Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

No longer does going vegan equate to a life filled with subpar cheese substitutes. In her book, Vegan Cheese: Simple, Delicious Plant-Based Recipes (Countryman Press, $24.95), local wellness guru Jules Aron shows how easy it is to make non-dairy queso, dips, and desserts at home. This “tangy, sweet, and creamy” vegan pumpkin cheesecake is sure to impart the spirit of fall, even in South Florida.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
(makes an 8-inch cake)

2 cups raw cashews, soaked, rinsed, and drained
1⁄2 cup cooked pumpkin
2⁄3 cup coconut oil, melted
1⁄2 cup pure maple syrup
1⁄2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. sea salt
1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp. grated nutmeg

1 cup raw hazelnuts, soaked, rinsed, and drained
4-6 tbsp. blackstrap molasses
1⁄2 cup raw cacao powder
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

To make the crust, place the nuts, molasses, cacao powder, and vanilla in a blender and process. Scoop out the mixture and press evenly into a cake pan. Chill for 3 to 4 hours. When the crust has chilled, make the filling: Place all cheesecake ingredients in a blender. Process until the mixture is smooth and creamy. If the mixture is too thick to blend, add nondairy, soy-free milk, 1 tbsp. at a time until the mixture thins. Pour into the chilled crust, smoothing out the top. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight to set.

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