Today’s recipe is a healthy pumpkin cheesecake recipe. Yes! A healthy, yet rich, decadent, and tasty cheesecake. We bet it’s going to make jaws drop at the Thanksgiving dinner table this year!
What Goes Well With Pumpkins?
Pumpkin is such a versatile fruit. It pairs well with almost anything to make a fantastic sweet or savory dish. Since we’re making a dessert today, let’s focus on the ingredients that go well with pumpkin to make a sweet treat.
- Cream cheese: of course, we cannot leave out one of the main ingredients for today’s recipe. The slightly tangy, rich, soft cheese pairs perfectly with the sweet pumpkin puree, thus making pumpkin cheesecake a delicious dessert loved by many.
- Lemon or lime: if you want to kick the cheesecake up a notch, add a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon, and/or the zest to this recipe. The fresh citrus taste cuts through the rich cheese, balancing the flavor, intensifying the tanginess, and taking the dessert to a whole new level.
- Spices: other than the infamous pumpkin spice— ginger, clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg, we suggest sneaking in a bit of cayenne pepper. This will give your pumpkin desserts a greater depth of flavor and warmth. It also surprises people and keeps them guessing what secret ingredient you have up your sleeve.
Another spice blend that should pair well with pumpkin is garam masala— an Indian spice blend that usually consists of ground cumin, nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon, star anise, cardamon, and clove. This warm Indian spice blend is suitable for both sweet and savory dishes. You can make a pumpkin curry or a pumpkin milk tea with it! Pumpkin masala chai is the new pumpkin spice latte!
- Chocolate: like pumpkin, chocolate goes well with almost anything, so naturally they go well together too! If you’re feeling creative (or just love chocolate), you can garnish your pumpkin desserts with melted dark chocolate and let those beautiful flavors melt in your mouth!
Is This Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe Healthy?
Yes, it is! Cheesecake is not something that usually comes to mind when thinking of healthy foods, so how is it healthy?
Pumpkin is the biggest contributor in making this recipe healthy. This low-calorie seasonal squash is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals while also having medicinal properties. If you’re trying to sneak more fiber into your diet, we suggest sneaking more pumpkin into your desserts.
For this recipe, we take advantage of the sweet pumpkin flavor to cut down on as much sweetener as we can, which helps limit the amount of sugar intake. That being said, there are still 2 tablespoons of brown sugar in this recipe, which is about 27 grams of added sugar. This may seem like a lot, considering your recommended daily sugar intake should be less than 10% of calories from added sugar (or about 50 grams of sugar), according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. However, since we divide the cake into 8 slices, there’s less than 3.5 grams of sugar per slice— making the cake relatively low in added sugar.
It may come as a surprise, but unlike most cakes, this cheesecake is relatively low in carbohydrates with about 15 grams of carbs per slice. This is mainly because our cheesecake is thinner than the 2 or 3-inch cheesecakes that you find in bakeries. We figure for such a rich and dense cake like this, it’s best to have a smaller slice so that you can savor every bite of our healthy pumpkin cheesecake, guilt-free.
If you’re looking for more healthy pumpkin recipes like this one, we have a fantastic pumpkin soup recipe, sure to do you good. For now, let’s make pumpkin cheesecake!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 7-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Grease the sides with cooking spray (optional.)
- In a small bowl, add unsalted butter and vegetable shortening. Microwave for 30 seconds or until melted. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine graham crackers and blend into crumbs (you can do this by hand, it just takes a lot more effort!) Gradually add the melted butter mixture while blending, to incorporate. Transfer to the prepared springform pan. Using the bottom of a cup, press the crumbs evenly to form the base of the cheesecake. Put the pan in the freezer for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine softened cream cheese, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a whisk or a hand mixer, beat the ingredients for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin puree and yogurt, and continue to beat for another minute. Then add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until fully incorporated. Finally, add vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice and beat for a few seconds. Transfer the mixture to the chilled springform pan.
- Place the cake pan on a deep baking tray. Put the tray on the oven shelf and fill it halfway with hot water. Bake for 50 minutes or until the center of the cake is just set.
- Take the cheesecake out of the oven and let it cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate the cake (still in the springform pan) for at least 4 hours before serving, or overnight for best results.
- Remove the cake from the pan. Decorate with whipped cream by squeezing 8 teaspoon-sized dollops of cream directly on the cake.
- Dip the knife into warm water first. Wipe it dry with a kitchen towel before cutting. The warmed knife will help cut smoothly into the cake.
- Wipe the crumbs off the knife after every cut with a kitchen towel. This will help you get a clean slice of cake every time.