Pumpkin and coconut ricotta cheesecake

Pumpkin ricotta cheesecakeI made this Pumpkin and coconut ricotta cheesecake last night so that I would have a tasty, but healthy treat when I arrived home from the lab tonight. In fact, I just finished a big slice for dessert. It has a nice light texture without being overly rich or sickly sweet. The cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in the pumpkin layer give this cheesecake its unique flavour.

Pumpkin ricotta cheesecake 1So is this Pumpkin and coconut ricotta cheesecake healthy? Well, the base is made with low carbohydrate, high fibre coconut flour, along with shredded coconut, homemade coconut butter and reduced fat coconut milk. As I have mentioned in previous posts, coconut is one of the only food sources of medium-chain fatty acids, which are more rapidly metabolized compared to long-chain fatty acids. The coconut layer contains – of course – coconut, as well as ricotta cheese and egg whites, which provide good quality protein. Pumpkin flesh has a number of potentially beneficial compounds including β-carotene and γ-aminobutyric acid, as well as moderate amounts of various vitamins and minerals. It seems that the pumpkin seeds or pepitas, are where the real health benefits of pumpkin are found. Pumpkin seeds contain remarkably high proportions of essential amino acids and micro-elements such as potassium and sodium, and useful amounts of the essential fatty acid, linoleic acid, as well as magnesium, zinc and selenium (1). Although there are no pumpkin seeds in the cheesecake, this is useful information.

I have reduced the calorie content in the filling by using ricotta cheese, which is fairly low in fat, and egg whites. Furthermore, I have eliminated all refined carbohydrates and sweetened this baked ricotta cheesecake with the natural sweetness of coconut and stevia. I feel that you can indulge with a slice of this on a Friday night and not feel regretful all weekend.

 Pumpkin ricotta cheesecake 4Pumpkin and coconut ricotta cheesecake

Ingredients

Base

½ cup coconut flour

½ cup shredded coconut

1 teaspoon stevia

1 heaped tablespoon of coconut butter or oil

½ cup reduced fat coconut milk

Coconut layer

250 grams ricotta cheese

½ cup reduced fat coconut cream (you could use all coconut milk or cream I just happened to have both and found that the coconut milk was a bit too runny)

½ cup reduced fat coconut milk

1 tablespoon stevia

1 egg white

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup shredded coconut

Pumpkin layer

2 cups pumpkin, cubed

250 grams ricotta cheese

1 ½ tablespoons stevia

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1 egg white

Utensils

Measuring cups and spoons

Mixing bowl

Spoon

20cm x 20cm or round baking tray

Baking paper

Food processor

Chopping board

Sharp knife

Microwave proof bowl

Pumpkin ricotta cheesecake 3

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C. For the base, mix the coconut flour, shredded coconut and stevia together in a bowl. Add in the coconut butter and coconut milk and mix well to combine the wet and dry ingredients. Mix until a smooth, thick mixture has formed.
  • Scoop the base mixture into a 20cm x 20cm baking tray lined with baking paper. Press the base down firmly and evenly with wet hands. Bake the base for about 15 minutes at 160° or until the edges start to turn golden brown. Remove the base and allow it to cool briefly before adding the layers on top.
  • For the coconut layer, add all the ingredients except the shredded coconut to the food processor. Process until a smooth, even texture is achieved (if 1 tablespoon of stevia is not sweet enough for you then add extra). Add the shredded coconut to the food processor and process briefly to mix it through. Pour the coconut layer over the base (don’t bother rinsing the food processor). This layer is quite runny.
  • Steam the cubed pumpkin in the microwave for about 5 minutes or until it is tender. Drain the steamed pumpkin well.
  • For the pumpkin layer, add the cooked pumpkin along with the remaining ingredients to the food processor. Process until a smooth, even consistency is achieved.
  • Spoon the pumpkin layer over the coconut layer and marble it through with a sharp knife.
  • Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour at 160°C. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely before chilling in the fridge for at least 4 hours. To remove the cheesecake from the baking tray, allow extra overhang on two opposite sides when you line your baking tray with the baking (or parchment) paper. These overhangs act as handles and allow you to pull the cheesecake out of the baking tray once it has chilled.

Pumpkin ricotta cheesecake whole

  1. Yadav, M., Jain, S., Tomar, R., Prasad, G. and Yadav, H. 2010. Medicinal and biological potential of pumpkin: an updated review. Nutrition Research Reviews. 23: 184 – 190.

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