I’m so in love with cashews, it’s not even funny. I think it’s a perfect little nut (seed?) and I’m amazed how it can make an amazing Paleo and Vegan ‘cheesecake.’ Creamy and sweet, how could you not love cashews? And paired with pumpkin, which EVERYONE loves, for a cheesecake? It’s just heaven.
Pumpkin cheesecakes are the one dessert I look forward to in the fall. It was such a tease when the Cheesecake Factory puts them out for a limited time, which attracted a mass horde of hungry broads fighting for the last slice. And leaving none for me. Doesn’t matter, I learned how to make a cashew based pumpkin cheesecake that tastes incredible and stimulates heavenly enjoyment.
A cashew cheesecake is really simple with the proper tools but requires soaking and refrigeration time. Raw cashews are soaked for about 4-6 hours, and will swell up like a sponge. It’s best not to soak it for much longer than 8 hours, since it may get a funny texture.
The soaked cashews are then pureed to a creamy bliss. I first did the pureeing with an immersion blender and big bowl (in my Avocado Kale Cashew Parfait) before I finally invested in a food processor. I know I gushed about the appliance before but I have to do it again. When it comes to Paleo desserts, food processors are Godsend! Some have pureed the soaked cashews in a high quality blender, like a fancy shmancy Vitamix. But, I’m not cool enough for a designer blender. Are they even worth it?
The pumpkin and the rest of the ingredients are blended in, poured over a coconut caramel cookie crust, and chilled to a delectable Paleo and vegan cheesecake. Easy Peasy.
OK, let me get technical for a bit. I wouldn’t shoehorn in Paleo ingredients if it didn’t taste amazing and would throw the calorie count off the charts. I know some people were concerned about calories when replacing cashews with cream cheese. Surprisingly the cashew cheesecakes are similar are often less than a lot of cream cheesecake recipes. Since cashews have a natural sweetness, a cashew cheesecake would use less sugar than the cream cheese version. But let me tell you, pumpkin cashew cheesecake will rouse your taste buds!
Convinced? I can seduce you with math if you like.
Or maybe just one more picture.
- ½ cup of Packed Coconut Flour
- 6 Tablespoons of Shortening or Grassfed Butter
- 3 Tablespoons of Coconut Nectar or Raw Honey
- ½ cup of Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
- 1½ cups of Raw Cashews
- 1 cup of Pumpkin Puree (may be canned)
- ¼ cup of Fresh Lemon Juice
- ½ cup of Maple Syrup, Grade B
- 3 Tablespoons of Coconut Sugar
- ¼ cup of Full Fat Coconut Milk
- ⅔ cup of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, liquid
- 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
- 2 teaspoons of Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoons of Nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon of Cloves
- ¼ teaspoon of Ginger
- ½ teaspoon of Salt
- Preheat oven to 365F.
- Combine the coconut flour, shortening/butter, and nectar/honey in a food processor.
- Pulse until combined.
- Mix in the shredded coconut.
- Spread the dough across the bottom of an 8-inch spring form pan, and a little up the sides.
- Bake at 365F for 8 minutes.
- Let cool to room temperature. It is delicate at this point, so resist touching. It will hold better when contacted with the pumpkin filling and fully cooled.
- Cover the cashews in water and soak for at least 4 hours, but preferably no more than 8 hours.
- Drain completely and dry with paper towels. Try to remove as much water as you can.
- Add the patted dry soaked cashews to a food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth.
- Add the pumpkin, lemon juice, maple syrup, coconut sugar, coconut milk, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and salt.
- Pulse until smooth and fully combined. You may add more coconut sugar and/or spices at this point if you like. I added up to a tablespoon of cinnamon because I love it! Adjust seasoning to your taste :)
- Transfer the filling to the 8-inch spring form pan.
- Refrigerate for about 6 hours until set.
- Dollop with whipped coconut cream and enjoy!
- The best part about this recipe is that you can taste as you go and tune the spices and sweetness to your liking, but keep the liquids, fats, and pumpkin ratios the same.
- If you prefer less sweet desserts, omit or reduce the coconut sugar.