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Sweet Potato Cheesecake with Marshmallow Meringue

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Vibrant orange sweet potatoes create a beautiful contrast to the dramatic marshmallow meringue topping in this unique cheesecake, which is perfect for a Thanksgiving feast. You can bake the cheesecake a day in advance, then refrigerate until ready to add the meringue. For a quicker finish, replace the meringue topping with sweetened whipped cream and skip the torch.

Sweet Potato Cheesecake with Marshmallow Meringue

For the crust:

1 1/8 cups (155 g) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (60 g) ground pecans

3 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar

8 Tbs. (1 stick/125g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

 

For the filling:

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp. allspice

1/4 tsp. salt

1 lb. (500 g) cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup (170 g) firmly packed light brown sugar

1 cup (250 g) roasted and pureed sweet potatoes

1 Tbs. vanilla extract

4 eggs

 

For the marshmallow topping:

3/4 cup (200 g) egg whites

1 cup (170 g) firmly packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup (85 g) sorghum syrup or light agave nectar

Seeds of 1 vanilla bean

 

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).

 

To make the crust, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the flour, pecans, brown sugar and butter on low speed until combined, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Press the crust into the bottom of a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan. Bake until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce the oven to 300°F (150°C).

 

To make the filling, in a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sweet potato puree, vanilla and spice mixture and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

 

Wrap a double layer of aluminum foil around the bottom and sides of the springform pan. Add the filling and smooth the top. Place in the center of a roasting pan. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm but jiggles slightly in the center, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool in the water bath before topping with the meringue. The cheesecake can be refrigerated overnight.

 

To make the meringue, in a saucepan, bring 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water to a simmer. Place the egg whites, brown sugar, sorghum syrup and vanilla bean seeds in an electric mixer bowl and set over but not touching the simmering water. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot, about 2 minutes. Place the bowl on the mixer and beat with the whisk attachment on high speed until the meringue cools to room temperature and stiff peaks form, 5 to 6 minutes.

 

Lightly pat the cheesecake with a paper towel to remove moisture. Mound the meringue on top, using a pastry spatula to spread it to the edges. Using a spoon, create mountains of meringue around the surface. Lightly brown with a kitchen torch. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 6 hours. Serves 8 to 12.

 

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3 Healthy After-School Snacks You Kids Will Look Forward to Making (and Eating!)

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It’s inevitable that after a long day, kids will head straight to the kitchen looking for something to eat. Here are three after-school snacks that are easy, healthy, and satisfying. Bonus: they’re fun to make for parents and children alike!

 

Parmesan Popcorn

If your kids will be running out the door, have a zip-locked bag nearby and fill with as much popcorn as possible.

4 cups popped popcorn

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

Place the popcorn in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil until lightly coated. Sprinkle with the cheese and toss gently until it is evenly distributed. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 4 cups.

 

Popsicles

 

Frozen Fruit and Yogurt Pops

Make this recipe your own by substituting kids’ favorite fruit juice and adding fruit such as chopped cherries, bananas or peaches.

 

2 cups cranberry/raspberry juice

1 cup strawberry yogurt

1/2 cup strawberries, cleaned, hulled and chopped

 

In a bowl, combine the juice, yogurt and strawberries and stir until completely blended. Pour the mixture into 6 pop molds, insert the sticks, cover and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Makes 6 pops.

 

Fruit Kebabs

 

Fresh Fruit Kabobs with Marshmallow Dip

Kids love to thread their own fruit kabobs. If you have small cookie cutters in the shapes of stars, hearts or flowers, keep them on hand for the kids to make fun shapes before threading the fruit onto the skewers.

 

 

 

1/4 cup strawberries cleaned, hulled and sliced in half

1/4 cup pineapple cubes

1/4 cup grapes

1/4 cup watermelon cubes

Marshmallow dip for serving (see recipe below)

 

Thread the fruit onto 6 skewers (you can use any combination of fruit). Serve with marshmallow dip. Makes 6 skewers.

 

Marshmallow Dip

 

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese at room temperature

1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow fluff

 

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and marshmallow fluff. Stir until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Makes 2 cups.