Hope your weekend is peachy and relaxing. We are cracking on with chores and DIY as the weather is truly miserable and we committed to returning to DIY when being outside isn’t fun at all. Today is one of these days… Recipewise, I’ve had some serious tribulations with my oven before the weekend where I thought it was irreparably broken (and we got it on Ebay so no warranty) as it kept on tripping the electricity and ruined my bread.
Luckily it turned out to be something else and we now found the cultprit so baked recipes will resume soon, but in the meantime I made some simple no bake vegan pumpkin cheesecake jars for you. They are really simple and super quick to make and are perfect as a last minute dessert as they set in no time too. They are nice and creamy and fragrant with pumpkin pie spices.
MORE ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS
GINGER NUT BISCUITS: These are popular UK biscuits that tend to be accidentally vegan but please do check the packet to make sure as it may differ from brand to brand. In the US, these are called ginger snaps. Because of the cheesecake mixture above, they don’t keep crunchy for a long time so if you are planning to make these in advance, coat crushed biscuits in 2 tbsp / 25 g of melted vegan butter. If wanting to keep this dessert gluten-free, use GF biscuits.
AGAR AGAR POWDER: I used a small amount of agar agar powder – vegan gelatine (obtained from seaweed) – to firm up the cheesecake mixture. Agar agar powder can theoretically be replaced by agar agar flakes but you’ll need to triple the volume (so use 4½ tsp) as they are 3 times less potent and I generally do not like using them as they never fully dissolve, in my experience. To stiffen the mixture without agar agar, add 50 g / ¼ cup of melted coconut oil to the mixture instead.
PUMPKIN PUREE: If you live in the US or Australia, you’ll be able to buy this really easily, otherwise you can make it yourself by steaming peeled pumpkin until fork tender and blending it in a food processor.
MAPLE SYRUP: I used maple syrup to sweeten this cheesecake, but any liquid sweetner like brown rice syrup or agave syrup will work just well. You could also use icing sugar and add an extra 80 ml / 1/3 cup of plant milk to replace some of the moisture lost.
CASHEWS: cashews are fatty nuts perfect for making a cheeseless cheesecake. Once soaked in water they soften considerably and can be blended into a perfectly smooth and creamy liquid. If you want to use other nuts, native to Austalia, macademias work just as well. If you avoid nuts, hulled sunflower seeds (soaked for a few hours in water) should work just as well. I haven’t tested them in this recipe, but I’ve used them in many other recipes with a great result.
VEGAN YOGHURT: I used thick and creamy coconut yoghurt here, which doubled up as a garnish too, but any neutrally flavoured vegan yoghurt will work.
SPICES: I used a combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves to give these cheesecakes a pumpkin pie flavour. Feel free adjust the amounts to your own taste or use a ready made pumpkin pie spice instead.
Prepare the mixture by blending all of the ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Adding activated agar agar after you prepare the base. Make the base with crushed ginger biscuits (and melted vegan butter unless you plan on serving immediately after preparing).
- 80 g / 2.8 (approx. 8) ginger nut biscuits*
- 25 g / 2 tbsp melted vegan butter or coconut oil (optional)
- 3 g / 1½ tsp agar agar powder*
- 240 g / 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 120 / ½ cup maple syrup
- 130 g / 1 cup raw cashews, presoaked*
- 120 g / ½ cup vegan yoghurt, plus more to decorate
- 15 ml / 1 tbsp lemon juice
- SPICES: ¾ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp ginger, ¼ tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp cloves*
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
- a generous pinch of salt
- 30 g / ¼ pecans or extra biscuits, to decorate
- Crush the biscuits coarsely (or finely if making in advance) using a pestle and mortar or by wrapping them in a kitchen towel and smashing them gently with a rolling pin.
- If not planning to consume these straightaway, stir 2 tbsp / 25 g of melted vegan butter through finely crushed biscuits and compact the mixture at the bottom of each glass with the back of a spoon. Pop in the freezer for 5 minutes to set.
- Put agar agar powder in a small pot with 120 ml / ½ cup of water. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place pupkin purée, maple syrup, drained cashews, vegan yoghurt, lemon juice, spices, vanilla paste and salt in a blender. Blend until completely smooth.
- After 10 minutes, bring the agar agar mixture to a simmer stirring the whole time and once it starts simmering carry on cooking for another minute whilst stirring.
- Quickly pour activated agar agar mixture into the blender and blend well.
- Moving quickly, pour the cheesecake mixture over the crushed biscuits. Allow to set – it sets quickly, 20 minutes tops
- Decorate with a little bit extra youghurt and pecans or crushed biscuits.
*AGAR AGAR POWDER: Agar agar powder – vegan gelatine – can theoretically be replaced by agar agar flakes but you’ll need to triple the volume as they are 3 times less potent and I generally do not like using them as they never fully dissolve, in my experience. To stiffen the mixture without agar agar, add 50 g / ¼ cup of melted coconut oil to the mixture instead and use icing sugar (or ground up regular sugar) instead of maple syrup.
*CASHEWS: Need to be soaked in boiling water at least 20 minutes prior to using or for several hours in cold water.
*SPICES: you could use approx. 1½ tsp of pumpkin pie spice instead.