Fall puts me in the best mood.
The other morning I walked outside and had to run back in to grab a sweater. I wish you could have seen the smile on my face.
Fall in North Carolina is really a blessing from the summer heat. The leaves are just starting to show the slightest hints of orange and burgundy and the air has a crisp coolness to it. Is it just me or does the fall breeze actually have a distinct smell? I love mid-afternoon when the sun has warmed everything up just enough to feel comfortable being outdoors without breaking a sweat. Ahh…I wish it could stay like this year round.
With the very first hints of fall come my overwhelming desire for fall flavors. What are fall flavors you ask? Think pumpkin, cinnamon spice, warm apples, nutmeg, ginger, maple, butternut squash, cloves, and turmeric. I recently made a trip to the Yankee Candle store to stock up on my fall candles. Some of those scents smell good enough to eat!
If you know me well, or honestly if you know me at all, you know cheesecake is my absolute favorite dessert. A few months ago, however, I made a lifestyle change and my diet has been pretty free of sugar. New healthy lifestyle = no more cheesecake? Heck no! This stuff is just as good as the real thing and you won’t feel guilty about eating a slice…or two.
The sweetness in this dessert comes from a little bit of pure maple syrup and my favorite sugar substitute, liquid stevia. Stevia is calorie-free and is derived from a plant. It’s 200 times sweeter than sugar and has no glycemic index. I love using the liquid drops to sweeten up my yogurt, coffee, and even baked goods.
This cheesecake is super rich and creamy thanks to greek yogurt! I use a little coconut flour to thicken it up and plenty of fall spices in addition to organic pumpkin to achieve the perfect pumpkiny goodness.
Lastly, the crust. It’s probably my favorite part of this entire cheesecake. I use almond meal, which is a little coarser in texture than almond flour. Using coconut oil instead of butter to bind it all together results in a healthy, moist crust with solid substance to support the cheesecake filling.
Whether you’re trying to eat healthier or just wanting to get in the spirit of fall, this cheesecake will put a smile on your face!
Here’s what you’ll need:
For the filling
1 cup of organic pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 1/2 cup of plain, full-fat greek yogurt
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of ground clove
1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
3 droppers of liquid vanilla cream stevia
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons of coconut flour
For the crust
2 cups of almond meal
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons of organic, virgin coconut oil (melted) (*Plus extra for greasing)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 droppers of liquid vanilla cream stevia
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a springform pan or large ramekins with coconut oil.
Whisk all of the filling ingredients together until smooth. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the crust ingredients until it has reached the consistency of damp sand.
Press the crust onto the bottom of the springform pan, or divide among four large ramekins. I have made this cheesecake both in my 10 inch springform pan and in ramekins. The 10 inch pan made a bit of a thinner cheesecake, but it was still delicious. The ramekins result in a thicker cheesecake and take just a little longer to bake.
Pour the filling on top of the crust and bake for about 30 minutes in a 10 inch springform pan, or 40-45 minutes in ramekins. The cheesecake should be firm in the center when shaken.
Allow the cheesecake to cool in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours. I think it tastes best when it sits overnight, but who am I kidding…this stuff is pretty hard to resist once it comes out of the oven.
Serve with a dollop of vanilla yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Enjoy, happy fall, and live well!