A classic vegan pumpkin cheesecake with whipped coconut cream. Absolutely perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas, with the help of Tofutti!
There’s two types of people in this world: pumpkin-pie enthusiasts and pumpkin-pie unenthusiasts.
Am I right? Or AM I RIGHT!
I think technically I have to be right, tautologically speaking, but I think you get my drift. You’ve got people at Thanksgiving who are pounding their fists, chanting “PUM-KIN PIE! PUM-KIN PIE!” and then you’ve got those asking, “Is there, um, anything besides pumpkin pie tonight..?” I happen to fall in the latter category, along with O. My other family, naturally, falls in the former, making for a funky predicament come Thanksgiving. Except it’s not really that funky–I just now make an apple-cherry galette with crème fraîche and caramel sauce, and that epicness seems to take over any disenchantment the pumpkin-pie habit seems to cast over the unenthusiasts.
And then.. we found the compromise–the evil, evil genius compromise! Vegan pumpkin cheesecake.
Not so dense on the pie-squash, yet tart and rich, pumpkin cheesecake, as you well know, tends to satisfy.. everyone. It’s a bit special and exciting, and the warming spices play off the cool texture beautifully. So, you know, I had to make it vegan. Because no one deserves to be deprived of pumpkin cheesecake, most especially not vegans!
I based this recipe off my amazing pumpkin cheesecake recipe and my vegan lemon-ricotta cheesecake and came out with something truly beautiful and perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It boasts the texture of a traditional cheesecake, with just enough pumpkin, just enough pumpkin spice. Just enough seasonal flavor to tie everything together, without being too heavy-handed on any addition. Basically? The perfect vegan pumpkin cheesecake.
In the past, I’ve attempted water baths for my cheesecakes, but every. single. time. they leak. Every single time! This time I even used three layers of foil, inspecting the entirety for any possible point of entry or leakage. And alas! A water-logged crust you wouldn’t feed to your enemy. So, do as I did, and skip the water bath. Certainly with the vegan pumpkin cheesecake, it doesn’t make much of a difference. Or, if you’re one of those people who can actually perform a water bath properly.. then go for it. And teach me your ways!
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 5 tablespoons vegan butter or margarine , melted
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons freshly ground flax meal
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon warm water
- 3 (8-ounce) containers Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Whipped coconut cream:
- 1 (13.5-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk (must be full-fat), refrigerated overnight (don't skip that step!)
- pinch sweetener , such as granulated sugar or agave nectar
- dash vanilla extract
Make the crust. Melt the vegan butter (or margarine) and stir into graham cracker crumbs and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Press into a springform pan about halfway up the sides. Bake at 375º F for 5-6 minutes. Remove from oven.
Make your flax "eggs" - stir together the flax meal and warm water and set aside for a few minutes, until the mixture takes on an eggy consistency.
Lower the oven temperature to 350º F. Place Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese in a food processor and pulse a few times, until quite soft. Add flax "eggs", 1 cup sugar, vanilla extract, pumpkin purée, pumpkin spice, and lemon juice, and process until smooth.
Pour mixture into prepared crust and bake for about 45 minutes, or until top sides begin to turn slightly golden-brown. The center will not set but will firm up later in the fridge. When finished baking, remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled and serve with whipped coconut cream.
To make whipped coconut cream:
Chill a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Remove your can of coconut milk from the fridge and flip upside down. Use a can opener to open the can and pour off clearish liquid that will be sitting on the top--reserve for another use (this is coconut water, excellent in smoothies!). Scoop out the remaining coconut cream into the chilled medium-size bowl. Whip the coconut cream using an electric mixer or handheld beaters. Add a pinch of sugar or other sweetener and a dash of vanilla extract and stir 'til combined. Spoon onto individual slices of pumpkin cheesecake and serve.