share my life and my recipes with you, and I just want to take a minute to thank all of y'all who read and/or follow this blog on social media. It means the world to me. I hope this gluten free sweet potato cheesecake with praline topping lifts your spirits just when you need it to, and that you get to share it with others who love you simply because you are you. And see y'all on the yum side...
- For the Crust
- 2 cups almond flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- For the Sweet Potato Cheesecake Filling
- 2 cups mashed baked sweet potatoes or drained Bruce's Yams
- 8 ounces softened cream cheese
- 8 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 14- ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- For the Praline Topping
- 1 cup pecans
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons melted butter
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix all almond flour crust ingredients in a bowl. Use your hands to incorporate the mixture until it forms a somewhat hard ball shape.
- Press the crust into the bottom of a 9-inch Springform pan.
- Pour all sweet potato cheesecake filling ingredients into a stand mixer. Mix over medium setting for about 3 minutes, or until well-incorporated. Scrape the sides of the mixer, as necessary, throughout processing.
- Pour the cheesecake filling over the almond crust in the Springform pan.
- Bake for 55 minutes, or until the middle of the cheesecake no longer jiggles when you move the pan carefully, and the edges are browned slightly.
- Cool on countertop for at least 90 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
- Run a pastry knife along the edges of the cheesecake to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Release the sides of the Springform pan.
- Run the pastry knife carefully under the cheesecake to release the cake from the bottom of the pan. (This is optional and can crack the cake. Please see blog post for further instructions if you are a newcomer to this step.)
- Combine all of the praline topping ingredients, except for the pecans, in a bowl. Heat the pecans over medium-low heat for about 90 seconds to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Be careful because the pecans will burn quickly if not watched.
- Add the topping mixture to the pecans, and stir for about 15 seconds to incorporate. Remove from heat immediately.
- Let cool for about 5 minutes, then pour the praline topping over the cheesecake.
- Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate.