non-dairy pumpkin “cheesecake” with candied pine nuts

non-dairy pumpkin "cheesecake" with candied pine nuts | withloveandcupcakes.com

it’s time for the thanksgiving dessert recap, starting with my favorite. once i discovered cashew cheesecake a few weeks ago, i knew that it needed to enter my dessert rotation more regularly. so thanksgiving was the perfect time to try another version, this time with pumpkin!

we know that all things pumpkin-flavored are good, and this cheesecake was no exception. in fact, i’m pretty sure this was the best non-dairy cheesecake i’ve ever had – before i told them, people at the table had no idea that there was no dairy in it. it was creamy, tangy, and pumpkiny, with just enough spice in the background to make it taste like a true thanksgiving dessert.

non-dairy pumpkin "cheesecake" with candied pine nuts | withloveandcupcakes.com

i wanted to top these mini cheesecakes with something fun to make them extra special. whipped cream was obvious (in this case, i went with a non-dairy variety), but to take them really over the top, i decided to make some candied pine nuts. when i was contemplating adding candied nuts to this dish, i was worried that the traditional spiced pecans would overpower the little cakes. and it turns out, pine nuts were the perfect solution – these nuts were light, sweet, and buttery, with a great crunch to add texture to the entire dish. overall, these cakes were a really special finish to our thanskgiving meal!

non-dairy pumpkin "cheesecake" with candied pine nuts | withloveandcupcakes.com

non-dairy pumpkin "cheesecake" with candied pine nuts
 
yield: about 16 mini cakes

a sweet and tangy pumpkin cheesecake that you'd never know was vegan.
adapted from:
ingredients
for the graham cracker pie crusts
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 14 crackers)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons earth balance, melted
for the vegan pumpkin "cheesecake" filling
  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water overnight, drained
  • 1½ cups pumpkin puree
  • ⅔ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • a pinch of ground allspice
for the candied pine nuts
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup pine nuts
instructions
first, make the graham cracker crusts
  1. preheat the oven to 300°f and line a muffin pan with cupcake wrappers.
  2. combine the graham crackers, sugar, and earth balance. divide the mixture evenly among the muffin cups and press down - i used the bottom of a small measuring cup to press down evenly. you can try to make them as smooth as possible, but it doesn’t really matter.
  3. bake the crusts for about 20 minutes, until they are slightly golden. take them out of the oven and let them cool completely before adding the filling.
then, add the vegan pumpkin "cheesecake" filling
  1. combine all of the filling ingredients in a blender and blend them until the entire mixture is combined and completely smooth. my blender isn't super powerful, so i had to do this in a few small batches - but it all worked out in the end.
  2. pour the mixture into the cooled graham cracker crusts. cover the cakes with plastic wrap or foil and put them in the fridge until they are completely chilled, at least 3 hours. once they are chilled and firm, top them with whipped cream.
then, top it all off with the candied pine nuts
  1. heat the oven to 250°f and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. combine the egg white, vanilla, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. add the pine nuts and mix everything so that the nuts are evenly coated.
  3. pour the nuts onto the baking sheet so that they are in a single layer. bake them for an hour, stirring them around every 15 minutes.
  4. take the nuts out of the oven and let them cool completely at room temperature. don't worry if they aren't crunchy right when you take them out - they will crunch up as they cool. once they are cooled, you can break up any large clusters (if you want).
  5. once the nuts are cool, sprinkle them over the mini cheesecakes.

non-dairy pumpkin "cheesecake" with candied pine nuts | withloveandcupcakes.com

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