Friday, December 09, 2016

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake with Cranberry Topping

I didn’t go as pumpkin-crazy this year as I normally do. I didn’t even get around to my beloved pumpkin chocolate chip muffins or pumpkin brownies. I did try a wonderful chocolate-pumpkin cake with cinnamon ganache from the James Beard Foundation website, and sadly I don’t have any nice pictures of it, because otherwise that would definitely be worthy of a stand-alone post. The other pumpkin dessert I tried was this vegan pumpkin cheesecake that I adapted from The Kind Life. I didn’t feel like making candied cranberries that require pricking each fruit several times with a straight pin, 2 cups of my precious maple syrup and a candy thermometer, so I just made a quick cranberry sauce with 2 cups of cranberries, 1 cup of sugar and a pinch of ground ginger (I’d also like my regular cranberry sauce with orange segments here). You could make your own crust, of course, but I used a shortcut and bought a premade one.

I increased the amount of maple syrup to my taste, and baked the cheesecake longer to compensate. It might have been better to use sugar or a sweeter/thicker syrup instead of maple syrup to have a firmer consistency – as it was, I baked the cheesecake for 60 minutes and it was still wobbly, though it held up fine after a *full* day in the fridge (not after the recommended 3 hours). I haven’t compared the sugar content of Whole Foods’ pumpkin pie filling with other brands, but you might need less sweetener if you use another brand which happens to be sweetened more heavily. You can also just use pumpkin purée, sweetener and spices to your taste. Don’t be afraid to taste the mixture as you process it – you can always add more sweetener, so start with a small amount (the original recommendation was ¼ cup agave nectar).

12 oz. silken tofu
8 oz. vegan cream cheese
¾ can Whole Foods Organic Pumpkin Pie Filling
¾ cup maple syrup (this is my adjusted amount; see note above)
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
a 9-inch graham cracker crust
cranberry sauce, for topping (see note above)

Preheat oven at 350 °F.

Purée the tofu, cream cheese, pumpkin pie filling, maple syrup, nutmeg, and cinnamon in the food processor until very smooth, 3-5 minutes.

Pour into crust and bake for 50 minutes (I baked it 60 minutes).

Chill completely in refrigerator for at least 3 hours, ideally overnight (see note above).

Garnish with cranberry sauce, slice and serve. (If you’re not serving the whole cheesecake immediately, then only garnish individual slices with the cranberries.)

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