Vanilla Bean & Cinnamon Spiced Bartlett Pear Cheesecake

We were invited by a couple of friends to gather in celebration of Canadian Thanksgiving and their first little one due to arrive in the winter.
My sister came up to visit for the occasion, my mom cross-stitched sweet designs on tiny onesies, and I made this vanilla bean and cinnamon spiced pear cheesecake.

I had brought home a few bartlett pears from work determined to find a delicious use for them. As they quickly ripened, I began to wonder if I should take my Aunt's advice and make pear jam out of the sweet fruit before they became too ripe. 
This recipe was a delicious solution and made for a perfectly fall-flavored dessert with the slightly sweet pear flavor, warm spices, smooth texture, and creamy notes of vanilla.

I made it the night before the gathering and chilled it overnight. The following day, after taking a trip with my sister to meet my parents for endless hat shopping at a sample sale, I was ready to photograph this delicious creation. 
I was so excited about the lighting being just right, and the cake's swirl looking so photogenic. 
After about 20 photos had been taken, my beau came running into the kitchen, thrilled to show me the lovely gift wrapping job he and my sister had done. Responding to the excitement, I stood up quickly, my hip bumped the surface the cake was sitting on, and the backdrop fell flat on top of it.
I was crushed.

Quickly, and without hesitation, he picked it up, took out a small slice to widen the space where the original piece had come from to make it fit back in, and began re-forming it and smoothing it over. My sweet husband and sister fixed what could have been a game-over moment less than 30 minutes before the event.  

After fitting the cake back into the springform pan and placing it in the freezer to firm up, my beau turned to me and said, "You know what the bright side of this is?" Trying to figure out what positive could come of this, I looked up at his big smile and he went on, "I got to have a little piece of the pie." 
His uplifting remark and warm smile were enough to melt my heart and were a reminder of words that I try to keep in the back of my mind to see the good in everything
We brought the cheesecake to the event, thanks to my husband and sister, and it was much enjoyed.

Vanilla Bean & Cinnamon Spiced Bartlett Pear Cheesecake
makes one 10" springform pan

-1 cup almonds
-1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
-3 Tablespoons cocoa or cacao powder
-2 Tablespoons maple syrup
-2 Tablespoons coconut oil

-3 cups cashews, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
-3 cups cubed ripe pairs
-1 cup maple syrup
-1/2 cup coconut cream (solid portion in canned coconut milk)
-juice of 1 lemon (about 2 Tablespoons)
-1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-3/4 cup coconut oil
-1/4 reserved filling mixture
-1 1/2 ground cinnamon
-2 vanilla beans

1. Trace and cut a parchment paper circle to place inside of 10" springform pan.
2. Process all crust ingredients in food processor until mixture starts to rise up sides of processor. Scrape down with spatula or spoon and continue to process until mixture is consistent. The resulting texture should hold together with a gentle pressure and be broken apart with a clean break. Press mixture into bottom of parchment-lined springform pan. 
3. Begin preparing filling: Add all filling ingredients except coconut oil to blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Add melted coconut oil and blend until smooth and fully incorporated. Pour 2/3 to 3/4 of mixture into crust and springform pan. Add additional 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and 2 vanilla beans (scraped insides only). Blend until incorporated. Pour evenly over top of pie and swirl.
4. Freeze for 1-2 hours or until center is firm to the touch. Remove once firm, run a butter knife around edge of cake and release springform. Cut and serve. 

Store covered in refrigerator for up to 5 days
inspired by this recipe from Both Halves
optional substitutions...
-almonds: cashews, pecans
-coconut flakes: additional nuts
-maple syrup: preferred liquid sweetener
-coconut oil: avocado oil, olive oil

Mangia! Mangia!