Pumpkin in a Cheesecake

This recipe is healthier than your average cheesecake thanks to the addition of pumpkin, dates and toasted walnuts. It's also filled with the warming spices of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, making it the perfect cosy dessert for when the weather turns chilly.

FIVE
From the book FIVE
By Rachel de Thample
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Introduction

Considering it has a whole pumpkin in it, this ghoulish creation errs on the healthier side of the spectrum.

 

 

 

Serves 8-10
Prep time: 4 h 30 min
Cook time: 30 min
Total time: 5 h

Ingredients

1kg pumpkin or squash
a gloss of olive oil
200g walnuts, toasted
100g dates, pitted
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
75g soft brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract, or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
250g cream cheese, or make labneh with 500g natural yoghurt
250–300ml double cream
sea salt

Essential kit

You will need a 20cm springform tin (or use 8–10 ramekins for individual cheesecakes).

Instructions

To make your own labneh for the cheesecake just mix a pinch of salt and 4 sprigs of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, through 500g yoghurt. Tip the mixture out onto a large piece of muslin cloth or a clean, thin tea towel. Gather the corners of the muslin and tie up on the handle of a kitchen cupboard or somewhere similar, with a bowl set beneath it to catch the whey. It needs at least 4 hours’ straining. Once done, scoop the thick minty yoghurt from the cloth and refrigerate until ready to serve (use the whey in place of milk or buttermilk in baking). 

Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7.

Put a large roasting tin in the oven to heat. Cut the pumpkin or squash into wedges. Scoop out the seeds (save and toast for a snack) and gloss the wedges with oil. Add a pinch of salt and tumble onto the roasting tin. Roast for 30 minutes until mashably tender.

Whizz the toasted walnuts, pitted dates, cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon of the ground cinnamon and a little salt in a blender or food processor until fully ground. Press into a 20cm springform tin (or use 8–10 ramekins for individual cheesecakes) and chill.

Once the pumpkin/squash is cooked, scoop the flesh from the skin and whizz to a purée in a blender or food processor or using a hand blender. Add the sugar and remaining spices. One the mix is cool, whip in the cream cheese or labneh and cream. Taste, and add more spices, if needed. Once the mixture is thick, smooth and tasty, spread it over the chilled base.

Leave to chill for 4 hours in the fridge or for 1 hour in the freezer before serving.

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