Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

The second in a double bill of healthy, vegan recipes. Complete with seasonal relevance…

After a main course, comes dessert. In the form of a delicious vegan, gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake. Perfect for the autumn season, and even for something to make after your Jack O’Lantern.

Ingredients

CRUST

  • 130g packed medjool dates, pitted (if you not fun of sweet I would recommend a bit less than cup)
  • 180g raw walnuts
  • A pinch of sea salt

FILLING

  • 180g raw cashews (soaked overnight)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 tbsp light or full-fat coconut milk (or alternatively unsweetened almond milk)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (or alternatively melted coconut oil, though it will add coconut flavor)
  • 120ml Grade A Maple Syrup or light Agave Nectar
  • 63g pumpkin purée
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

TO SERVE

  • Coconut whipped cream
  • Walnuts

Makes 8 servings

Soaking time: at least 8 hours or overnight

Preparation time: 30-40 minutes

METHOD

  1. Soak cashews overnight. Then drain thoroughly and set aside.
  2. In the meantime, add dates to a blender and blend until small bits remain, or it forms a ball. Remove and set aside. Add walnuts and salt to blender and process into a meal. Then add dates back in and blend until a loose dough forms – it should stick together when you squeeze a bit between your fingers. If too crumbly, add a few more dates. If too sticky, add more crushed walnuts. Set aside.
  3. If using a springform tin, line with parchment paper. If using ramequins or muffin tins, cut parchment paper into circles the size of the base of your ramequins or muffin tins. Also, cut out two long strips of parchment paper per ramequin and lay them in an “X” shape at the base. Top with circle shape. This creates little tabs that make removing the cheesecakes easier to pop out once set. (For muffin tins, you can also just use cupcake liners).
  4. Divide crust evenly among ramequins or tins (or springform tin), and press down with fingers to evenly distribute. Use a small glass wrapped in parchment paper, or the back of a spoon, to press down firmly, allowing some crust to come up the sides. Set in freezer.
  5. Once cashews are soaked and drained, add to blender with remaining filling ingredients and puree until very smooth – for 2-3 minutes. If it has trouble blending add a touch more coconut milk (or almond milk). Taste and adjust flavor/sweetness as needed.
  6. Divide filling evenly among the ramequins or tins (or pour into a parchment-lined springform tin). Tap a few times to release any air bubbles, then cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze until firm – about 4-6 hours, depending on size of dish.
  7. Once set, run a butter knife along the edge and gently remove by tugging on the tabs in an upward motion. They should pop right out. If they aren’t quite set, pop them back in the freezer until firm. If using a springform tin, simply pop open and remove cheesecake.Serve with a touch of coconut whipped cream and brown sugar pecans (optional).
  8. Store leftovers in the freezer for 7-10 days, though best when enjoyed within the first 3-4 days. Let thaw at room temperature 15-20 minutes before serving for best texture.
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