There’s no dessert quite like cheesecake. Smooth, creamy, sweet, decadent — what’s not to love? However, most of the cheesecakes you encounter in restaurants and coffee shops are made with tons of dairy and gluten. Since we love this delectable confection so much, we decided to make our own, using plant-based ingredients. The filling utilizes cashews and coconut milk, blended to perfection. Stunned by our stellar results, we decided to share the secret with you. You can thank us later.
According to the New Jersey Journal, cheesecake dates back until at least 776 B.C.! That’s right, according to the Journal “Cheesecake was considered to be a good source of energy and served to athletes during the first Olympic Games, dating back to 776 B.C.” Of course it wasn’t even close to the cheesecake that we know today, consisting as it did of cheese, honey, and flour.
The Journal goes on to explain that “It was during the 18th century that Europeans began to use beaten eggs instead of yeast to make their cakes rise. The cheesecake began to taste more dessert-like and less yeast-like. Of course, they brought these cheesecake recipes to the New World. James Kraft developed a form of pasteurized cream cheese in 1912, and in 1928, he acquired the Philadelphia trademark and marketed pasteurized Philadelphia Cream Cheese, which is now the most commonly used cheese and signature ingredient for this creamy dessert.”
Of course, our version is vegan, using neither eggs, nor cream cheese (nor real cheese, honey, or flour, for that matter). Here it is.
The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake (Vegan & Gluten-Free)
1 cup packed medjool dates, chopped
1 1/2 cups raw walnuts
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1 small lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup pumpkin puree (about 1/3 small can)
pinch of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pour cashews into a container filled with boiling water and let them soak, uncovered for one hour. Meanwhile, chop the dates and place them into a blender or food processor. Blend them until they turn into a thick paste. You may need to add a bit of water for smoothness.
Remove dates from blender or food processor and set aside. Wash and dry the interior, then pour in walnuts. Blend until they achieve a fine consistency. Add dates to the walnut mixture and blend together for a couple of minutes. They will be sticky, so add a little more water if necessary. Be careful — you don’t want your crust to be runny!
Press your mixture into a round cake pan or deep pie pan and spread thoroughly. Use a large spoon to tamp down the surface. Set the pan aside and prepare filling ingredients.
Wash and dry blender or food processor one more time. Drain the cashews, then place them into blender/food processor. Add the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla extract and spices and blend for 2-3 minutes. The mixture should be creamy and frothy. Pour it over the pie crust, making sure it is evenly distributed.
Place the pan in your freezer for 3-4 hours. Remove, thaw slightly, and dig in! You can top your creation with additional chopped walnuts and/or vegan whipping cream if you desire. But this cheesecake tastes heavenly all on its own!
Serves 4-6 people. Guests will be your friends for life. This is the best cheesecake you’ve ever tasted, guaranteed. You’ll want to make it again and again. It’s an excellent Thanksgiving dessert, and we’ve been known to have it for breakfast (but don’t tell anyone). Leftovers can be frozen for several weeks, and keep well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Don’t expect them to last that long.
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