1 tbsp vanilla extract or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger root
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
250g cream cheese or make labneh with 450g Court Lodge natural yogurt*
284ml raw or double cream
Preheat oven to 220C/Gas 7. Heat a large roasting tin the oven.
Cut the pumpkin/squash into wedges. Scoop out seeds (save and toast for a snack). Gloss the pumpkin/squash with oil. Add a pinch of salt. Tumble onto the roasting tin. Roast 30 mins or till mashably tender.
Place the biscuits in a sealed bag. Bash with a rolling pin till you've got a bag of crumbs. A few hunks here and there is ok. Melt the butter. Mix the biscuit crumbs, butter and cocoa powder, if using. Press them into a 20cm springform tin (or use 8-10 ramekins for individual cheesecakes). Chill.
Once the pumpkin/squash is cooked scoop the flesh from the skin. Whiz in a food processor or in a bowl with a handmixer. Add the sugar and spice. One the mix is cool, whip in the cream cheese or labneh and cream. Taste. Up the spices, if needed. Once it's all whipped up, thick, smooth and tasty, spread the mix over the chilled base.
Chill for 4 hrs in the fridge or 1hr in the freezer before serving. Will keep for 4 days in the fridge, also freezes beautifully.
*To make labneh, simply swirl a good pinch of salt through a 450g pot of natural yogurt. Pour it into a clean muslin cloth (no muslin cloth? Use a thin tea towel or even a pair of clean tights). Hang over a bowl overnight. Use the thickened yogurt in place of cream cheese. Use the leftover whey to make soda bread.