The pumpkin filling from your Jack-o-Lantern won’t be flavorful enough for this decadent, free-from cake. Seek out those little sugar pie pumpkins, which are also abundant this time of year (and look darn cute as Halloween and Thanksgiving décor until you need to use them). They are perfect for this recipe, and nothing beats fresh pumpkin. Of course, if you are in a pinch, you can substitute canned pumpkin. Ali Segersten ~ If you are looking for a great alternative to traditional cheesecake for your Holiday celebrations, I’ve got one for you. A dairy-free, egg-free cheesecake with a gluten-free pastry crust….and the filling? Well, fresh baked sugar pie pumpkin to start, then cashews, and maple syrup….but what else? Hint: it is also soy-free! I got the idea for this “cheesecake” from the Lemon Teascake recipe in our cookbook, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. Though that original recipe came from the vegan, gourmet Café Ambrosia restaurant in Seattle. It was such a lovely restaurant but is no longer in business. My husband and I dined there only a few times as it was a little pricey for our student budget back then, but their amazing food was worth every penny!
You’ll need a 9-inch spring form pan for this recipe, which can be found at most kitchen stores, or here online from Amazon. I bought mine from a local kitchen shop. I don’t use non-stick bakeware, but you can if desired. Pumpkin “Cheesecake” Serve this wholesome, gluten-free dessert at your next holiday celebration. Warm up a fresh cranberry sauce just before serving for guests to spoon over their slices. Be sure to keep the cheesecake covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This recipe can be made up to a day ahead of time. Crust:
- 1 cup superfine sorghum flour
- 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
- 1/2 cup pecans, finely ground
- 1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil (room temp)
- 5 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/2 cup millet
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup cooked, mashed sugar pie pumpkin
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. Start by cooking the millet. Rinse millet in a fine mesh strainer under running water for a minute. Then place millet and the 2 cups of water into a small pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and cook for about 45 minutes. Remove from heat. 2. To make the crust, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your spring form pan with parchment paper. (Trace the bottom of the pan onto the paper to form the size circle you need, and then cut with a scissors). 3. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the sorghum flour, arrowroot, ground pecans, cinnamon, and sea salt. Add coconut oil and cut in with your fingers or a pastry cutter. Then add water and maple syrup. Quickly mix dough with a fork. Form into a ball. Press dough evenly into bottom of spring form pan. 4. Bake for about 15 minutes. Let cool completely. 5. To make the filling, place the pumpkin, cashews, maple syrup, lemon juice, and spices into a high-powered blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Then add the cooked millet and blend again, scraping sides down as needed. Blend until very smooth. Pour filling into cooled crust. Spread the top if needed. 6. Let cheesecake set at room temp for about an hour then cover and transfer to the fridge until completely set, at least 3 hours or overnight. Remove cheesecake from spring form pan and slide off onto a platter for serving. 7. Serve with this homemade cranberry sauce, which is free of refined sugars (and pictured below!).
Article, recipe, and photos by Alissa Segersten, author of The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and the food blog, Nourishing Meals. Offline, Alissa was the previous owner of a Personal Chef business in Seattle, Washington, and she is currently a cooking instructor, empowering people with cooking skills and knowledge of whole foods so that they may reconnect with the pleasure in eating delicious, nourishing food.