I love pumpkin, but don’t love cheesecake, however, this is the best desert I’ve ever had. Don’t scrimp on the quality of the ingredients -- you know how that is. The cake is best made the day before you intend to eat it and it doesn’t hold up for more than two days (don’t worry, it won’t last that long).
Make crust at least one hour in advance of baking (in a preheated to 350 °s F oven)
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter melted and cooled
Mix the ingredients in a bowl and press the mixture onto the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a buttered 9-inch springform pan
Chill the crust for at least an hour.
In one bowl:
1 1/2 cups pumpkin (canned OK, the small can is about 1 1/2 cups -- it says on the label)
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
Whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and brown sugar.
In another bowl for a mixer:
three 8-ounce packages of good cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
Cream the cream cheese and sugar together with an electric mixer. Beat in the cream, cornstarch, vanilla, the bourbon and the pumpkin mixture until smooth.
-Pour the mixture in the pan and place on the middle rack of a preheated 350 °F oven. (Some of the butter may drip out of the pan, so a small cookie sheet or piece of aluminum foil on a rack below might be a good idea to keep the smoke down.)
-Cook for 50 to 55 minutes until the center is just set and then remove it (do not turn the oven off) and set on a rack for five minutes...
Prepare the topping, below, and after five minutes, carefully pour and spread it evenly over the top and return the cake to the oven for FIVE MINUTES MORE.
can be prepared while cake bakes, but before it is done:
1 pint sour cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon, Wild Turkey, etc.
Let the cake cool completely, cover the entire pan with plastic wrap and chill it overnight. Remove the springform pan and decorate if you like with 12 to 18 half pecans – like numbers on a clock -- which may also help mark the places to cut – in between the pecans.