I know, ok? I know. I posted this recipe on Facebook like a week ago and folks have been patiently waiting for me to post the recipe.
As it usually happens, by the time I get around to figuring out a share-able recipe, very few people care anymore! But for accountability’s sake, here we go.
This recipe was a bit tricky because it came about by accident. I was making a sugar-free pumpkin pie and I made the mistake of using the recipe on the can of pumpkin which yielded WAY too much pie filling for one pie shell. Not wanting to throw the rest of the filling away, I played with my food and came up with a very yummy (but small and thin) crustless cheesecake. Here it is:
But those who have made cheesecake before know the methodology is a bit different from a pumpkin pie and so I wasn’t sure how this recipe went without me having first mixed up too much pie filling! That was my objective: to find out.
And I have!
I made a few noticeable changes to this recipe in its final format. Firstly, it’s a full-size cheesecake. Secondly, as such I baked it in a springform pan. You can still use a baking pan if you want, just make sure to refrigerate it a few hours before cutting it and use a pie knife to lift the pieces if you go completely crustless. OR you can try one of these delicious nut crusts I keep hearing about. If you have a good recipe, post it in the comments so your fellow Foodies can share in the love!
Nik’s Crustless Pumpkin Cheesecake
- 16 oz. low-fat cream cheese (NOT fat-free), softened
- 6 oz. unflavored Greek yogurt (yes you still need this even if you use the cream cheese made with Greek yogurt)
- 1 (15 oz.) can of pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling!)
- 1/2 – 3/4 c. Splenda (or your favorite sweetener’s equivalent of 3/4 c. sugar) NOTE: If everything tastes too sweet to you, go with the lower amount. If you are serving this to a lot of non-ops go with the higher amount!
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 3 egg whites
- Optional: 2 servings (whatever that is on the canister) of either vanilla or unflavored protein
Arrange your oven racks so there is a rack at the bottom and one in the middle. Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees and put a large pot or full kettle of water on to boil.
In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and Greek yogurt. Beat on medium with a hand mixer until they are thoroughly combined.
Add in pumpkin, sweetener, protein (if using), pie spice and vanilla and blend again until thoroughly combined.
In a separate bowl, beat your egg whites until they form soft peaks (about 3-4 minutes on medium).
GENTLY, tip your egg whites into the cream cheese mixture and use a scraper or a long wooden spoon to gently fold the egg whites into the mixture (folding is gently turning the batter over on itself over and over again). NOTE: It may take a few minutes to get it all combined. Do not rush and do not use the hand mixer!
If you’re using a baking pan, spray it down with non-stick cooking spray. If you’re using a springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper (you can also just spray it down, but parchment paper makes it easier to remove the cake from the pan later). Scrape the batter out of the bowl and then spread it evenly.
In the bottom rack of your oven, set a large baking dish and then fill it with the boiling water. In the center oven rack, set your baking dish.
Bake for about 35 minutes or until the cheesecake seems mostly set (it will start to pull away from the sides of the baking dish and will appear firm). Turn off the oven, prop the oven door open and allow the cheesecake to stay in there while the oven cools down, usually about 20 – 25 minutes. This is what it looks like at the point when you turn off the oven. As you can see it retains the little swirls from me spreading it in the pan. If you are a perfectionist…well…make sure you spread the top flat! You’ll notice some cracking. That happens. I am not a master baker so my cheesecakes almost always crack a little. Usually small cracks are a good indication it’s time for the oven to go off.
When the oven is cooled remove the cheesecake to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly before covering and refrigerating. I get the best results when I refrigerate overnight, but I think 2-3 hours would do the trick.
If you used a springform pan, run a sharp knife around the perimenter of the cheesecake before releasing the springform.
So here’s what had happened. After I shut down the computer and was all set to lie down while the cheesecake cooled down I realized it wasn’t as set as I thought so I turned the oven back to let it cook a few more minutes…then promptly fell asleep!
Thankfully my little nap only lasted 20 minutes (I had intended to only let the cake go about 7 more minutes) but it was just enough time to…produce really HUGE cracks!
So how did I get to the thing of beauty at the beginning of this post? Well my motto is, “If life gives you a cracked cheesecake, make a topping!” For this one the topping is super-simple, with only four ingredients!
Nik’s Sugar-Free Salted Caramel Pecan Topping
Before I give you this recipe I need to stress this is holiday or party food. Unless you have big family dinners regularly or just have a gargantuan sized family, don’t be making this all the time, k?
- 2 c. chopped pecans
- 2 tbsp. butter (or whatever you use in place of butter)
- 1/2 c. Smucker’s sugar-free caramel sauce
- 1/4 tsp. coarse sea salt
Set a pan over medium flame with no non-stick, no nothing and let it get HOT!
Add the pecans and toast them, stirring often, until you can just begin to smell them. Transfer to a bowl.
In that same pan, melt your butter. Add your caramel sauce. Almost instantly the caramel sauce is going to change from a lighter tan to a darker brown. That is good and right and normal.
Add the salt and stir until it begins to boil and bubble. Make sure the sauce, butter and salt are all mixed together before pouring into your bowl of pecans. Then stir the mixture thoroughly. Here’s my batch.
Allow the mixture to cool for about 3 minutes (you want it cooler but not completely cooled) before setting it atop your cheesecake. From there I DARE anyone to notice the cracks!