I’m not going to lie to you – I don’t like pumpkin pie. I don’t mind it, per se, but I don’t really truly like it. If I am offered a slice, I accept, but I’m mostly “meh” about it. So you can imagine that this wasn’t exactly the first thing on my mind to make and post here.
But when I posed the question to you all on Facebook asking what you wanted to see on Novel Eats for the month of November, I got requests for pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake. Not only that, I got a request to make a gluten-free pumpkin dessert – something I admit I have never intentionally set out to do before (although I can assure you I’ve made many gluten-free recipes in my lifetime by accident). Because I already have a pretty good cheesecake recipe I work with I decided to try turning it into a pumpkin cheesecake, and I also decided to veganize Gluten-Free Girl’s recommended pie crust.
What turned out was something that I think many of you pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake fans will appreciate. The pumpkin flavor is mild, but with the addition of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg the cheesecake comes together smoothly into a dessert that will satisfy. As far as the crust is concerned, I do feel that it could be a milder flavor, however it does hold up well and has a nice texture. If you’re not concerned about gluten, I recommend using the shortbread crust from the peanut butter chocolate cheesecake post I shared last year. You can also use a vegan graham cracker crust.
Vegan and Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake
Gluten-Free Pie Crust
Note that Shauna of Gluten-Free Girl recommends using a scale gluten-free cooking and baking, so I have kept in her weighted proportions in the recipe below. A scale is actually kind of fun to use. This is the one I have in my kitchen.
- 1 1/4 cup (5 ounces) almond flour (this is not the same as almond meal)
- 2/3 cup (2 ounces) gluten-free oat flour
- 2/3 cup (2 ounces) tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) teff flour
- 1/2 cup (3 ounces) potato starch
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) sweet rice flour
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 1/4 teaspoon guar gum
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 9 tablespoons vegan butter, cold
- Ener-G egg replacer for 1 egg
- 6 to 8 tablespoons ice-cold water
- 1 12.3-ounce package extra firm light silken tofu
- 1 8-ounce package Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese (There is some debate over whether or not this product is gluten-free, so please use your own discretion on whether or not to use it – if you are uncomfortable using this product, you may use all tofu, although I have not done this myself yet with a vegan cheesecake.)
- 3/4 cup vegan sugar
- 1/2 cup vegan and gluten-free milk
- 1 cup pumpkin flesh (freshly baked or from a can – although be sure to not buy pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- Dash of allspice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
Instructions if you are using a fresh pumpkin:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut away the stem of a small pumpkin, then cut the pumpkin in half. You will likely need to insert your knife partway, then cut around the pumpkin instead of cutting straight through it. This will be easier.
Once it’s open you can scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh, then discard or reserve the seeds for toasting.
Lightly oil a baking sheet with vegetable or canola oil, then place the pumpkin halves flesh side down.
Add about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water to the pan, then bake in your oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. Using a fork, you can poke the pumpkin to determine if it needs to bake for longer. If the fork goes in easily, then you’ll know that it is done.
Using a spoon, scoop out a cup of pumpkin and reserve for later in the recipe.
With a whisk mix together all your dry ingredients for the gluten-free pie crust: almond flour, gluten-free oat flour, tapioca flour, teff flour, potato starch, sweet rice flour, xanthan gum, guar gum and salt.
Add small pieces of the vegan butter to the bowl, then incorporate with your hands until it is well mixed. Also add in the Ener-G egg replacer, and add in a little bit of cold water at a time until it feels like it is holding well together. At that point place the dough in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
If you are using a springform, cut a circle of parchment paper in the size of the bottom of the pan, then spread vegan butter on the bottom of the pan to allow the parchment paper to stick more easily. Also grease the sides of the pan.
The original recipe calls for you to roll out the dough, but my dough wasn’t holding extremely well together, so I opted instead to press the dough into the bottom of the pan. If you do it this way, you will still have about half the dough left over. Place the pan back into the refrigerator as you are making the filling.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Blend together the vegan cream cheese and tofu in a food processor until smooth.
Add in the vegan sugar and vegan milk, then blend again until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the pumpkin, then blend well for at least one to two minutes.
Add the remaining spices and vanilla extract and blend, then add the cornstarch and blend for a final minute or two.
Pour the filling into the springform or pie pan.
If you are using a springform, then wrap the pan in at least 3 layers of foil, then place into another deep pan (the foil creates a barrier between the springform pan and the water so that the water doesn’t seep in and ruin the cheesecake). Add hot water to the other pan. This creates a water bath and prevents the surface from cracking. Here’s a helpful video which shows how easy it is to create a water bath.
Bake for approximately 55 minutes, but do not allow the cheesecake to brown. Once it is done, allow it to cool, then using a blunt knife cut around the cheesecake edges until the sides are separated from the pan. Chill for several hours or overnight to allow the cheesecake to finish setting.
Serve with some vegan whipped topping or a vegan caramel sauce.
Do you like pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheesecake?
P.S. I’d recommend also taking a look at Susan’s Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake for comparison.