If this Halloween you want to satisfy your sweet tooth but don't want to overdose on the sweets, read on for a healthy and delicious vegan and refined sugar-free pumpkin spice cheesecake!
Although I'm not a vegan myself and therefore I do normally eat cheese, I've come across a few recipes to recreate soft cheese used in cheesecake using cashew nuts! Therefore, already this cheese alternative is going to have a higher nutritional value being higher in good fats and minerals you wouldn't otherwise get from a dairy cheese.
For my birthday recently, I received Fearne Cotton's cook book 'Cook Happy, Cook Healthy,' which contains so many lovely recipes ideal for vegetarians, vegan and meat eaters alike with the focus being on healthy food. I saw this recipe (pictured above) for a raw vegan mango cheesecake and decided to tweak it a little bit to be more Autumnal and festive!
First up as it is Autumn and nearly Halloween, I knew I had to use pumpkins somehow! This recipe isn't 'raw vegan' as raw pumpkins wouldn't be very pleasant but it's super simple to make your own pumpkin puree. You're best off with smaller pumpkins and squashes rather than the big pumkins you carve a jack-o-lantern out of, as the bigger ones tend to be more stringy and watery but the smaller ones are grown to be eaten so taste better.
To make the pumpkin spice puree:
Chop the top off your pumpkin, cut in half and scoop out all the seeds from the middle. Then simply cut into chunks and place on a baking tray (no need to remove the skin at this point) and roast in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for approximately 30-40 minutes until flesh is tender. Once cooked, whilst still warm you can remove the skin by peeling it off and discarding, it should come away quite easily. Then place all the cooked squash flesh into a food processor and blend until smooth, if you think the consistency is too dry add a tiny bit of water, if too runny drain the mixture and whizz again. I found the pumpkin puree came out fine by blending just the roasted pumpkin. To make it sweeter and to have the classic 'pumpkin spice' flavour we all know and love, still using the food processor, I added 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (or to taste), 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and blended again. Then pop in the fridge until ready to top the cheesecake.
The main cheesecake recipe is from 'Cook Happy Cook Healthy' but as it was to serve 12, I halved the original recipe and obviously switched the mango for pumpkin but I'll pop the full slightly adapted recipe here:
I'm so happy with how it turned out! It set beautifully and the pumpkin spice switch worked so well with the recipe. It was even a success among my family who a big fans of normal cheesecake so that's a win for me (and vegans)! Why not have a go making it this Halloween or share with your vegan friends or those trying to reduce their sugar intake (but not the fun...) Hope you enjoyed this post!
My name is Helen Davison and I'm a NIMH registered practising Medical Herbalist based in Ramsbottom, Lancashire. I've had a keen interest in herbal remedies since my early teens and would experiment creating my own balms and bath bombs using natural ingredients, which prompted me in discovering and pursuing a career in Western Herbal Medicine.