For this month’s raw vegan potluck, I knew that I wanted to make a pumpkin dessert. Pie? Cookies? I love love love pumpkin and the cozy fall spices that go with it. As usual, I like to read up on all of the different recipes online to see what primary principles should come in to play when working with raw pumpkin. The consensus seems to be that you should soak your pumpkin first, which I did. I also had the idea that it would be good to run the pumpkin through the juicer first to get a smooth consistency and Ani Phyo also recommends this so that’s the way that I went.
I decided to make a pumpkin cheesecake with an orange toffee crust. I loved the result! I didn’t make it very sweet, so for a really standard dessert you’ll want to boost the amount of agave you use, possibly even double it if you want a truly sweet finish to your meal, but I like it with a creamy, smooth texture with just a hint of sweetness.
Q. My raw desserts are too runny/don’t hold their shape. What should I do?
How to make your raw desserts firm: Someone else at the potluck last night asked me how I manage get my desserts to hold their shape so well. She had also tried to make a cheesecake but it was more of an ice cream cake because it hadn’t had enough time to set in the fridge and also, in my opinion, the recipe didn’t call for enough coconut butter. My advice is to be generous with your coconut butter and to try to make your desserts a day in advance so that they have ample time to set in the fridge.
- Food Processor
- Crust – dehydrator (optional)
Orange Toffee Crust
- zest of 2 oranges
- juice of 1/2 an orange
- 2 cups almonds
- 1 cup dates
- 1/4 cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes
- Blitz your almonds in the food processor until you’ve made almond flour.
- Add the dates. Blend.
- Zest your oranges and add the zest.
- For the orange juice, if you’re going to dehydrate your crust you can use quite a lot of the juice. However, if you don’t have a dehydrator or don’t have time, I would only use 1 or 2 tablespoons of juice or skip the juice altogether.
- Sprinkle coconut flakes at the bottom of a spring form pan. This will help prevent your crust from sticking.
- Press your filling in to the spring form pan. If you have extra dough for the crust, you can press it in to some other forms for later desserts or roll in to balls and have as tasty “Larabara” type cookies for later.
- Dehydrate (if you can) for 2 to 4 hours, depending on how much juice you’ve used. Ideally, the top of the crust should be completely dry when you pull it out.
Nut-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
- 1 pie pumpkin, refuse removed, cut into slices & soaked in water for 3+ hours
- 1 carrot
- 5 cups of coconut + 4 tbsp coconut oil, blitzed into coconut butter
- 1.5 cups of coconut kefir or coconut milk.
- 3 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tsp ginger
- 1 cup lucuma powder
- splash of vanilla (optional)
- 3/4 agave
- Juice of half a lemon (optional, but gives it a more cheesecake-like flavour)
- Fresh cranberries for decoration.
- Start by blitzing your coconut and coconut oil in the food processor to make a smooth, liquidy coconut butter.
- Add coconut kefir or coconut milk. Blend. You now have a kind of coconut cream cheese.
- Run your soaked pumpkin and carrot through the juicer. Add both the liquid and the pulp to the cream cheese” in the food processor. Blend.
- Add your spices and lucuma powder. Blend.
- Add agave and vanilla. Blend. Adjust agave quantity to suit your pallet.
- Add lemon if desired. Blend.
This has now formed a delicious, though pretty wet filling. Have no fear! This sets in the fridge and becomes very firm, though it does take a long time to solidify. I recommend preparing this the night before, but otherwise leave yourself at least 6 hours for it to set. Place in the freezer if you’re short on time. So pour your filling on top of the crust in your spring form pan and refrigerate for as long as you can.
Decorate with fresh cranberries if you like, serve and enjoy!