Sunday, December 10, 2023

This Fall I was gifted with a gorgeous pie pumpkin that produced 6 cups of puree. As a single gal who doesn't have a sweet tooth, I was wracking my brains on what to do with all of that pumpkin! Then photos of chocolate swirl pumpkin cheesecake popped up on the web and my problem was solved!

I won't lie, this is a long, multi-step recipe. But it is not hard, it just needs to be made in advance, which makes life easier if you plan on making this for Thanksgiving - dessert will be done at least a day in advance!

I made my basic, go-to gluten free crust that in the end mimics a graham cracker crust without having to buy or purchase gluten free graham crackers: Dates and walnuts blitzed in a food processor with a little coconut oil to hold it all together. I only like crust on the bottom of my cheese cake, so if you want it up the sides, see the note in the recipe regarding increasing the crust ingredient quantities. 


Read the recipe first before starting. There are several items that need to be at room temperature before starting, as well as some caveats I note.

The recipe I used was very light on the pumpkin pie spices; next time I will probably use a teaspoon more of each of them. But if you want your cake more cheesecake than pumpkin pie, stick with the recipe below. Also, I cooked my cheesecake in two separate pans since I only had a small springform pan, and only one of them got the water bath (see recipe). It didn't seem to make a difference either way. If you split it between two pans, it won't rise as high and you need to start checking that it is done at 50 minutes, and then every 5 minutes after so you don't overcook it

Chocolate Swirl Pumpkin Cheesecake


8 large medjool dates, pitted

2 cups walnuts (or other assorted nuts, but add an additional 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil since walnuts have oil)

2 teaspoons coconut oil, liquified (just warm it, it will melt)


3 8oz packages of cream cheese at room temperature (I used neufchatel and it was just as delicious!)

4 eggs, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 cups (1 lb) pumpkin puree

5 oz semi-sweet chocolate (I used chocolate chips)

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground clove

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Make the crust by placing the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to chop finely. Add in the pitted dates and process until well combined. Add in the coconut oil while the processor is running, through the hole in the lid. Scrape down the sides to incorporate all. 

If you are using a springform pan, cut out a disc of parchment paper to fit in the bottom, and press the crust on top of the parchment paper to create the bottom crust. I don't like crust going up the sides, so I just make a bottom crust. If you want crust up the sides, increase your dates by two and add 1/2 cup more of walnuts. Wrap the springform in foil on the outside to contain any leaks. Set aside. 

In a large bowl, using hand held electric beaters, whip the cream cheese until soft and frothy, about a minute. Beat in the sugar until well whipped. One at a time, beat in each egg. Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and turn off the heat. Using a wooden spoon mix in 1 cup of the cream cheese batter until fully incorporated. This chocolate batter will be layered with the other batter, later.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Add the pumpkin to the cream cheese batter and whip to combine. Add in the cornstarch, vanilla, salt and spices and beat to combine well. Taste for salt. 

Pour 2/3 of pumpkin batter into the crust of the springform pan. Pour the chocolate batter on top and scrape the remaining pumpkin batter on top of the chocolate batter. Using a long tined fork, gently lift the chocolate up to the surface to create swirl marks, being careful not to pierce the crust at the bottom. Do not over swirl.

If you have a large enough baking dish to contain the springform pan, place it in the baking dish and fill the baking dish with hot water from the top to halfway up the side of the springform pan. If you don't have such a pan, just place the springform on a sheet pan, place in the oven and bake for 80 minutes. Check to see if the center is done but a little jiggly, which is what you want. If not, bake another 5 minutes at a time until done. Turn off the oven, crack the door and allow it to rest for an hour in the oven to cool slowly. Remove from the oven and place in the refrigerator to set for at least four hours. Cover after four hours if you don't plan to eat it then. Covered, it will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.



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