My aunt always makes the best pumpkin pie. The whole family loves it and looks forward to it every Thanksgiving. If I were to bring a vegan pumpkin pie to share with my family, everyone would compare it to my aunt’s and since that’s already the frontrunner and a beloved family recipe, not only would my vegan pie be the loser, it would be a loss for vegan food in general. That’s why I bring a dish that’s a little different. This cheesecake is as delicious as it is beautiful. It doesn’t have to compete with pumpkin pie—it can stand on its own, and if the family wants to try the cheesecake without giving up their beloved pie, they don’t have to.
Serves 8 to 10 // Prep Time: 15 Minutes (not including time to chill coconut cream) // Active Time: 15 Minutes // Inactive Time: 6 Hours
- 1 cup (165 g) Medjool dates, pitted
- 1½ cups (190 g) pecan pieces
- ½ cup (50 g) almond flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- Vegan cooking spray (soy-free if necessary)
- 1½ cups (225 g) raw cashews, soaked in warm water for at least 4 hours and drained, water discarded (if you’re using a high-speed blender, you can skip the soaking)
- 6 tablespoons (85 g) chilled, hardened canned coconut cream (see Tip)
- ½ cup (120 ml) maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/3 cups (320 g) pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- To make the crust: Place the dates in a food processor and process until they’re in small pieces. Add the pecans and process until crumbly. Add the almond flour, cinnamon, ginger, salt, maple syrup, and coconut oil and process until incorporated and the mixture holds together when squeezed.
- Line the bottom of a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan with parchment paper and lightly spray the inside of the pan with cooking spray. Transfer the crust mixture to the pan and spread it evenly along the bottom and about 1 inch (2.5 cm) up the sides. Place the pan in the freezer.
- To make the filling: In a blender, combine the cashews, coconut cream, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Blend until smooth, then transfer ¼ cup (60 ml) of the mixture to a small bowl and set aside. Add the pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt to the processor. Blend until smooth. Pour on top of the crust and spread it evenly.
- Drizzle the reserved cashew cream over the top. Carefully drag a toothpick or skewer through the coconut cream and pumpkin mixtures, making a marbleized pattern. Cover the pan, return to the freezer, and freeze for 2 hours. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to serve. Remove the sides of the springform pan, slice, and serve. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Refrigerate a can of coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk overnight. The cream will harden and separate from the water. Use a can opener to open the can and lift off the lid. Carefully spoon out the solid coconut cream. Discard the water (or save it for later use). If you can find a 5.4-ounce (150 g) can coconut cream, it will provide you with all the cream you need for this recipe.
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