Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 1/2 cups finely ground gingersnap cookies
3/4 cup ground hazelnuts
3 tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups canned solid pack pumpkin
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons water
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Mix first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add butter and stir until just
combined. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of a
9-inch springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes and cool.
Beat the cream cheese and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until
fluffy. Beat in the pumpkin. Add the whipping cream, maple syrup, vanilla
extract, ground cinnamon and ground allspice, Beat on medium speed until smooth.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well just until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared crust and bake about 90 minutes, until the
cheesecake is puffed and the center is set (cheesecake will rise a little above
the sides of the pan). Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes. Run a
small sharp knife around pan sides to loosen cheesecake. Cool completely, cover
and refrigerate overnight. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. You can also freeze it
for up to 3 months if you first wrap it in plastic wrap and then foil.)
For praline: Line a cookie sheet with foil and butter it well. Stir sugar and 6
tablespoons water in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat until the sugar
dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup turns deep golden
brown, bushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan
occasionally. Stir in chopped toasted hazelnuts. Immediately pour praline onto
prepared cookie sheet, spreading with back of spoon to thickness of about 1/4
inch. Cool completely.
Break praline in 2-inch jagged pieces and either arrange them on top of
cheesecake or set them into mounds ( by spoon or with a decorator tip ) of
whipped cream thatís whipped with a little sugar and nutmeg.