Looking for a seasonal dessert but don’t have room in your oven for one more thing these holidays? This no-bake cheesecake can be made ahead of time and popped in the freezer just as you start your main meal so it’s ready to serve for dessert. Topped with caramelized pecans, it’s an easy, seasonal centerpiece for your holiday table!
It starts with a simple (no-bake) graham cracker crust that you make and freeze until you are ready to fill it. Then you make a decadent cheesecake filling and add some pumpkin purée.
While the cheesecake is chilling in the fridge (6 hours to overnight), you caramelize some pecans with maple syrup with a pinch of salt. By the time your cheesecake is chilled, they’ll be ready to roughly chop. As you’re sitting down to the main meal, you can pop the cheesecake in the freezer for a fabulous texture. Just before you serve it, scatter the caramelized pecans across each slice.
The best part about this is how hands off it is – none of the steps is really difficult and there is so much down time you can dedicate to other parts of the meal. It also doesn’t take up valuable oven real estate! Winning all round!
Frozen No-Bake Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake with Caramelized Pecans
Easy no-bake pumpkin cheesecake with caramelized pecans.
Prep Time1 hour
Chill Time6 hours
Extra Chill Time6 hours
Total Time13 hours
For the base:
1 1/2 cups (175g) graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons (85g) salted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the pumpkin cheesecake:
1/2 cup (120 mL) heavy (35%) cream
1 x 8oz (250g) package brick-style cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (35g) icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup pure pumpkin purée
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
For the caramelized pecans:
3/4 cup (75g) pecan halves
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
Make the base
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and salt in a bowl and mix until well combined with a rubber spatula.
Pour the graham cracker mixture into a 10-inch pie plate [link here] and spread the crumbs evenly over the base and up the sides. Use your hands to press the mixture together.
Place the pie plate in the freezer for a minimum of 1 hour before you fill it.
Make the pecans
Place the pecans, maple syrup and salt in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
Cook, stirring continuously, until the syrup is reduced and is coating the nuts.
Once there is no more syrup in the skillet, pour the nuts onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and allow to cool. Set aside until ready to use. They can be stored in an airtight container overnight.
Make the cheesecake filling
Using handheld electric beaters or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cream on high speed until it forms stiff peaks, about 2 minutes.
In a separate bowl, use the mixer (no need to rinse the attachments if you are using hand beaters) to beat the cream cheese with the icing sugar on medium speed until smooth (If you’re using a stand mixer, you’ll need the paddle attachment for this).
Add the vanilla, pumpkin purée and spices and mix well.
Add the cream, 1/3 cup at a time, to the cream cheese mixture. Fold gently with a rubber spatula after each addition until thoroughly combined.
Assemble and chill
Pour the cheesecake filling evenly into the graham cracker base.
Use an offset spatula to smooth the filling on top.
Lightly cover with cling film and refrigerate 6 hours to overnight.
About 2 hours before serving, place the cheesecake in the freezer. This will make slicing and serving easier and give the dessert a lovely texture.
Slice using serrated knife (gently prying the edges away from the pie dish) and serve topped with the caramelized pecans.
did you make this recipe?
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As someone who doesn’t really prefer pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving (it’s a texture thing…), this is a great alternative – same pumpkin pie flavours but with a luscious frozen mousse-y texture with some crunch from the pecans and the crust.
What about you – are you team pie or cheesecake?
Disclosure: I received compensation for working with products from and developing recipes for Williams Sonoma Canada. All opinions 100% my own.
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