Yaki Imo Basque Cheesecakes

These cheesecakes were the brainchild of me having purchased far too many yams and trying to figure out how to get rid of them. I remember fondly eating yaki imo as a child, which are just yams that are roasted on coals, and then served to you, wrapped up in parchment and piping hot. They have this wonderful, smoky, almost caramel-like smell to them, while the interior of the yam is steamed, creamy, and pleasantly sweet. Then I thought about Basque cheesecake. The cheesecake is burnt on top, and it is baked in parchment. I realized quickly that the two could be combined into one, and that I could make something truly original and special here. To make the cheesecake, I had to first roast yams in butter and honey for a while, then cool the yams, peel them, and whip them into the batter. I found the final product to be creamy, smoky, and the yam flavor being on the more delicate side, but still present in the batter. I topped mine with some burnt honey cream and caramelized yam slices to finish.

For the roasted yam:
1 yam, sliced into quarters lengthwise
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons honey
a pinch of salt

Toss the yams in the honey and salt. Place one tablespoon of butter onto each yam sliver and wrap them up in aluminum foil. Place the yams onto a sheet tray and bake them at 325 degrees F for 1 hour. Allow the yams to cool. You’ll need about 3 quarters of the yam for the batter, and the rest can be sliced up and used for the garnish.

For the cheesecake batter:
10 oz roasted yam, skins removed
16 oz cream cheese
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 cup heavy cream

In a bowl, whip your yam with the cream cheese, honey, vanilla, and salt until combined and smooth. Then whisk in your eggs, one at a time. Finally, whisk in the cream. Line 3 4-inch springform pans with parchment paper. Pour the batter between the three pans. Bake at 475 degrees, on the top rack, for 13 minutes, then for another 2 minutes on broil. Throw the cheesecakes into the freezer and allow them to chill down for an hour.

For the honey cream:
2 tablespoons clover honey
2 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
a pinch of salt

Heat up the clover honey until it reaches 300 degrees F. Add to that the cream cheese and take off heat. Stir until combined. Whisk heavy cream with salt to stiff peaks. Fold that into the cooled down cream cheese mixture. Transfer into a piping bag or silicone half sphere molds and chill down.

For the caramelized yams:
reserved quarter of yam
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
black sesame seeds

Slice the yam into 1/4-inch thick pieces. Heat up the butter and honey in a pan until the butter begins to melt. Sear off the yam slices in the pan on medium heat until golden brown on each side, about a minute, and then sprinkle in the black sesame seeds, allowing those to get toasty and stick onto the yam. Place the yam slices on a piece of parchment and allow that to cool down before garnishing the tops of the cheesecakes with the cream and yam slices.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Kayli Jordan says:

    This looks delicious! Basque Cheescake seems to be really trendy right now! This year I have tried lilikoi basque cheesecake and black truffle infused. Yam flavored might be next!

    Liked by 1 person

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