Recipe of the Month: Pumpkin Pie Pepita Caramel Cheesecake Gluten Free

Pumpkin Pie Pepita Caramel Cheesecake Gluten Free

Commercial cheesecakes tend to be full of sugar while many cheesecake recipes do not fare much better. If you are looking for the perfect fall recipe, which boasts all your fall favorites from pumpkin to allspice, cinnamon and other delectable ingredients, this cheesecake recipe might be exactly what you need. The crust is made using organic walnuts, honey, butter, cinnamon and our Pumpkin Pie Pepita honey caramel while the topping is a creamy pumpkin mixture with warm fall spices.

What makes this recipe unique is the addition of Pumpkin Pie Pepita Honey caramels, to add sweetness and make the cheesecake even better. We are using the pepita part of the caramels in the crust and saving the rest for the rich, tasty filling. Although these caramel bars are delicious by themselves, using them in recipes such as this makes them even more versatile.

If you have another favorite cookie, dessert or cake recipe, try adding the caramels there too, either melting them with a little cream or water first, or else chopping them and using as a garnish! You can see we used some leaf-shaped chocolate for decorating our cheesecake but melt another caramel bar and drizzle that on the top instead or as well.

We suggest using organic products wherever possible in this recipe for a superior result. Don't use extra-light cream cheese because it usually has sugar in it, and choose free-range eggs if you can.

If you want two filling layers, add some organic dark chocolate to a third of the filling, then use that to fill the cheesecake and finish off with the rest. Not everyone wants chocolate in their cheesecake though, so this is simply a suggestion if you want to get creative. This cheesecake makes a great dessert or snack (perhaps with a cup of organic coffee) and this recipe serves six to eight people depending how generous you are with your slices!

What You Need:

For the Crust:

1¾ cups organic walnuts or pecans

1½ tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon organic ground cinnamon

3.2 ounces of Pumpkin Pie Pepita caramel bars (1 pkg)

1 oz melted dark chocolate (optional)

For the Filling:

6 oz softened organic cream cheese

¾ cup Sonoran desert honey

13 oz unsweetened pumpkin puree (purchase organic puree or make your own)

(See a video on how to make pumpkin puree, we use Cinderella pumpkin or you can use butternut squash for this recipe as well, so many great pumpkins and squashes you can use, get creative!)

2 teaspoons organic vanilla extract

½ cup organic sour cream

4 medium eggs free-range organic

1 teaspoon organic ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ tablespoon organic ground allspice

1 tablespoon organic ground cinnamon

Organic coconut oil, or butter to grease the pan

How to Make It:

First let's start with the crust. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the walnuts, honey, butter and cinnamon in a food processor. Slice both Pumpkin Pie Pepita bars lengthwise though the center so you get 2 parts with pepitas on and 2 parts without.

Put the 2 pepita-covered pieces in a small pan on the stove, melt on low then slowly add to the food processor. Reserve the other two pieces of caramel without pepitas. You can add the melted dark chocolate at this point if you wish. Process until the nuts are finely chopped and everything is well mixed, then press the mixture into the bottom of a organic coconut oil greased 9-inch spring-form pan and bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust to one side to cool leaving the oven on.

Now for the filling. Melt the remaining 2 Pumpkin Pie Pepita bar strips (without pepitas) in a pan, adding 2 tablespoons of the organic sour cream to help it melt. Beat the cream cheese with the honey, then add the melted Pumpkin Pie Pepita bar mixture, pumpkin puree, vanilla and remaining sour cream. Beat until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition, then add the nutmeg, salt, allspice and cinnamon and beat again.

Cover the bottom and sides of the spring form pan with eco-friendly aluminum foil to prevent water from seeping in.  Pour filling mixture into the crust and set the pan in a 1-inch deep water bath. We use a 9 x 11 inch cake pan.  Bake the cheesecake in the oven for an hour or until it is set with only a tiny bit of jiggle in the center. Let it cool down, then serve it as it is, or perhaps with your preferred decorations on top.


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