Pistachio Pumpkin Cheesecake by Cheryl Forberg

16 thin slices

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups (6.5 ounces) roasted unsalted pistachio kernels
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the filling
1 3/4 cups (1 15-ounce can) plain pumpkin puree
8 ounces low fat cream cheese
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek style yogurt
1/4 cup finely ground cornmeal
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch salt


Preheat oven to 350° F.
For crust:
In the bowl of a food processor, chop nuts to very fine meal. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Mix in the agave and vanilla with a fork. The dough should be cohesive but not wet. With a rubber spatula, pat dough into a nonstick 9-inch spring form pan. Bake in preheated oven for about ten minutes, or until the edges just start to brown. Remove from oven. Add 2 cups hot water to a round or square cake pan. Place pan on lower oven shelf*.

For filling
In the bowl of a food processor or jar of a blender, combine all of the filling ingredients. Process or blend just until smooth. Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place in oven on shelf above the cake pan and water. (The steam will help to minimize cracking of the cheesecake top).

Bake cheesecake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the filling is just set. Turn off oven. Open oven door halfway and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven. (This will also help to minimize cracking top). Remove cheesecake from the oven. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.

Nutrition Analysis for one slice Pistachio Pumpkin Cheesecake Calories 170, Calories from Fat 70, Total Fat 8 g, Sat Fat 2 g, Trans Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 70 mg, Total Carbohydrate 18 g, Fiber 2 g, Sugar 11 g,
Protein 5 g, Vitamin A 4%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 4%, Iron 4%

*The steam will minimize cracking of the top of the cheesecake.

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fun facts

Pistachios, when eaten with high-carbohydrate foods, may result in lower than expected blood sugar levels, an important factor in reducing risk of diabetes.

According to a Penn State University study, it is suggested that pistachios reduce the body's biological response to stress.

One serving of pistachios has as much potassium (300mg, 8%) as an orange (250mg, 7%).

Pistachios are high in phytosterols which may lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. In animal studies phytosterols have been shown to potentially have anti-cancer properties.

One serving of pistachios is 49 nuts, more than any other tree nut.

Forty-nine pistachios serve up to 20 percent of your Daily Value of B6, about the same as half an avocado.

You can obtain more dietary fiber from a serving of pistachios (3g) than a 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli, and the same amount of dietary fiber as an orange or an apple — approximately 10 percent of the Daily Value.

Just a single serving of pistachios provides you with the same amount of protein in a one-ounce serving of soybeans and can serve as a protein alternative to meat, poultry or beans according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.

Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free snack and contain just 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

Celebrate the greatness of nuts! October 22 is National Nut Day and February 26 is National Pistachio Day!