Cheesecake is one of those desserts that looks and sounds impressive, and often involves copious amounts of work. Well it doesn’t always have to be that way. We came up with an easy recipe that you can bust out next time you’re craving this sweet dessert, but don’t want to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen. It’s got the added bonus of looking like happy little sunflowers, so not only will it impress your guests with its taste, but also with its good looks 😉
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 large acorn squash
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- ¼ c sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 Tbsp melted butter
- 1 c graham cracker crumbs
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- Garnish (cinnamon, nuts, dried fruit, whipped cream – anything your heart desires)
Let’s get started!
First, preheat your oven to 350F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Next, prepare the squash and slice it crosswise into ¾ inch thick rounds. Discard the end pieces, and use a spoon to scrape out all the seeds. Set the seeds aside to roast for a snack later or use them as garnish on the finished cheesecakes.
Set the rounds on the tray and bake them for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare your cheesecake filling. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together on high speed until smooth. Then switching to a medium high speed, add in the egg, vanilla and cinnamon to mix. Once fully incorporated, set this mixture aside while you prepare the graham cracker crust.
For the graham cracker crust, mix the graham crumbs together with the melted butter in another medium-sized bowl. Once the 15 minutes are up, remove the squash from the oven and carefully spoon 2 -3 Tb of the graham crumbs into each round.
Using the back of a spoon, press the crust mixture down firmly to ensure that the bottom and sides of the round are fully covered.
Next, pour or spoon the cheesecake filling into each round, making sure to not go over the top of each squash slice.
Finally, brush the top edge of each squash round with maple syrup and sprinkle generously with cinnamon. Then it’s back to the oven they go for another 18 – 20 minutes. Pull them from the oven when the filling looks set, which may vary your timing a little. Once out, make sure to let them sit for at least 5 minutes.
Garnish with nuts, dried berries, more maple syrup or whipped cream and serve immediately!