Cover cashews with boiling-hot water. Let rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 1 hour. Then drain thoroughly and set aside.
In the meantime, add dates to a food processor and blend until small bits remain, or it forms a ball. Remove and set aside.
Add walnuts and salt to food processor and process into a meal. Then add dates back in and blend until a loose dough forms - it should stick together when you squeeze a bit between your fingers. If too crumbly, add a few more dates. If too sticky, add more crushed walnuts. Set aside.
If using a springform pan (7" or smaller works best), line with parchment paper. If using ramekins (you'll need 4-6 depending on size) or muffin tins (12 standard), cut parchment paper into circles the size of the base of your ramekins or muffin tins. Also, cut out two long strips of parchment paper per ramekin and lay them in an "X" shape at the base. Top with circle shape. This creates little tabs that make removing the cheesecakes easier to pop out once set. (For muffin tins, you can also just use cupcake liners.) Note: You can also make in a standard, 9" cake pan – just line the whole dish with parchment paper for easy removal.
Divide crust evenly among ramekins or tins (or springform pan), and press down with fingers to evenly distribute. Use a small glass wrapped in parchment paper, or the back of a spoon, to press down firmly, allowing some crust to come up the sides. Set in freezer.
Once cashews are soaked and drained, add to a high-speed blender with remaining filling ingredients and puree until very smooth - 2-3 minutes. If it has trouble blending add a touch more coconut milk (or almond milk). Taste and adjust flavor/sweetness as needed.
Divide filling evenly among the ramekins or tins (or pour into a parchment-lined springform pan). Tap a few times to release any air bubbles, then cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze until firm - about 4-6 hours, depending on size of dish.
Once set, run a butter knife along the edge and gently remove by tugging on the tabs in an upward motion. They should pop right out. If they aren't quite set, pop them back in the freezer until firm. If using a springform pan, simply pop open and remove cheesecake.
Serve with a touch of coconut whipped cream and brown sugar pecans (optional | recipe links above).
Store leftovers in the freezer for 7-10 days, though best when enjoyed within the first 3-4 days. Let thaw at room temperature ~20 minutes (or more as needed) before serving for best texture.
*Grade A maple syrup is best in this recipe - I didn't prefer Grade B, as its flavor was a bit too intense and overwhelmed the pumpkin. *Prep time includes soaking cashews and freezing. *Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated using medium-sized ramekins and does not include additional toppings.