If I were to look through my pantry and fridge and bake up something sweet based upon only what I had, I would probably come up with some sort of nut-based cheesecake featuring the overload of seasonal ingredients that have taken up space in my kitchen – Apple Cider, Pumpkin, Nuts, and spices, all brought together by a pantry staple – Oats. These fall ingredients can sometimes go to waste in your fridge, so turning to a pantry staple like oats can help reduce waste. Right now, I’m partnering with Quaker to do just that – reduce waste by coming up with delicious ways to use up commonly wasted ingredients and tying them all together with versatile oats. Quaker has teamed up with The James Beard Foundation and launched the ‘More Taste, Less Waste’ campaign to bring attention to the fact that enormous amounts of food are wasted each year and offering up a tasty solution.
This cheesecake is dairy free, gluten free, and refined sugar free and is the epitome of autumn. Two layers of cashew-based cheesecake are swirled together. One is a cider cheesecake that is sweetened with reduced apple cider and spiced with cinnamon. The other is made with pumpkin puree(you can turn all of your pumpkins into puree by following the instructions in this post), but both layers meld into one creamy, decadent cheesecake that sits on an oat and pecan cookie layer. For an extra dose of good measure, more of that sweet and crunchy oat layer is crumbled on top of the cheesecake, giving it ALLLL the texture and spiced autumn flavors.
I love that this cheesecake is gluten free, yet still is able to feature a whole grain, thanks to Quaker’s Gluten Free Oats. Oats speak comfort and warmth and bring a wholesome satisfaction to this otherwise cool dessert.
Plan ahead before making this cheesecake – the cashews will need to be soaked overnight for optimal results. You can place the cashews in hot water and let them soak for 2 hours if you’d like to speed things up or forget to soak them. The results will not be quite as creamy, but still good.
Also, if you want to make your own pumpkin puree(which I would highly recommend as it’s much more flavorful than the canned variety and is a great way to use up all of those pumpkins that you might have laying around as decoration – I can’t tell you how many deteriorating pumpkins I’ve thrown away over the years that could have been turned into puree and frozen), you’ll want to do that well ahead of time.
- FOR THE COOKIE CRUMBLE:
- ¾ cup Quaker Gluten Free Oats
- 1½ cups Pecans
- 4 tablespoons Coconut Palm Sugar
- ⅓ teaspoon Sea Salt
- ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons Coconut Oil
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- FOR THE CHEESECAKE:
- 3 cups Apple Cider
- 2 cups Cashews, soaked overnight
- juice of one Lemon
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla
- pinch of Sea Salt
- 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil, liquefied
- 1¼ teaspoons Cinnamon (divided)
- 6 tablespoons Maple Syrup (divided)
- ⅔ cup Pumpkin Puree
- FOR THE COOKIE CRUMBLE:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 6" cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- Place the pecans in a food processor and process until they are broken down into small pieces(about the size of short grain rice). Add the oats and remaining ingredients to the processor and process until the mixture comes together in a crumbly mass.
- Divide the mixture between the two prepared cake pans. Press the mixture in to the bottom of the pans into an even, firm layer.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Run a knife around the edge of the cookie to loosen it from the pan and set this pan aside - this will be the base of the cheesecake and the pan you'll fill it with - the other pan is for the crumble on top. One the pan for the crumble has cooled, break the cookie up into small pieces with a spoon and set aside to top the cheesecake with when finished.
- FOR THE CHEESECAKE:
- Place the apple cider in a saucepan over medium/high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced to ⅔ cup of cider.
- Remove from heat and pour the reduced cider into a high speed blender.
- Rinse the soaked cashews in water and place them in the blender along with the lemon juice, vanilla, salt, half of the cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup. Blend, slowly working your way up to high speed, until the mixture is silky and perfectly smooth.
- Pour half of the mixture into a bowl (this is your cider cheesecake layer) and leave the remaining half in the blender. Set the bowl aside.
- To the remaining mixture in the blender, add the coconut oil, the other half of the cinnamon, the remaining 4 tablespoons of maple syrup, and the pumpkin puree.
- Blend until perfectly smooth.
- TO ASSEMBLE:
- Alternately fill the cake pan with the cookie crust in the bottom with about ½ cup of cider cheesecake, topping that with ½ cup of pumpkin cheesecake mixture. Continue this until the cheesecake mixtures have been used up and cake pan is full. Use a knife to swirl the mixture around a bit in the pan.
- Place the pan in the freezer for 4-6 hours, or until frozen completely.
- Remove from the freezer and run hot water around the edges of the cake pan to loosen the cheesecake. Invert the cheesecake onto a plate, then upright it onto a serving platter. Top the cheesecake with the reserved cookie crumble. Place back in the freezer until ready to serve.
- When serving, set at room temperature for about 15 minutes before using a hot, wet(and dried before slicing)knife to cut clean slices easily through the cake.
- Store, covered, in the freezer.