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Spooky Spiced “Pumpkin Cheesecake”

By Nancy Eisman
Image of Pumpkin Cheesecake
This is for all you pumpkin-everything fans out there who want to dip a toe in the plant-based-desserts-are-delicious waters. And when I refer to “pumpkin” I mean sweet potato, butternut squash, or pumpkins and their related gourd and winter squash cousins, that taste even better when pumpkin pie spices are in the house.

I’ve taken one of my all-time favorite recipes for tofu cheesecake, from Patricia Greenberg’s “The Whole Soy Cookbook”, and embellished, tweaked, and spiced it up to create a spooktacular dessert for your Halloween party or any Fall season celebration.

Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and pumpkin pie spice are added to a tofu and plant-based cream cheese base, and then spread over an Oreo cookie crust to form this fantastic orange and black creation. A dark chocolate web, a cluster of pepita brittle, and a drizzle of caramel sauce are the perfect icing on this creamy, sweet, and seasonally spiced cheesecake.

Don’t be a scaredy cat – the recipe looks long but it’s actually easy, and the frightening plant-based swaps are both the trick and the treat in this devilishly delightful dessert.

Spooktacular Cheesecake
Image of Ingredients
3 cups crushed Oreo cookies (filling removed)
6 tablespoons plant-based buttery spread, softened (I use Earth Balance)

2 8 oz. packages vegan cream cheese
1 package (18 oz.) firm tofu, drained
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla, orange, or almond extract
1 cup butternut squash, steamed
1 cup sweet potato, steamed
1½ tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1/3 teaspoon sea salt

Pepita Brittle:
1¾ cups sugar
6 tablespoons plant-based buttery spread
1/3 cup clear corn syrup
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon Hatch chile powder (red)
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pepitas
1 cup sweet potato chips, crushed

To make the crust:

Remove the filling from the cookies and process cookies until ground up.

Add the butter and pulse until combined and the texture resembles coarse crumbs.

Press the mixture into the bottom and about ½” up the sides of a spring form pan. Set aside.

To make the filling:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Puree the tofu, sugar and extract until smooth.

Add the cream cheese, sweet potatoes and/or butternut squash or pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and sea salt, and process until everything is combined and very smooth.

Pour the filling over the crust, even it out, and bake for 50 minutes until slightly browned and firm.

Turn off the oven, leaving the cheesecake inside for 1 hour before removing.

Cool the cheesecake to room temperature and then refrigerate overnight.

To make the brittle:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray with cooking oil.

Melt the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until completely combined, and cook until thickened.

When the mixture turns golden brown remove the pan from the burner and whisk in the baking soda, sea salt, and Hatch chile powder.

With a wooden spoon, stir in the pepitas and then pour the mixture onto the baking sheet, spreading it out to an even, thin consistency.

Sprinkle the crushed sweet potato chips over the mixture.

Let the brittle rest is a cool oven over night, and then break into pieces.
Image of Pumpkin Cheesecake
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