Your Entertaining Lifesaver
Pumpkin cheesecake (no-bake) is the perfect holiday dessert. There are a lot of “no’s” but I’ll start with Yes! It is creamy, crunchy, spice-filled, make-ahead, and absolutely beguiling. There is no baking, no cooking, no egg, and if you are gluten-free, use gluten-free cookies for the crumbles. And I love that it isn’t overly sweet.
Cardamom & Allspice, Oh My
Heady with two of my favorite spices, cardamom and allspice, their warm and floral notes make this sweet a lifesaver if you are on dessert duty for the holidays. And, did I say it is dead easy? We’ve photographed 4 different ways to garnish this cheesecake. The easiest way is to whip up a little cream, spoon on top, then sprinkle with a shower of the leftover cookie crumbs that you spooned into the bottom of the jar.
By the way, I have photographed two different types of cookies, pretty scalloped ones from Trader Joes called triple ginger cookies. Also, a more commonly found brand from the local grocery store. If you would like to make your own cookies, you might want to try my cardamom spice cookies.
You will find that this recipe yields about two cups of cheesecake, which makes four individual desserts. If you are feeding more people, make sure to double, or even triple, the amounts. You can spoon the finished pumpkin cheesecake filling into a serving bowl over the cookies crumbs for a crowd, and garnish as your heart desires.
PS If you love puddings as much as I do, take a peek at my sweet and creamy chai puddings.
See the Notes below before you cook.
Cardamom Pumpkin Cheesecake (No-Bake)
Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons sour cream ~ Or thick yogurt; Optional
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 5 tablespoons light brown sugar ~ More to your taste
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice ~ Increase to 1 1/2 teaspoons if you are not using sour cream or yogurt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg ~ Ideally freshly grated; substitutions
- 1/4 teaspoon sea or table salt ~ Or 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup ginger cookies ~ Or cookies of your choice
- 2 tablespoons butter ~ Melted
- 1 large pinch coarse salt ~ Optional
- whipped cream ~ Recipe below
- candied pumpkin seeds ~ Recipe below
- cookie crumbs ~ Recipe above
- whole cookies
- 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
- 1/4 cup sour cream ~ Or thick yogurt; swap out for more whipping cream if you prefer
- 1 1/2 teaspoons confectioners sugar ~ Make your own
Candied Pumpkin Seeds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds ~ Or seeds or nuts of your choice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar ~ White sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt ~ Or 1/8 teaspoon sea or table salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse sugar ~ Or 1 1/2 teaspoons of white sugar
Cardamom Cheesecake Filling
- Leave the cream cheese at room temperature for 2 or more hours.
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
- Gather your filling ingredients.
- Using a stand or handheld blender, whip the cream cheese to a smooth texture.
- Add all the other filling ingredients and mix well.
- Taste for sweetness and enough acid to balance the richness of the batter.
- Crush the cookie crumbs in a resealable bag with a rolling pan, heavy pan, or as I did with a bacon or grill press. You are wanting a loose cookie rubble, not a fine, hard-packed bottom crust.
- Melt the butter, mix into the crumbs.
- Add a generous 2 tablespoons of crumbs in the bottom of each serving cup.
- Carefully spoon the filling over the crumbs.
- Garnish as you wish. Please see the following whipped cream and candied pumpkin seeds in this recipe.
- In a stand mixer, or using a handheld blender, whip the heavy cream to a very soft peak stage. Add in the sugar and sour cream or thick yogurt and mix a minute longer, or until you have soft pillowy whipped cream. Be very careful not to overwhip. If need be, manually whip using a whisk to ensure you don't go too far.
Candied Pumpkin Seeds
- Turn your oven to 350°F (180°C) to preheat. In a small pan over medium-high heat add the nuts, sugar, salt, and water. Bring to a low boil and reduce your heat to medium-low. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes, then drain and place on a lined baking tray.
- Bake for 7 minutes. Remove the tray and sprinkle on the salt and sugar. Return the oven and after 4 minutes check and look for some light browning. I often need another minute or so.
- important: Cardamom Pumpkin Cheesecake (No-Bake) can be made ahead up to two days before you want to serve it.
- Shortcut: Buy nuts that have been roasted and salted.
- Double or triple the candied seed recipe if you want to use them on another dish or just want to snack on them.