Made like a cheesecake and tasting like everyone’s favorite pumpkin-spice pie, this dessert will be a hit wherever it’s served.
I first made this pie to convince my meat-eating family that vegan food can be delicious too, and it was super successful! Just a week after that first taste, the kids were pestering me for the recipe and learning how to prepare it themselves. It’s safe to say that this one is a new family favorite.
Despite the delicious and delicate end-product, this recipe is great for a hectic household. Each step is easy and straightforward, and the kids love to take ownership of the process. And when planning ahead 14-48 hours isn’t quite possible for me (this recipe needs to soak, bake, and chill) I know that the product is quite nearly as good when I finish in 6 hours.
This pie can be made a full day before serving, making it a great choice for holiday hosts.
Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with hot water (hot tap water is fine). Leave sitting at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24--though I've made 4 work in a pinch! The longer you leave the cashews to soak, the easier it will be to blend them later.
For the crust
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with a thin layer of coconut oil.
Blend graham cracker pieces and sugar in a food processor until they achieve a fine, even consistency. Pour 1/3 cup coconut oil over the crumbs and pulse to incorporate the oil.
Pour the crumbs into the springform pan and spread into an even layer. Using a flat object, like the bottom of a measuring cup, press the crumbs flat.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until the crumbs are browned and fragrant, and then cool the crust on a wire rack. Again, if you're pressed for time, place the wire rack and pan in the refrigerator. The pan will need to be completely cool before adding the filling.
For the filling
Line a baking sheet with a triple layer of paper towels. Spread the pumpkin puree evenly over the sheet and apply a second triple layer. Gently press on the top layer of paper towels to absorb moisture from the pumpkin. Once the paper towels are saturated, discard the top layer and carefully remove the pumpkin puree into the food processor.
Rinse and drain the cashews, then add the cashews, hot coconut oil, lemon juice, and vanilla to the food processor as well. Blend until the cashews are finely chopped. The mixture will be very viscous, so stop as often as needed to scrape down the sides of the processor and stir. Blend in the sugar and spices, then add the vegan cream cheese and blend until everything is combined. The mixture should have a texture like ricotta cheese.
Pour the filling into the cooled crust and use a spatula to smooth the top. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours before serving, though--in a pinch--2 hours does leave the pie just firm enough to sort-of hold its shape.
To serve, carefully run a knife around the cheesecake and remove the sides of the springform pan. Carefully slide the cake onto a plate, then enjoy immediately!