Pastry Chef Gabby Roberts has a new spin for a classic fall treat.

By Allie Justis, Photo courtesy of Chef Gabby Roberts

Gabby Roberts, the executive pastry chef at Chameleon Companies, offers up a unique spin on a classic fall favorite.

Although Roberts didn’t get her start in baking, through hard work and incredible guidance she worked her way up the ladder to the executive pastry chef position. Currently, Roberts works at four different locations across Austin, combining exotic flavors to make innovative desserts like sesame Twinkies and ginger panna cotta with lychee sauce.

“My favorite part of my job is getting to combine a bunch of different flavors to create great desserts that people will love,” says Roberts. “For a pastry chef, I actually have a big salt-tooth, and I’ve always loved combining sweet and savory flavors. Now I get to do that for a living, and it’s so great.”
Roberts chose to reveal her pumpkin cheesecake with a pecan filling and maple meringue. She selected the cheesecake because it’s an easy recipe to make at home that’s also fairly inexpensive. Roberts suggests for those who’d love to try this recipe to set out all the ingredients an hour or two beforehand to bring them all to room temperature. This helps blend all the ingredients together and ensures they don’t get too lumpy.

Roberts says taking the time to enjoy these fantastic fall flavors is an important step for self-care and overall long-term happiness.

“People should indulge more I think,” says Roberts. “Sometimes it’s hard on a tight budget, and at the restaurant, we’ll be lucky to get more than half of our customers to eat dessert sometimes. But I think it’s important to savor the little things in life and enjoy yourself by getting that little bit of dessert every once in a while.”

Pumpkin Cheesecake With Pecan Filling and Maple Meringue



For the crust:

¾ cup oats
½ cup + 3 tablespoons oat, gluten-free or all-purpose flour
½ cup + 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
½ cup + 2 tablespoons brown butter, melted

For the cheesecake:

7 eggs
1 ¼ cup sugar
5 cups cream cheese
2 tablespoons oat, gluten-free or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup cream
2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
15 oz. pumpkin puree

For the pecan filling:

1 cup + 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups + 3 tablespoons chopped pecans

For the maple meringue:

6 egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon maple extract


Crust directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°.
  2. Mix together all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Stir in melted brown butter until well combined.
  4. Press crust into a greased and lined springform pan.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool while mixing cheesecake batter.

Cheesecake directions:

  1. Lower the oven temperature to 300°.
  2. Whip eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add cream cheese in small pieces until all combined.
  4. Add flour, spices and salt.
  5. Drizzle in cream, vanilla bean paste and pumpkin.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared crust.
  7. Bake for 55 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool.

Pecan filling directions:

  1. In a small pot on the stovetop, bring all ingredients except the pecan pieces to a boil.
  2. Reduce to a simmer by stirring in the pecan pieces, simmering for about 6 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool at room temp.

Maple meringue directions:

  1. Heat egg whites and sugar over a double boiler to dissolve sugar, whisking continuously so whites don’t cook.
  2. Whip to soft peaks, then add salt, cream of tartar and both of the extracts while the mixer is still going, until fully whipped into stiff peaks.
  3. Once the cheesecake has cooled completely, remove from the pan, top with pecan filling and maple meringue and serve.



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