So, I realize that a vegan dish is so not typical of me. But, hey, why not mix things up sometimes! Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s off limits to me, or not appealing. Yes, I love me some sugar and dairy, but I am sure my body appreciates a dessert that basically has nothing bad for me in it. No sugar crashes, no feeding that sweet tooth of mine, and no over loading on the calories. Not that I pay attention to any of that, at least not yet! Anyway..
Let’s talk about this “cheesecake”. I do love regular cheesecake, but the rest of my family doesn’t so much, so I almost never make it. My husband doesn’t like cream cheese- I am not sure how we live under the same roof! Ha! I thought this might be a nice meet-in-the-middle sort of thing here. So let me break this dessert down for you. The crust is made up with ground pecans, cocoa powder, a few dates are thrown in for sweetness, almond flour and coconut oil. Incredibly simple! The filling is thick and creamy, thanks to soaked cashews that are ground up, and coconut milk. Some pumpkin puree is thrown in, maple syrup for a little sweetness, pumpkin pie spice, coconut oil, a little molasses and vanilla extract. Cocoa powder is added to one layer, then that is it! How simple is that? And there are no mixers involved- only either a blender or food processor. This does require freezing, so make sure to plan ahead. I always prefer to freeze overnight, because then you are sure not to run into a potential mess. This is also made in an adorable 6-inch pan. Perfect for a small group of people, probably 5-6. Or you could double the recipe and make a larger version. This would be a great alternative to have on the dessert table for people with any gluten or dairy allergies, or those who don’t eat sugar. Or, you can just make this for yourself to dessert on all week as a great, healthy alternative to a regular cheesecake or bowl of ice cream.
Recipe from Bakerita
For the crust
- 1/2 cup raw pecans or almonds
- 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
- 4 dates, pitted
- 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the cheesecake
- 1 2/3 cups raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
- 1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk, shaken
- 1/3 cup pure pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup refined coconut oil, melted and cooled (you can do unrefined, but there will be a coconut flavor)
- 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup, divided
- 1 Tablespoon unsulfured molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
For the topping (optional)
- 1 can (13.6 oz) coconut cream, whipped
- 1/4 cup dark or bittersweet chocolate, melted
- Grease a 6-inch springform pan, or line an 6-inch cake pan with strips of parchment paper for easy removal, and grease well. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor or high powered blender, add the pecans, almond flour, pitted dates, cocoa powder, coconut oil, and salt and blend until it comes together. You want the dough to hold it’s shape when you squeeze it together with your finger tips. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan with your hands or the bottom of a glass.
- Wipe out the food processor or blender, combine all of the filling ingredients except for the cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon maple syrup and blend for about 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture is silky smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides as necessary.
- Pour half of the filling into a medium mixing bowl, leaving the other half in the food processor. Add the cocoa powder and remaining one tablespoon of maple syrup to the other half of the pumpkin mixture, still in the blender. Mix until combined.
- Pour the chocolate filling into the prepared pan over the crust. Smooth out the top and tap the pan against the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
- Spread the remaining pumpkin filling over the chocolate filling and smooth out the top, tapping the pan against the counter again to release air bubbles.
- Place in the freezer to set for at least 4 hours or over night.
- Let thaw at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving. Top with whipped coconut cream and melted chocolate, if desired.
- Store any leftovers, well wrapped, in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
A tip for slicing- run a knife under hot water until the metal is warm. Quickly dry the blade, then slice the cheesecake for smooth, easy cuts.