• This is the perfect dessert for the holiday season. It is decadent, sweet, creamy and beautifully layered

    Recipe and styling by Illanique van Aswegen

    Photograph by Adel Ferreira

    Pumpkin and vanilla cheesecake with dark chocolate and cocoa cream

    Serves: 8
    Cooking Time: 2 hrs + time, to cool and refrigerate


    • CRUST

    • 100g ginger biscuits
    • 100g digestive biscuits
    • 60ml (4 tbsp) desiccated coconut
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) brown sugar
    • 45ml (3 tbsp) butter, melted

    • 115g roasted pumpkin, chopped
    • 180g Nestlé Caramel Treat
    • 2,5ml (½ tsp) mixed spice
    • 2,5ml (½ tsp) ground cinnamon
    • 450g plain cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 60ml (4 tbsp) brown sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 5ml (1 tsp) vanilla essence
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) fresh cream
    • 60g dark chocolate, finely chopped

    • 180ml (¾ cup) fresh cream
    • 10ml (2 tsp) castor sugar
    • 20ml (4 tsp) cocoa powder
    • 5ml (1 tsp) vanilla essence
    • 60ml (4 tbsp) roasted
    • raw, shelled pistachios, chopped
    • handful fresh mint leaves, to garnish (optional)



    Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 20cm springform cake tin with non-stick cooking spray.


    For the crust, place all of the biscuits, the coconut and brown sugar in a food processor and blitz until fine. Stir in the melted butter and press the mixture into the prepared tin, going halfway up the sides. Bake, 10 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool. Lower the oven’s heat to 160°C.


    For the filling, place the pumpkin, half of the Caramel Treat, the mixed spice and ground cinnamon in a food processor and blitz until smooth.


    Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla essence and remaining Caramel Treat together until smooth. Do not over-mix as the mixture can become too runny.


    Pour half of the vanilla-cream cheese mixture over the cooled biscuit base and smooth out the top. Combine the remaining half of the vanilla-cream cheese mixture with the pumpkin mixture and whisk until smooth. Gently pour this over the vanilla layer and smooth out the top.


    Melt the 30ml (2 tbsp) fresh cream and the dark chocolate in a double boiler (without the water in the bottom boiler touching the one above) or in the microwave on high until smooth. Drizzle this over the pumpkin layer and ripple through the top layer with a wooden skewer. Bake, 1 hour, until the top is firm but the centre still slightly wobbly. Leave in for longer, if needed. Switch off the oven, leave the oven door ajar and allow the cheesecake to cool down in the oven. Once cooled, refrigerate, at least 2 hours or overnight, if needed.


    For the cocoa cream, whip the 180ml (¾ cup) fresh cream until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in the castor sugar and whisk until firm. Whisk in the cocoa and vanilla essence.


    To serve, add a dollop of cocoa cream to each slice and sprinkle over some of the pistachios. Garnish with fresh mint, if desired.

    Imka Webb

    Imka Webb is a freelance digital marketing expert and the digital editor of Food & Home Entertaining magazine.  www.imkawebb.com