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Pumpkin Cheesecake with Date and Orange Zest Crust

by Samanta McMurray

Just like a Cinderella story, there’s an inevitably magical moment when you face the first pumpkin of the season on your kitchen counter. Pumpkins are one of the most anticipated delights of autumn simply because they're seasonal--particular to a specific window of time during the year--thus making them desirable. We miss it when it is not around, we crave it when we can’t have it and we binge as soon as we have it in front of us. Although nowadays we can practically eat anything any time of the year, every fall season, millions of pumpkins reach maturity, so they are softer, more flavorful and recipe-ready. Everyone knows that overindulging on pumpkin recipes is perfectly acceptable as soon as the leafy season starts, and the end of September is the time when “pumpkin everything” is omnipresent. The possibilities are endless: Should we roast the pumpkin and make a creamy soup? Perhaps some risotto? Should we make some puree, can it and save it for baking? Fortunately, pumpkin is one of the most versatile ingredients: A dozen sweet, cinnamony muffins, a pumpkin risotto topped with tangy goat cheese, or even a soft and polite side dish like pumpkin mash. Face it: I could be here the rest of the year naming recipes with this round, orange and (sometimes) gigantic squash--hence the magic. To open this crispy season where Mother Nature sketches with her best colored crayons, I selected one of the most requested desserts: the pumpkin cheesecake. It has the perfect balance of sweet and sour from the crust to the filling, and the best part--you don’t have to turn on the oven. So, let’s embrace the warm breeze (while it lasts) and enjoy the majestical burst of sunburned dancing leaves--all while tasting (and perhaps scarfing) pumpkin cheesecake.

Explore more stories and recipes from Samanta McMurray on her blog: www.eatlovewithlove.com

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Date and Orange Zest Crust

Date and Orange Zest Crust (No Bake)

by Samanta McMurray

Ingredients

1 cup packed Medjool Dates, pitted (about 20 dates)

1 1/2 cups Nuts (any)

Orange Zest

Pinch Sea Salt

Instructions

1. Mix the nuts, orange zest and salt on a food processor until you have a meal. Then add the dates and mix it until you have a ball of dough. Wrap in plastic and place it in the fridge for 30 min.

2. Line a spring pan with parchment paper and place the crust, pressing down with fingers to distribute evenly. Allow some crust too set on the sides. Place in the fridge.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling

by Samanta McMurray

Ingredients

2 Packages (8 ounces each) Full Fat Cream Cheese, at Room Temperature

* (2 Cans Coconut Milk for a Vegan Option in place of Cream Cheese)

1/2 cup Brown Sugar

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1/2 cup + 3 Tbs Homemade Pumpkin Puree (or canned pumpkin puree)

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

Instructions

1. In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla, spices and canned pumpkin. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth.

2. Pour the mixture on top of the crust.

3. Place in fridge and allow to set overnight.

The Topping

(Vegan Option Included)

Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups Natural Greek Yogurt

Coconut Whipped Cream (Vegan Option Only)

1 Can of Full Fat Coconut Milk

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Tbs Maple Syrup

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, combine Greek Yogurt, Vanilla Extract, and Maple Syrup and whip together
  2. Serve immediately on top of cheesecake.
  3. Add a final touch with some cinnamon on top.

  1. (For Vegan Option) Chill can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight, make sure not to shake it. The next day, chill a large mixing bowl 10 minutes before whipping.
  2. Remove the coconut milk from the fridge and scrape out the top thickened cream from the liquid. Whip the coconut milk with a hand mixer until you have soft peaks.
  3. Add Vanilla Extract, and Maple Syrup to bowl and whip together.
  4. Serve immediately on top of cheesecake.

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