Paleo Pumpkin Cheesecake
Its October. Who Isn't Pumpkin crazy right now?
I'm one of the many with pumpkin brain. Last night as I was looking through the latest issue of Bon Appetit it was bothering me that I wouldn't be able to indulge in Pumpkin Pie or Cheesecake this year. Why? As many of you know I'm dealing with some leaky gut issues. For the first time in years I'm really paying attention to my symptoms and have pulled every food that triggers my hashimoto's to flare up. Being super careful about what I eat is already paying off. For the first time in a long time I have energy and am void of chronic pain 95% of the time. That in itself is enough to keep me going.
But how folowing this diet could I make cheesecake free of Nuts, Seeds, Eggs, Sugar, Grains, Starches, Soy or Dairy? Last night as I was pondering this, some ideas came to me. I rushed to the kitchen and this recipe is the result.
This Cheesecake has a texture more like a pumpkin pie. I call it a cheesecake because its firm enough that it will hold itself in place without the support of a pie pan. I think appearance wise its more fun made as a cheesecake. Another thing to note is that I used Stevia in this recipe to suite my dietary needs. This makes it a little less sweet/ rich than some pumpkin pies. If you are looking for something more traditional try adding a few TBS of Maple Syrup, Honey, Agave or Coconut Nectar along with the Stevia. The stevia will exaggerate the sweetness of these other sugars, so you won't need much of whichever sugar you select. When I'm using stevia I find I like to use a little extra salt as well. The salt really balances and brings out the stevia's good qualities. I have not provided an amount of stevia or salt to use in this recipe- I'm putting this into your hands as everyone's tastes vary. Especially when it comes to Stevia.
For the crust I used a combo of crushed Unsweetened Banana Chips and Coconut Flakes. Again, this suites what I can eat. In the future when nuts are back in my life I plan to try replacing the Banana Chips with finely chopped Pecans. Also if you want a really thick (more cheesecake like) end result try replacing the cauliflower in the recipe with soaked raw cashews. They will make it nice and rich. The cauliflower has a lighter effect - it adds some texture and creaminess to this recipe. Odd I know to put cauliflower in pie. You won't even know its in there once all is said and done.
* For those interested in going the cashew route (for the filling) to soak them- simply put them in a bowl with some water for an hour or so. This will soften them so that they will puree right up with the pumpkin no problem.
Another idea is to try using pureed white beans in place of the cauliflower. I have not tested this idea yet (and probably wont for awhile as I can't eat beans at the moment) But I thought I would just throw the idea out there be the case someone felt a little brave and wanted to give it a try.
Another fun alteration would be to add some rum to the filling .You might even try using sweet potato puree instead of pumpkin. Make this cheesecake or pie your own! There's so much that can be done with it.
- 2 Cups Banana Chips (sweetened or unsweetened)
- note: any variety of nut or seed should also work great if you don't want to do the banana chips. If you can do grains and sugar a crushed cookie crust will also work here.
- 1 Cup Coconut Flakes (unsweetened)
- 1 Packet Stevia (or other granulated sugar of your choice to taste)
- 1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 3 TBS melted Coconut Oil
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 Can Pumpkin Puree
- 1 3/4 Cups Frozen or Fresh Cauliflower Boiled. (should be tender- may yield less than 1 3/4 cups once cooked) Or use Soaked Cashews for a thicker more decadent filling.
- 1/3 Cup HEAVY Coconut Milk. (For best results stick the can in the fridge to chill and the scoop out the creamy portion from the top of the can to make this 1/3 cup).
- 1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tsp. Cinammon
- 1 Tsp. Ginger
- Stevia to Taste (*Additional Sugar may be added- see note above)
- Salt to Taste
- 1/2 Cup Melted Coconut Oil.
- In a food processor combine the crust ingredients (these same directions apply if you choose to use nuts instead of banana chips). Process until finely ground. Press this mixture into a pie plate or in the base of a cheesecake pan. (If you are going to want to be able to cleanly remove the cheesecake from the bottom portion of the pan- size and cut a round circle of parchment paper on the base before laying down the crust. I don't bother with this as I often just serve the cheesecake in the base of the pan.)
- Clean out the food processor. Fill it with the filling ingredients and process until creamy and smooth.
- Place this pureed mixture in a saucepan. Cook till it gently boils so that the flavors can develop. Give it a taste test and adjust sugar/salt/spices to your liking.
- Pour the filling into the crust filled cheesecake pan or pie pan. Place in fridge and let chill for several hours. It will become firm as it chills.