Pumpkin Cheesecake with Ginger Caramel Drizzle

This post is affiliated with the Vegan Month of Food.  Learn more about #VeganMoFo here.  In each post this month, I hope to give you a tidbit of information that will make you think about your food or animals.

Today my tidbit is about organic versus non-GMO versus conventional produce.

GMOs
According to the Non-GMO Project, "GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding."

Developed nations seem to agree that GMOs are not safe for consumption.  Many states do not require GMO labeling on food products, so it's best to find non-GMO verified stickers on them.

Organic
The Mayo Clinic states, "The word 'organic' refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution.

Farmers who grow organic produce don't use conventional methods to fertilize and control weeds. Examples of organic farming practices include using natural fertilizers to feed soil and plants, and using crop rotation or mulch to manage weeds."

Again, look for certified organic stickers on produce.  These product items also have SKUs on them that begin with the #9 and then the four digit code.

Anyhoo - just some food for thought.

Today's cheesecake recipe is down-right delicious.  It encapsulates the best fall flavors: pumpkin and ginger!

Cheesecake Ingredients:
graham crust (click here for the recipe)
pumpkin filling
ginger caramel sauce

Pumpkin Filling:
1 c. raw cashews
pinch of sea salt
1/4 c. coconut oil, softened
3 T. cardamom-infused bourbon (learn more about infusing your own liquor!)
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 c. coconut sugar
1/3 c. pureed pumpkin
2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
1/2 tsp. all spice
1/3 c. almond milk, or another non-dairy milk

Ginger Caramel Sauce:
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
1 tsp. ground ginger
pinch of cinnamon
1 T. coconut oil

For the graham crust:

Once you follow this recipe to make the dough, take a heaping scoop of dough and press it into the bottom of some paper liners.  Make sure the dough is flattened and even.  You should fill about two to three medium-sized liners.

Bake the crusts for about 20 minutes and let the crusts cool completely.

For the pumpkin cheesecake:
In a food processor, combine the cheesecake ingredients - it's that easy!

Scrape the sides of the food processor to make sure that all of the goodies are incorporated and pulse again.

Pour this mixture in each crust cup and distribute it evenly.  Place the cheesecakes in the fridge for 6-8 hours to set (or overnight is better).

For the caramel sauce:
I recommend making the caramel immediately before serving the cheesecake.

Bring the caramel ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes.  Lower the heat if necessary.

Assembly:
Once your cheesecakes have set for the appropriate amount of time, you can peel the wrappers from the cheesecakes and spoon the caramel on top.  Warning: your caramel may harden slightly because of the cold temperature of the cheesecake.

Sprinkle the cheesecake with additional candied ginger, if desired.

Enjoy this delicious fall cheesecake!

Cheers,
-Aileen