When I posted the pumpkin tiramisu recipe, I promised that I would be posting a lighter pumpkin dessert as well. That was originally going to be a pumpkin panna cotta. However, I was unhappy with how that recipe turned out; no matter what, the dessert invariably separated into a thick layer and a watery layer. In fact, this is a problem I've had with pumpkin desserts in general. They end up kind of sludge-like, not solid enough with an unappealing watery layer. I experimented with a few different things, and ended up discovering the key ingredient for a perfect texture: cream cheese. I didn't add enough for it to taste like a cheesecake; in fact, you probably won't know it's there. But it results in a smooth, dense, and velvety pumpkin dessert that is nicely emulsified.
Even low-carb pie crusts are generally very high-calorie. Usually, they are made of ground nuts held together with butter or coconut oil. As my goal here is a lighter dessert, I wanted to skip the crust. While the crust is generally the least interesting part of a pie, crustless pumpkin pie still feels like a bit of a gyp. This is baked in dish and cut into squares. They're too thick to call them bars so I'm going with the label of "pavé". Pavé basically refers to a dessert that is flat and square, like tiles or paving stones. Plus it sounds all fancy.
- 8 oz low-fat (or full-fat) cream cheese, softened (use Philadelphia brand if you use low-fat, as it is lower carb than others)
- 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/2 cup stevia (I used Stevia In The Raw), Splenda, or date sugar
- 1.5 cups egg white or egg substitute (or 6 whole eggs)
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- Generous pinch of salt
- Greek yogurt, for serving (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350
- Beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined.
- Scrape the mixture into a greased 8x8 pan.
- Bake for 40-60 minutes (check after 40 minutes), or until the center is firm. A toothpick will not come out clean.
- Chill thoroughly and cut into 9 squares.
- Serve with a blob of Greek yogurt and some extra cinnamon.