This pumpkin cheesecake recipe is gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and paleo. But even though it works for many alleries it still tastes great and has that creamy, rich, mouth-feel that’s so important at holiday meals.
When my children were little we used to play a game, called God hide-and-seek. As we went for walks or drove in the car we’d look for places or things that God would do that seemed to demonstrate his kindness and care for us. It might be a parking spot on a busy shopping day, a break in the rain clouds, a double rainbow, or seeing the Northern Lights. These moments filled us with JOY and awe. As I was preparing this recipe for you, I had one of those moments.
I woke to a dark, glowering sky. It was 10 below on the celsius scale. It felt like snow. It didn’t look promising for photos on the back deck. The inside of the house was even darker than the outside. I prefer natural lighting for food photos. But it didn’t look promising. I gathered the pumpkin cheesecake, still in its pan and started moving outside to the deck. I turned on the light outside thinking even that light was better than the glower.
Well, it would have to do. I gathered the table cloth, grandma’s china plates, the measuring cups and other props to lay out the small table for the photo shoot. I brought the cheese cake outside. It was so dark I’d need the tripod as the camera speed was going to be slooow if I wanted to use natural light. I took the first shot and the clouds opened. Rays of sun came through right on the golden pumpkin cheesecake, bathing it in warm light. The copper measuring cups glistened as if on cue. I abandoned the tripod and looked for the best angles.
For 45 minutes the sun bathed my pumpkin cheesecake in warm light. I did three rounds of photos, checking in between to make sure that the photos were in focus and I captured the quality that I wanted. I was done. The sun went behind the cloud at the same moment that I started putting the china back in the house.
I sliced a big slice of pumpkin cheese cake and dolloped it with coconut whipped cream and served Mr. Joybilee his breakfast. Yes, we had pumpkin cheesecake for breakfast today, but no worries this one is healthy. You know we never saw the sun again for the rest of the day. I’m grateful for those moments today when I experienced the personal loving kindness of the Creator of the Universe.
This gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake is a make ahead dessert that is perfect for Thanksgiving, holiday dinners, potlucks, and shabbat dinners in the fall. It’s grain-free, dairy-free, and you can make it paleo by leaving out the organic sugar in the crust and adding a 1/4 cup of maple sugar or coconut sugar instead. While you can make it year round using canned pumpkin, there’s something about the Fall season that begs for pumpkin and squash desserts.
You can use fresh pumpkin, leftover, cooked, butternut squash, canned pumpkin or winter squash, or even hubbard squash. You’ll need two cups of pureed pumpkin or squash. If your pumpkin is especially watery, as jack-o-lantern pumpkins can be, you’ll want to drain it through cheese cloth to get rid of the excess water before using it in this recipe.
Cook the pumpkin or squash in a small amount of water until the pumpkin is soft and can be mashed with a potato masher. Drain the pumpkin. Mash it or puree it before measuring it for this recipe.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake to Make Ahead for the Holidays
Make ahead gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake can be made ahead and kept chilled for up to 3 days. One less thing to worry about on the big day.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 min
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 12 servings
- 2 cups of almond flour
- ¼ cup melted butter
- ¼ cup organic sugar
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, pinch each of cardamom and nutmeg)
- 2 cups of pumpkin or squash puree
- 2 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg).
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup maple syrup
Dairy-free whipped topping:
- 1 can of coconut cream, chilled
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Combine crust ingredients and press into the bottom and partway up the sides of a spring form pan.
- Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Combine pumpkin puree, cream cheese, eggs, spices, vanilla, and maple syrup in a bowl and mix until thoroughly blended. Pour over baked crust.
- Return the cheese cake to the oven and bake for 45 minutes until the custard is set.
- Remove from the oven. Cook on a rack.
Dairy-free whipped topping:
- Chill a can of coconut cream or full fat coconut milk in the fridge for 3 hours.
- Empty the contents the can of coconut cream into a bowl. Add maple syrup and vanilla.
- Using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer beat on high until soft peaks form. Continue beating until the mixture resembles soft whipped cream.
- Chill until ready to serve.
Use homemade pumpkin pie spice as commercial spice mixtures may contain gluten.
Gluten-free Pumpkin Cheese Cake
Prepare ahead dessert for family and holiday dinners.
2 cups of almond flour
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup organic sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Combine ingredients and press into the bottom and partway up the sides of a spring form pan.
Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven.
2 cups of pumpkin or squash puree
2 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup maple syrup
Combine pumpkin puree, cream cheese, eggs, spices, vanilla, and maple syrup in a bowl and mix until thoroughly blended. Pour over baked crust.
Return the cheese cake to the oven and bake for 45 minutes until the custard is set.
Remove from the oven. Cool on a rack. Chill the cheese cake for at least 3 hours before serving. May be kept refrigerated or frozen until ready to eat. Thaw for three hours at room temperature before serving.
1 can of coconut cream, chilled
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Chill a can of coconut cream or full fat coconut milk in the fridge for 3 hours.
Empty the contents the can of coconut cream into a bowl. Add maple syrup and vanilla.
Using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer beat on high until soft peaks form. Continue beating until the mixture resembles soft whipped cream.
Chill until ready to serve.
To serve top the chilled cheese cake with the coconut cream whipped topping. Cut into 12 slices and add additional coconut cream whipped cream if desired.
Looking for more fall desserts?