My family loves the holiday season especially for the food it inspires. We love to entertain and more often than not, the evenings are centered around delicious meals. Although we have several food allergies and aversions in our household (meat and dairy being some of them), we still manage to find plenty of recipes to test and dishes to create. About 5 years ago, my Pescetarian (fish eating vegetarian) husband made it his mission to prepare a vegan cheesecake that would wow even the most apprehensive meat-eater.
Trust me when I say that this dessert is worth the effort.
Praline Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake (Vegan)
- ¾ cups almond meal (Whole Foods has this in their bulk section)
- 1 cup ground pecans
- ¾ cup white or wheat flour
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup vegan non-hydrogenated margarine
In a mixing bowl, combine almond meal, ground pecans, flour and salt. Slowly add melted margarine and stir to evenly moisten crumbs. Lightly oil the sides of an 9” springform or tart pan. Press the crumbs into the pan about an inch up the sides. Place the crust in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the topping and filling.
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vegan non-hydrogenated margarine
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
In a mixing bowl, use a fork to mash together brown sugar, margarine, and salt until crumbly, then fold in the chopped nuts and stir to coat the mixture. Set aside until ready to use.
- 2 -8 oz containers of faux cream cheese (Tofutti or similar)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons powdered egg replacer
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup finely ground raw cashews
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 can cooked pumpkin
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¾ tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground clove
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350°f. In a blender or food processor, combine cream cheese, sugar, egg replacer, water, ground cashews and vanilla and process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
Set aside 1 cup of batter. To the remaining batter, add the pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, clove and cayenne and blend until smooth.
Pour the pumpkin blended mix into your crust. Fill about 3/4 of the way to the top of the crust.
Pour in the remaining white batter. Pour directly into the center of the pie and allow to disperse in a center-based circle (the white is denser than the orange). Lightly lift and drop the pan on the counter several times to help even the filling and reduce air bubbles. Smooth top with a spatula.
Bake the cheesecake for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove cheesecake halfway through baking and sprinkle on the topping. Return to oven to continue baking. Cheesecake will be done when the top is lightly puffed and the edges of the cake are golden. Turn off heat and let sit in the oven with the door slightly open for 15-30 min. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours before serving (we usually make ours the night before).
Cranberry Dessert Sauce (optional)
- 8 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup agave
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients except vanilla in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the cranberries begin to pop and the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool slightly. Puree the sauce in a blender and if desired, pour sauce through a fine strainer, using a spoon to press the sauce from the seeds and skins. Store in a squeeze bottle or air tight container. When ready to serve, drizzle over the top of the plated slice of cheesecake.
Serve with your favorite Vegan Turkey and fall/winter veggies for a meal your guests are sure to remember.