SWEET POTATO PECAN CHEESE CAKE
WITH CHOCOLATE CRUST

(Happy Holidays -- from the Sweet Potato Cafe)

   
1-1/2 cups toasted pecans, finely 4 tablespoons margarine, melted
  chopped 1 (8”) springform pan
1-1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs, 3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted
   finely crushed 12 pecan halves, toasted for garnish
4 tablespoons granulated sugar      
 

Combine pecans, wafer crumbs and sugar. Stir in margarine until combined. Press mixture over bottom and up sides of a lightly greased 8” springform pan. Set pan in the refrigerator to chill and prepare the Filling (recipe follows). Pour the Filling mixture over the prepared crust and smooth top. Fill a 2-quart baking pan halfway with hot water and place on the bottom oven rack. Place the cake on the middle oven rack and bake at 300 degrees F. (preheated) for 1 hour. Lower the heat to 275 degrees F. and bake for 1 hour longer. Turn the oven off and leave the cake in the oven with the door closed for 30 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Cover cake with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours. To garnish, drizzle chocolate over the top of the cake (or over indivudually cut wedges) in a zig zag pattern and evenly space pecan halves around the edge. Transfer cake to a serving plate and remove sides of springform pan. Slice the cake with a sharp, thin knife, wiping the blade after each cut. Makes 12 servings. Enjoy!

 
Filling
 
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, 1 (15 oz.) can sweet potatoes (not can-
   softened   died), drained, rinsed & mashed smooth
15 oz. whole-milk ricotta cheese 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly 1 tablespoon brandy
  packed   or 1 teaspoon rum extract
5 large eggs, at room temperature 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 

Beat cream cheese and ricotta cheese until smooth and creamy. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Add sweet potatoes, flour, spice, brandy and vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl.