Pumpkin is in season right now so I have been making lots of my own pumpkin puree. It can be a fairly time consuming project, but so worth it. Fresh pumpkin tastes far better than canned, plus you can purchase some local organic pumpkins to help support small farmers. My friend Melinda was kind enough to bring me a massive pumpkin from her parents’ farm (thanks Dragonuks!) This sucker took me all day to roast and puree. I also strained it through some cheesecloth overnight to remove all of the excess moisture. Now I have LOTS of fresh pumpkin puree to last me through many many recipes. You can also freeze it, just measure it out beforehand so that it’s easier to use.
Makes about 16 bars, depending on how big you want them
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup safflower oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup pumpkin puree, preferably fresh
16 oz Tofutti Cream Cheese
1/3 cup arrowroot powder
2 tsp agar-agar
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the flours, maple syrup, oil and cinnamon. Spread the mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown (about 15 minutes.) Allow the crust to cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer it to a food processor. Process until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 9×13 inch baking pan and press it down to form the crust.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the pumpkin puree, tofu cream cheese, arrowroot powder, agar-agar, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and sea salt. Process until smooth. Pour the filling over the crust in the baking pan. It helps to also carefully hit the bottom of the pan on the top of the kitchen counter to make sure that the filling gets evenly distributed.
Place the pan with the pumpkin tofu cheese cake into a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with enough boiling water to come up about 3/4 of the side of the cheesecake pan. Place in the oven and bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the sides of the cheesecake begin to pull away slightly from the pan.
Allow the cheesecake bars to cool for about 30 minutes, then cut them into bars and either stick it in the fridge overnight, or scarf it down now! I highly recommend eating it with a big ‘ole scoop of french vanilla soy ice cream. Mmmmm.