No-Bake, Vegan-Friendly, Mini, Made-With-Wholesome-Ingredients Pumpkin Cheesecake.
With a crust that tastes like gingerbread.
Well, let’s face it: Fall is here. The leaves are falling (as the name implies), the temperatures are unpredictable (as New England implies), there are pumpkins everywhere (as we all expected), and cheesecake is just the best (you already knew that).
So, let’s get to it.
These mini cheesecakes are everything I could possibly dream of in a fall dessert. Sure, they’re ultraThanksgiving-y, but they’re also particularly delicious on an arbitrary Tuesday in September.
The base of these creamy, dreamy, pumpkin cheesecake bites is cashews. To be precise: raw cashews that have been soaked in cold water (overnight) or boiling water (for an hour) to get them niiiice and soft. Squishy cashews don’t sound very appealing- and, having curiously nibbled on one before making this cheesecake, I can tell you, they aren’t- but when blended with plenty of pumpkin puree, maple syrup, coconut milk, and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, squishy cashews become the most luxurious, thick, undeniably cheesecake-y substance.
Poured on top of a no-bake crust (consisting mostly of oats, nuts, spices and molasses (for a little gingerbread-esque kick) and frozen for an hour, these nutty little discs pop out of their cupcake liners and emerge as Fall’s most beautiful treat. Say it with me now: Pumpkin. Cheesecake.
Yes, it’s true: cheesecake made from cashews and a slew of health-food ingredients turns out to be one of my favorite cheesecakes of all time. And considering the fact that I’ve made a cream cheese-based pumpkin cheesecake with a real gingersnap cookie crust every year for Thanksgiving for the past decade, I think I’m a reliable authority when it comes to cheesecake credibility.
Trust me, I’m a professional.
I think you’re going to love this simple, no-bake cheesecake. It’s
loaded with pumpkin
made entirely in a food processor or blender
and undeniably cheesecake-y.
If you make this recipe, let me know how it turns out! Leave a comment below, or take a picture and share it with me on Instagram! Happy cheesecake-ing, friends!
- 1 cup pecans (can sub walnuts, if desired)
- 1 1/2 cups oats
- 3 Tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- 1 Tablespoon molasses*
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice**
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight in cold water (or for 30-60 minutes covered in boiling water)
- 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
- 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree (canned or homemade- make sure it's unsweetened)
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice**
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- juice from 1/2 a lemon (this gives the cheesecakes that cream cheese-y tang- no lemon flavor!)
- a pinch of salt
- 1. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners; set aside. Make sure there is space in your freezer for your muffin pan, as the crust and cheesecakes will chill there.
- 2. Make the crust: first, toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until starting to turn brown. Turn off the heat and let pecans cool for a few minutes, so they are warm but no longer hot. Alternately, these can be made with store-bough roasted pecans- I just usually find raw ones at a better price.
- 3. Put warm pecans and oats into the bowl of a food processor or high-powered blender and pulse until only small bits of pecans/oats remain. Add all other crust ingredients, and pulse to combine.
- 4. Divide the crust into the prepared muffin tins using a tightly-packed Tablespoon of crust in each muffin cup. Then, use your fingers to flatten the crust into the muffin cups.
- 5. Transfer the pan to the freezer to chill while you make the filling.
- 6. Drain and rinse the cashews under cold water, then add them into the food processor (no need to clean it after making the crust) with all remaining ingredients. Puree until completely smooth.
- 7. Remove muffin tin from the oven, and cover each crust with 1/4 cup of cheesecake filling. Put the pan back in the freezer for at least 1 hour to firm up before eating. At this point you can either transfer the cheesecakes to the fridge, or keep in the freezer for long-term storage.
- 8. Remove the cheesecakes from the muffin pan and store in an airtight container (like a big freezer bag) in the freezer for up to 1 month, or the fridge for 5 days. If frozen solid, let cheesecakes defrost slightly at room temperature (about 10 minutes) before serving.
- *Molasses gives the crust it's gingerbread-like flavor. If you don't have any, feel free to leave it out and replace it with an extra Tablespoon of maple syrup.
- **I rarely buy pumpkin pie spice, and instead opt to make my own when needed. For this recipe, I stirred together 1 Tablespoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ginger, and 1 teaspoon nutmeg, and used it as my 'pumpkin spice' mixture. I was left with about 2 teaspoons extra at the end, which went into a small jar in my pantry for future use.