A food processor and stand mixer make quick work of these sumptuous individual cheesecakes. But it does require some advance planning, since the cakes must be refrigerated overnight.
I don’t generally advise indulging in dessert because of the high sugar and refined carbohydrate levels of most of them. However, there are special occasions when sweets can be enjoyed in moderation. This dessert has so much to bring to the table while leaving out a lot of undesirable ingredients; I just had to share it. The crust is gluten free and packed with healthy walnuts, oats and butter, while the filling is sugar free. A unique recipe loaded with protein, healthy fats, and fiber, this is the perfect dessert for special occasions and holidays. If gluten is an issue for you, be sure to use certified gluten-free oats and cornstarch.
*Choose organic produce whenever possible*
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter from grass-fed cows
• ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
• 6 dried roughly chopped figs
• ¼ cup xylitol or birch sugar
• 1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats
• ¼ cup almond flour
• ½ cup pumpkin puree
• 16 ounces low-fat cream cheese
• ¾ cup xylitol or birch sugar
• 1 tablespoon almond flour
• 1 tablespoon orange zest
• 4 omega-3 eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Place a rack on the middle shelf of the oven and preheat to 350°F. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, pulse the vanilla, butter, walnuts, figs, sugar, oats and almond flour until a dough forms. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and press each into the bottom of individual springform pans. Cover the dough with aluminum foil and bake for 6 minutes. Allow to cool, then cover the bottom edges of the pans with aluminum foil. Place the pumpkin puree, cream cheese, sugar, flour, zest, eggs, vanilla and cornstarch in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until well combined. Pour the filling over the baked crusts. Place them in a large roasting pan and on the oven rack. Using a kettle, carefully pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the springform pans. Reduce the heat to 200°F and bake the cheesecakes for 60 minutes, until they no longer wobble in the center. Turn off the oven, leaving the door ajar, for 60 minutes. Remove the cheesecakes and let cool slightly before covering them with plastic wrap and refrigerating overnight. This process of baking and cooling the cheesecakes prevents splitting, which can happen when cheesecake is overcooked. Makes 4 individual cheesecakes. Serves 8.
© 2010 by Stephen Sinatra, MD, Jim Punkre and Rebecca Bent. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from Bottom Line Books.