Pies and sweets are part and parcel of the holiday season and there is no reason to be left out of the festivities just because you are on a low carb diet. This low sugar pumpkin cheesecake with a hazelnut crust is rich and silky and no one at your table will know it is low carb and low sugar. If you aren’t a fan of sugar substitutes (I used Monkfruit) just replace with pure cane sugar and call it a cheat day!
Best Sugar Substitutes for Low Carb Baking
There are a number of sugar substitutes available today that do not spike blood sugar. Some of them are natural and some are processed. Some of them have a slightly bitter aftertaste and some do not. Some will cause digestive issues with certain individuals and some will not.
How’s that for being wishy-washy? They do actually vary quite a bit in make up and taste so it is good to try some on your own to see what works best for you. Here are a few generalities:
- Stevia tends to have a bit of a bitter aftertaste
- Stevia, monkfruit and Erythritol are all natural products
- Swerve and Truvia are two popular blends of Stevia and Erythritol
- Most people will use granular forms in baking and liquid forms to sweeten drinks or liquids
- There is a body of anecdotal information that professes that sugar substitutes trick the mind into thinking you are eating sugar, and therefore the sugar cravings persist. This is anecdotal and not evidence-based. It could be true. I have no idea.
- I like using sugar substitutes in baking, but I don’t do a lot of baking. I think the keto community goes overboard in baking with sugar substitutes. Baked products still pack in calories and too much can stall a diet.
This article will give you a detailed summary on sugar substitutes. if you are interested in the different options and how they might effect a low carb diet.
Kitchen Equipment Needed for Low Sugar Cheesecake
Cheesecake is not that fussy to make if you have the right equipment. You can probably get by with any kind of mixer for the filling and a sharp knife for the nut-chopping, but you will definitely need a 9″ springform pan (10″ works also with this recipe). These are the items I used that made life pretty easy:
- a stand mixer
- a food processor
- a 9″ x 3″ springform pan
- a large pan for boiling water to place in oven below the cheesecake
For a step by step process in making a cheesecake (low carb or not), check out the video below. There are some tips in the video that make it infinitely easier to make a cheesecake that doesn’t crack. It does take some time to cook and cool thoroughly so be sure and make the cheesecake a day ahead of your event.
Low Sugar Pumpkin Cheesecake for Thanksgiving
- 9"x 3" Springform pan (or 10")
- Stand mixer
- Food processor
- 2 cups hazelnuts
- 6 Tbsp butter melted
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp granular sugar substitute I used brown sugar Swerve
- 14 oz pumpkin puree
- 1 cup Swerve granular sugar substitute
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp bourbon optional
- 24 oz cream cheese
- 3 eggs
- Preheat oven to 325° F
- For Crust: Pour the nuts into a food processor and using the pulse option, chop nuts until they are the size you prefer for nut crusts (anywhere from coarse sand texture to grains of rice texture). Pulsing instead of a continuous speed will allow a more uniform chop. Pour chopped nuts into a bowl and stir in melted butter, ginger, salt and 2 Tbsp sugar substitute. Mix everything together thoroughly. Use your hands and squeeze together a small amount. It should stay clumped together when squeezed into a ball.
- Grease the bottom of the springform pan with butter. (Alternatively use a piece of parchment paper or use a spray oil). Place the nut mixture in the springform pan and press it evenly over the bottom and up the sides about 1 inch. Press it in firmly with your hands, knuckles or the bottom of a glass. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes at 325° F
- Put a large pot of water on to boil for later. Remove the crust from oven when done and allow it to cool while making the filling.
- For Filling: Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the pumpkin puree, the Swerve sugar substitute, the heavy whipping cream, the spices, the vanilla and the bourbon if using. Starting on a low speed mix together the ingredients until well blended
- Add the cream cheese to the mixing bowl of the mixer, a little at a time, and blend. Continue until all cream cheese is added and the mixture is creamy and silky. Add the eggs and just blend lightly until mixed in.
- Allow crust to cool if it is still hot. When cool, pour in filling and smooth out top with a spatula (don't tap down the pan).
- Pour the boiling water into a large pan that will fit in the bottom rack of the oven under the cheesecake. Place the pan on the bottom rack and place the cheesecake on a rack above the water (this is instead of placing pan inside of a water bath).
- Bake cheesecake for about 90 minutes, but check it after one hour as all ovens are slightly different. It should look set and golden brown but have a "jiggly" center. If you have a thermometer the temperature should be 160°. Gently remove pan from oven and set on top of stove to cool to room temperature. This may take an hour. When at room temperature, cover with foil and place in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight
- When ready to serve, remove cheesecake from the refrigerator and undo the springform pan so the sides come off. Slice and serve with a dollop of whipped cream on top and enjoy!