Pumpkin Yogurt Cheesecake


1 ½ cups plain Greek Yogurt (organic whole milk)*

4 ounce log goat cheese*

1 cup pumpkin or butternut squash puree

4 organic eggs

1/2 cup unrefined raw coconut sugar or any other dark brown sugar such as demerara sugar, brown sugar, or turbinado.

1/2 teaspoon stevia extract

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)

1 prepared pie crust* (see recipe)   

8 ounces sour cream

Whole pecans for garnish

Preheat oven to 350⁰

Combine first 3 ingredients in a running mixer or food processor and blend until smooth. Add eggs one at a time. Add in remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into a prepared 9 inch springform pan or into a prepared pie crust. Move to oven on the center rack. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until just set (the center should have a slight jiggle).

Cool completely. Top with sour cream and garnish with pecans.

*Notes: This is a creamy cheesecake. To give it more density strain Greek yogurt in a colander lined with a paper towel for 2 or more hours. You can also double the goat cheese to 8 ounces in this recipe.

Quick Nut Crust

1 cup dates (or any dried fruit)

2/3 cup pecans (or any nut)

1/3 cup almond meal

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine first 3 ingredients in a food processor and run until mixture is ground and well combined. Add vanilla while food processor is running. Texture should have a dough-like consistency. Press into the bottom of a 9” springform pan or pie plate.

This is a raw crust. For a crispier texture and more intense flavor, toast for 5-10 minutes in a 350⁰ oven or until fragrant.

Notes on This Recipe

This is a great compromise to bring to the table for those who want to feel better about a holiday splurge. This recipe has half as much sugar as a standard cheesecake recipe. Stevia is a very concentrated sweetener that won’t raise blood sugar. It also, in my opinion, has a very overpowering and underwhelming flavor when used alone. By combining stevia with half the cane sugar, we are dramatically lowering the amount of added sugar without sacrificing flavor. This method can be tried in almost any comparable recipe.

One Thanksgiving, as a fun experiment, I bought a pie pumpkin, and a butternut squash. I roasted them, pureed them separately and then made pumpkin pies using both. The pies looked completely identical. In the blind taste test on friends and family, everyone thought the butternut squash pie was the real pumpkin pie hands down. The lesson here, both can be used interchangeably in any recipe. Both are also noteable for their reputation to help regulate insulin levels.

Using yogurt instead of cream cheese makes this dessert lighter and easier to digest. Using whole milk yogurt as opposed to fat free yogurt, makes the calcium in the dairy easier to assimilate in the body. It will also provide a smoother texture and make for a more satisfying dessert.

This nut recipe is gluten free and can be adapted by using any kind of nut or dried fruit to fit your needs. The dried fruit adds a lot more sugar to the overall recipe. A different recipe or a store bought crust can be substituted.

Spike the sour cream topping with 1 tablespoon of bourbon or ginger liquor for added OMG factor.

Cheers! Happy Turkey Day!


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