Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Crust
30 gingersnaps (to yield 1 1/2 cups crumbs)
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each), at room temperature
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, homemade or canned unsweetened
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To prepare the crust: Finely grind the cookies and pecans with the
brown sugar in a food processor. Add the melted butter and pulse
until incorporated. Press this mixture into the bottom and 2 3/4
inches up the sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Set aside.
To prepare the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the
whisk attachment, combine the cream cheese, eggs and sugar and beat
at medium speed until light and smooth, about 8 minutes. Transfer
3/4 cup of this mixture to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate to
use for the topping. Add the pumpkin puree, cream, cinnamon and
allspice to the remaining cream cheese mixture and beat until
well-combined. Pour the filling into the prepared crust.
Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the cheesecake puffs,
the top browns and the center moves just a little when jiggled.
Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Then
run a knife between the sides of the pan and the cheesecake to
release it from the sides and let cool completely on the rack.
Remove the sides of the pan and set the cheesecake on a serving
plate. Cover and refrigerate for at least several hours or
overnight. Before serving, spoon the reserved cream cheese mixture
evenly over top of cheesecake. Serve with cups of dark roast coffee.
Note: To make your own pumpkin puree, quarter and seed a 3-pound pie
pumpkin. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 1 hour, or until very tender.
Scoop out the seeds, then scoop out the flesh and mash with a fork
while it is still warm.
From "Frank Stitt's Southern Table"