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A delicious, velvety, creamy autumn cheesecake made with pumpkin, apple, and fall spices, all topped off with a rich apple caramel sauce. Use the easy and tasty gluten-free oat crust, or substitute a graham cracker crust if you like!
Canned vs Fresh Pumpkin/Squash – This recipe was developed with red kuri squash, which is a great squash variety that happens to work very nicely in sweet and savoury ‘pumpkin’ dishes. Pie pumpkin, butternut squash, or kabocha squash would all work very well too. You can make pumpkin puree by pressure cooking halved pumpkin/squash and blending it with a very small amount of water. You can substitute canned pumpkin puree 1:1 here too, though the flavour is sometimes a little milder.
Apple Varieties & Apple Sauce – A wonderful early fall apple called Ginger Gold is great in this dessert. It’s got a tangy sweet/acid profile and spice-like flavours that work very well in pies. It also cooks quite nicely and becomes fairly soft, yet still holds its shape somewhat. Any apple that’s good for cooking or sauce making will work nicely too. If you don’t have good apples you want to use or you’re pressed for time, simply use one cup of a good quality unsweetened applesauce in the cake filling.
Rolled Oats vs. Oat Flour – If you don’t have a food processor or blender for the rolled oats, you can substitute oat flour. The resulting crumb will be finer, but should cook and taste very much the same.
Baking Pan Options – A springform pan or cake pan with a removable bottom (preferred) will make this recipe much easier, but it can also be made in a large, deep pie dish. Note that you may need to make more of the oat crust in order to extend the crust up the sides of the pie dish, so consider using about 25% more at that stage.
Hot water bath method – Cooking a cheesecake in a hot water bath is ideal, as it allows the cake to cook slowly and evenly. This gives you a great, creamy, uniform texture and helps avoid cracks.
Sweetness Note – By design, the basic cheesecake filling is not very sweet. This is because the apple caramel adds quite a bit of sweetness, and avoids making the cheesecake overwhelmingly sugary. If you plan to make the cake without the added caramel sauce, it’s recommended to increase the amount of sugar in the cake to a total of between 3/4 and 1 cup.