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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake Without Refined Sugar!

I can't believe I forgot to finish this post with the promised pumpkin cheesecake recipe!  Honestly, I was only going to finish it if it was delicious.  It was; yet I delayed.  I'm blaming it on the busy holiday season!  But I know many of you would like to put this recipe to good use for the holiday dinners, especially those of you who are committing to the holidays without refined sugar!

I wanted to make enough cheesecake for our family of 7 to celebrate, to have leftovers, and to have a nice portion for my birthday hubby to bring to work the next day or two.  Using shallow pie pans, it ended up making 3 cheesecakes!!  If you use springform pans, it will make 2 cheesecakes.

We also wanted to make it without a conventional graham cracker crust, as almost all store-bought graham crackers have something added to them that we don't want (including the organic ones), whether it's sugar or vegetable oils.  Pastry crusts are okay but we're enjoying exploring flour-free alternatives.  Consequently, we made this with an oats/nut crust which now happens to be our all-time favorite crust.  I've included the recipe for our oats/nut crust, but you can use any crust that you like!  

Okay--I'm not a photographer and I can't even afford a decent camera, but the taste is much better than it looks!

Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake 
with Oats/Nut Crust

Makes 2 springform pan cheesecakes or 3 shallow pie pan cheesecakes 

(Adjust accordingly if you don't need to make as much as we did!)

For crusts:
3 cups rolled oats (use gluten-free oats to make it a GF pie)
2 cups walnuts
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted*
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp sea salt

*Okay--it seems like a lot of butter but 1: It's for 3 pies and 2: Butter is a good fat that does not make you fat!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spread the oats and walnuts on separate baking sheets. Bake the walnuts about 8 minutes or until they are beginning to brown.  Remove from the oven to cool while the oats continue to bake for a total of 15 to 18 minutes.  While the oats are still baking, put the cooled walnuts into the food processor and process until they are finely ground.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.

When the oats are slightly browned, remove from the oven and let cool.  When the oats are slightly cooled, process in the food processor until they are finely ground as well.  At this point, if you have a large enough food processor, you can mix the ground oats, walnuts, and remaining ingredients back into the bowl of the processor to combine.  Since I only have a small food processor, I then transferred the ground nuts and oats to a mixing bowl to combine with remaining ingredients.  Mix well until ingredients are moist and stick together.  

Press into the bottom and sides of your pie plates/springform pans.  Bake at 350 degrees until just barely beginning to brown, about 12-14 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool while you prepare the filling.

For the cheesecake filling:
4  8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
4 eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree (Butternut squash puree works too.)
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup arrowroot powder (You could also use corn starch, but please make sure it's non GMO!)

Using an electric/stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Mix in all the remaining filling ingredients together in the order listed.  Pour into cooled pie crusts and bake at 350 degrees for about one hour (springform pans may take longer).  Remember--the secret to not having any cracks in the cheesecake is to NOT open the oven while its baking, so turn your oven light on to peek!

Let cool before transferring to the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or even overnight.  Serve as is or top with homemade whipped cream if desired (a pint of heavy whipping cream whipped and add honey, maple syrup or stevia and vanilla extract).

Come back and comment if you've made it and let us know what you think, as well as if you have any adjustments to the recipe to suggest!  

1 comment:

maia said...

Yummy!!!! We devoured it! Thanks Sara. :)

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