Happy November! Thanksgiving is just around the corner and pumpkin desserts are on your menu. If you are looking for a healthier, dairy-free version of your favorite Pumpkin Cheesecake – try this one on for size. You are just five ingredients and one pie shell away from tasting this rich, cheesy, vegan pumpkin cheesecake slice. And check out my secret ingredient for making this dessert decadent and rich…
Every year I like to make two seasonal, vegan pie recipes: Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Cheesecake. This year I am making the recipes easier than ever by using minimal ingredients. Easy pies mean you can be in and out of the kitchen quickly with more time to spend with your guests and family.
Secret Ingredient: soaked cashews. I’ve been using soaked cashews in my vegan desserts for a while now. Soaked cashews have a creamy, buttery almost sweet flavor that blends perfectly with a variety of dessert flavors. From chocolate to berry, lemon and even pumpkin – soaked cashews will infuse some healthy pizzazz in your desserts. By using cashews, you can cut out a large chunk of traditional ingredients such as dairy, oils and shortening and even eggs. Cashews are rich in fiber and healthy fats – perfect for adding oomph and richness to your desserts.
Soaked cashews are even fabulous in savory vegan recipes like these below..
Five Ingredient Pumpkin Cheesecake
vegan, makes one pie
1 1/4 cups raw soaked cashews
1 cup maple syrup
1 can organic pumpkin puree (16 ounces) (or use fresh puree for even better flavor!)
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (high quality brand)
1 tub (8 ounces) tofu cream cheese
optional: 1/2 tsp salt to taste (depends how much salt you soaked your cashews in)
One standard vegan graham cracker pie crust
1. Soak about one cup of raw cashews in about 2 1/2 cups of water in a large bowl. Add about 1/2 – 1 tsp of salt to the bowl – mix to dissolve. The salt allows the water to absorb more efficiently into the cashews and also adds some salt for your recipe. Note: you may want to soak more cashews than needed and make two pies – or use in other recipes like my vegan pumpkin spice cashew cheese.
2. Soak this cashew bowl overnight in the fridge. You want well-soaked cashews so that your pie mix blends up perfectly creamy. I soaked my cashews for about 18 hours. At least 8 is optimal. Don’t soak for more than two days or the cashews can get grimy in my opinion.
3. The day of your actual pie making allow at least 3 hours from the time you start to the time you wish to serve the pie. I like a cool time of at least 2 hours.
4. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
5. Drain the water from your cashews. They should be very soft to bite and a slight purplish dark hue. This is normal. Add 1 1/4 cups of cashews to your food processor – or blender (like a Vitamix – get one with free shipping here).
6. Next, add in the maple syrup, vegan cream cheese and pumpkin pie spice. Blend on low -> high for about 3-5 minutes until the mixture is completely creamy. If your mixture is a bit thick for some reason – you can add in a few teaspoons of either water, maple syrup or even non-dairy milk. After blending, do a taste test and add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt if needed. I added in about 1/3 tsp extra salt. But taste before adding.
7. Pour your mix into a graham cracker pie shell (store-bought or homemade).
8. Bake pie at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Then reduce to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes. Your pie will firm up significantly upon cooling and chilling in the fridge.
9. Remove pie from oven. Cool on counter for at least 30 minutes. Then place in fridge until ready to serve. At least 2 hours cooling and/or chilling time is my preference. A warm pie will be tasty, but still a bit “wet” to slice.
10. I serve chilled with a swirl of my vegan coconut whip and a Merry Maraschino cherry on top!!
Also try my Vegan Four Ingredient Pumpkin Pie!