Sweet Potato Cheesecake and Delegating for Holiday Entertaining
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Delegating for holiday entertaining is essential, so you don’t have to do it all. Make ahead this Sweet Potato Cheesecake for easy entertaining!
Friends, it’s a hard time of year to entertain, with busy schedules, the cost of Christmas, the bling around us that makes entertaining look so do-able, yet when we’re honest about it, it’s actually a lot of work, effort, and energy … and costs a lot of money! Just how do you make it work, when we’re barely hanging on, and already so overwhelmed?
Today I’m sharing a delicious Sweet Potato Cheesecake recipe, perfect for the holidays, and a simple plan for you to host a small dinner party.
Sweet Potato Cheesecake.
My friend Jenny makes this dessert for us ever year, and I’ve made it a few times myself, since it’s one of our all time favorite holiday treats. The recipe orignated in Sunset Magazine in 2008, so that sort of tells you how many years we’ve been enjoying this special holiday treat!
You do need a springform pan, but every kitchen needs a springform pan, right? The method and ingredients are simple, you can make this up ahead of time (up to 3 days!), put it in the fridge, and pull it out when it’s time to serve dessert!
Falling in to busyness.
It’s sad to me, during the most beautiful time of the year, that we fall into busyness. The season becomes more about our schedules, checking things off our lists–sometimes things that we don’t even want to do in the first place, but we feel obligated–and less about creating space in our homes for people to join us for a meal and to celebrate the season!
Every year Christmas looks different for our family, as we do not always host the same people. In fact, we have different families coming together this year who have never met each other. For us, Christmas is about sharing and loving, and even giving the gift of “connection.”
Christmas can also be a very depressing time of year. Richard Rohr says it well, that many depressed people are people who have never taken any risks, never moved outside their comfort zone, never faced necessary suffering, and so their unconsciousness knows that they have never lived—or loved! That to me is so sad!
Which sums up, again, why people need people. True hospitality nearly always costs us something that’s hard to give. Making space for “ otherness” in all of its forms is very costly. Especially when we are barely making it already.
So this is what I want you to do. Think of a few people you want to get to know better, or who you really admire. And this holiday season, invest yourself wholly and deeply in the gift of relationships.
Invite them to dinner, set the table for 5 or 6, and sit down and write out a menu.
How to delegate.
Delegate so you don’t have to do it all. For example, have one guest bring the appetizer, one bring the salad, and one bring bread. Everyone can bring wine, if you’re wine drinkers, or their favorite beverages. (Or, whip up some of these Cranberry Moscow Mules.) You’ll be in charge of the main dish, such as a large pot of Chicken Paprika Thighs, and then this Sweet Potato Cheesecake recipe for dessert. Now that is super easy!
Set the table. Main dish and dessert. Ask questions and get to know the people around your table. Give the gift of love.
Hospitality is …
Hospitality is a form a love, it’s about giving up a little bit of yourself for the sake of relationship.
And we do this trusting act of reaching out, when we may not feel like it, or we’re scared to death, and we take the risk and chance that it will teach us a deeper truth than that thing to which we were holding so tightly.
Do you struggle more with relationships, your schedule, or the cost of entertaining during the Christmas season?
Sweet Potato Cheesecake
- 2 dark orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb. total, such as jewel or red garnet (sometimes sold as yams)
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 3 packages, 8 oz. each cream cheese, regular or light, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- Pecan Crust: 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 1 1/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 5 tablespoons melted butter
- Maple Cream: 3/4 cup whipping cream
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1. Preheat oven to 375° (convection not recommended). Peel sweet potatoes and cut in half lengthwise. Place in a 9- by 13-inch baking pan and brush with melted butter. Bake until potatoes are soft when pressed, 45 to 55 minutes.
- 2. Meanwhile, prepare crust. Bake in same oven with potatoes until lightly browned all over, 10 to 12 minutes.
- 3. Scrape any charred spots off potatoes, then cut potatoes into chunks. Whirl in a food processor or mash in a bowl with lemon juice until smooth. Reserve 1 cup; save any extra for another use.
- 4. Reduce oven temperature to 325°. In a bowl, with a mixer on high speed, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in granulated and brown sugars, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally, until mixture is well blended and smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended. Add reserved sweet potato mixture, the whipping cream, sour cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Mix on low speed until well blended.
- 5. Wrap bottom of cheesecake pan with heavy-duty foil, pressing it up the sides. Pour batter over crust. Put cheesecake pan in a 12- by 15-inch roasting pan at least 2 inches deep. Set pans in oven and pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cheesecake pan.
- 6. Bake until cake barely jiggles in the center when gently shaken, about 55 minutes. Remove pans from oven. Lift cheesecake pan from roasting pan and let cool completely on a rack, about 1 hour, then chill until cold, at least 1 1/2 hours, or up to 3 days (cover once cold).
- 7. Up to 6 hours before serving, cut around inside of pan rim to release cake; remove rim. With a pastry bag, pipe dollops of maple cream onto cake. Or serve maple cream separately, to spoon onto each wedge.
- Pecan Crust: Whirl 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans in a blender until finely ground; you should have 1/4 cup. In a bowl, mix pecans, 1 1/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 5 tablespoons melted butter. Pour into a 9-inch cheesecake pan with removable rim (2 1/4 in. tall). Press mixture evenly over bottom of pan.
- Maple Cream: In a bowl, with a mixer on high speed, beat 3/4 cup whipping cream until stiff peaks form. On low speed, beat in 1/4 cup maple syrup just until blended.
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