Tahini Pumpkin Greek Yogurt Cheesecake


Oh yes, this “traditional” Greek recipe for dessert is luscious and rich and sinful, but it also contains some healthy Greek ingredients such as tahini and Greek yogurt. It’s terrific on festive tables and usually finds its way to my Thanksgiving feast and beyond. You can find the rusks, Greek cookies, tahini and pistachios called for in this recipe online here.

Ingredients

Base:

  • ¾ cup crumbed or coarsely ground Greek rusks preferably from Zea wheat
  • ¾ cup Greek crumbed Greek cookies such as mastiha or ouzo cookies
  • Alternatively to the above: 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 tablespoons tahini preferably dark tahini from unhulled sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup unsalted roasted Aegina pistachios coarsely ground or crushed inside a plastic ziplock bag using a rolling pin

Cheesecake:

  • 4 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg

Topping:

  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds or nigella seeds
  • 20 to asted walnut pieces

Instructions

  1. Mix rusk and cookie crumbs (or graham cracker crumbs), 1/2 cup sugar, butter, and 2 tablespoons tahini together in a bowl. Press into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Sprinkle 1/4 crushed pistachios over the prepared crust.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, using a whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and whole egg together until smooth. Beat in the egg yolk. Add the Greek yogurt and vanilla extract, 1 1/4 cups sugar, heavy cream, and flour and whisk until smooth. Spread 2 cups of mixture over the crust to form the first filling layer.
  3. Add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to the remaining cream cheese mixture and whisk to combine. Spread over the first layer of filling.
  4. Place cheesecake in a cold oven. Set oven temperature to 200 degrees F / 95 degrees C. Bake cheesecake slowly, for about 3 hours, or until set. Open oven door a bit and let cheesecake cool inside for 1 hour. Refrigerate until firm, 8 to 24 hours.
  5. To serve: Spread 1/4 cup tahini over the surface of the cheesecake; arrange toasted walnuts and toasted sesame seeds or nigella on top. Expect a WOW moment!

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