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Rootitoot Carrot Cheesecake

Rootitoot Carrot Cheesecake

Welcome, friends. I'm Ruth. (Rootitoot is what my dad called me when I was a little girl.) I'm delighted you could join me here and share my recipes. I'm a Canadian grandma who lives on Vancouver Island on Canada's beautiful west coast. I grew up in Banff National Park in the 50s and 60s, where my mother taught all six of her children how to cook from scratch. My recipes are the real thing; I don't use mixes and I don't take short cuts. But the Instant Pot makes my old-fashioned recipes much faster and easier while preserving the nostalgic taste of yesteryear.

This recipe combines the flavours of my mom's treasured (and, until now, top secret) Carrot Cake with the decadence of my Rootitoot Cheesecake. I wanted to share this with all of you in celebration of Mother's Day to honour my mother and mothers everywhere.

When we weren't chasing squirrels out of our living room or watching bears in our back yard, I was often in the kitchen with my mother learning the chemistry of cooking. She was a wonderful teacher and not only showed me how to put things together but explained the science behind her methods. Knowing how ingredients work together made it easy to understand the science behind her delicious recipes.

I try to carry that on by teaching my children and now my grandchildren the things she taught me. And now, I share the same information with you, along with the recipes that I developed following her insight.

I hope you enjoy this Carrot Cheesecake with your own family this Mother's Day. Maybe you'll stay a while and enjoy some of my other old-fashioned recipes. Who knows? You might learn how to Cook Like a Grandma.

Ingredients:

Crust:
1 1/4 cups crumbs, any combination of gingersnap, graham cracker, walnuts/pecan or coconut
3 1/2 Tbsp melted butter

Filling:
2 - 8 oz pkg cream cheese
3 Tbsp raisins or dried currants
1/2 cup very finely grated carrots (see **Carrots, below)
1/4 cup crushed pineapple, well drained
3/4 cup brown or white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamom (optional)
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
3 Tbsp chopped walnuts or pecans
3 Tbsp coconut

Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 oz cream cheese
2 Tbsp butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (icing sugar)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Directions:

The listed cook time is for a 7” cheesecake pan. For 6” and 8” pans, see the PAN SIZE AND COOK TIMES chart below. The chart also includes the cook time for 1 1/2 or 2 times the recipe.

If making 1 1/2 times or double the recipe, do not increase the amount of crust or frosting. Only the filling amount increases.

* Carrots: Use a microplane or a food processor to produce very finely shredded carrot for even cooking.

* Important: Warm the cream cheese. Trust me on this. It's much easier to blend if it's warmer than room temperature. It only takes a few minutes instead of hours on the counter. Put the wrapped cream cheese in a ziplock bag, but don't seal it. Push it into a sink or bowl full of hot tap water to force the air out. Seal the ziplock and weight it down with a plate for about 15 minutes.

Spray the cheesecake pan with a baking spray like Pam. Lining the bottom or sides with parchment is not necessary. The cheesecake will come off the bottom of the pan easily if you use my hot towel trick. After the cheesecake is chilled, remove the outer ring. Fold a tea towel in four, run it under hot tap water and wring it out. Place the cheesecake on the hot towel for 30 seconds. That will soften the butter in the crust and the cheesecake will release from the pan easily.

CRUST:

Mix ingredients with a fork and gently press them into the bottom of the pan and up the sides a bit if you like. Do not press the crumbs down too firmly. It’s much easier to slice and serve if you use a gentle touch. Put it in the fridge or freezer while you make the filling or, if you prefer, bake it at 350 degrees for 9 minutes, then cool completely.

FILLING:

Plump the raisins by soaking them in a bowl of hot water for 5-10 minutes.

Use a microplane, a very fine grater or a food processor to shred the carrots.

Drain the crushed pineapple thoroughly.

Blend the warmed cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom until completely smooth.  Add the eggs and yolk and mix just until incorporated. Important: do not overbeat once the eggs are in. That can cause expansion during the cooking which results in cracking on the surface.  (If cracking does occur, don’t fret. It will be covered by the frosting and no one will notice.)

Drain the plumped raisins well. Stir them in by hand along with the carrot, pineapple, nuts and coconut.

Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Leave 1/2 inch at the top of the pan. This cheesecake expands a little as it cooks and then settles down after it cools for a few minutes.

No need to cover it but if you do, simply lay a sheet of parchment over the top.

Put 1 cup water in a 3 or 6-quart Instant Pot, 1 1/2 cups in an 8-quart IP. Place the cheesecake on the trivet and lower it into the pot. Close the lid and set the valve to Sealing.

Press Pressure Cook (or Manual) and use the + and – buttons to get to 33 minutes for a 7-inch pan. Other pan sizes and filling amounts below:

PAN SIZE AND COOK TIMES:

6-inch pan --- 36 minutes

7-inch pan --- 33 minutes

8-inch pan --- 30 minutes

4-inch pans or Individual ramekins or mason jars --- 12 minutes

For 1 1/2 times the filling:

7-inch pan --- 36 minutes

8-inch pan --- 33 minutes

For 2 times the filling:

8-inch pan --- 37 minutes

When it beeps that it's done, leave it for a 15-minute natural release. Then flip the valve to Venting for a quick release. When the pin drops, take out the cheesecake.

It may appear jiggly in the middle. That's okay. It will firm up as it chills. It may have some condensation on the surface. If so, gently blot it with paper towels.

Let it cool on the counter for an hour. It will settle down and flatten out. Then cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours, preferably overnight, before finishing it with the cream cheese frosting.

FROSTING:

Beat the cream cheese and butter until thoroughly combined. Add the powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla and beat until smooth. If you like it a little thicker, add more powdered sugar. Spread over the chilled cheesecake after it has been removed from the pan.

Optional: Spread a thin layer of the frosting over the sides of the chilled cheesecake and press chopped pecans or walnuts into it. Spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sprinkle with a cinnamon and sugar mixture.

*Like how I write recipes? The Rootitoot Cookbook - A Grandma’s Recipes for your Instant Pot contains 130 more and helpful tips for Instant Pot novices.

Join my fun and friendly Facebook Group: Rootitoot Instant Pot Recipes & Help. I give personal help and have fun with the members.