Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap and Pecan Crust

from ButterYum
makes a 9-inch cheesecake, enough to serve 12  
adapted from Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 4 1/4 ounces gingersnap cookies, broken into pieces
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup) pecans, toasted
  • 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 pinches table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:

  • 1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree (Rose recommends Libby's)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar or turbinado sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 16 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks

For the Caramel Sauce:

For the Garnish:

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x2½-inch or higher springform pan. Wrap the pan in a double-layer of heavy duty aluminum foil (the kind that comes in the 17" width) to keep the cheesecake dry while it bakes in the water bath.

Make the crust:

  1. In a food processor, process the ginger snaps, pecans, sugar, salt, and cinnamon (if using) until the cookies become fine crumbs, about 20 seconds.
  2. Add the melted butter and pulse just until incorporated.
  3. Use a flat-bottomed glass or measuring cup to press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and part-way up the sides of the prepared springform pan.
  4. Cover the crust with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

Make the filling:

  1. In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir the pumpkin puree and sugar together.
  2. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a sputtering simmer, stirring constantly for about 5 min.
  3. Turn the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture has darkened and thickened to the consistency of applesauce, about 5 min.
  4. Scrape the mixture into a large food processor and process for 1 minute with the feed tube open so the steam can escape, scraping down the sides if needed.
  5. With the motor running, add the chilled cream.
  6. Add the softened cream cheese and process for 30 seconds or until smoothly incorporated, scraping down the sides two or three times.
  7. Add the eggs and yolks and process for about 5 seconds or just until incorporated.

Bake the cheesecake:

  1. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan.
  2. Set the pan in a larger pan (a 12x2-inch cake pan or a roasting pan) and surround it with 1 inch of very hot water.
  3. Check that the oven temperature is 350°F and bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes.
  4. Turn off the oven without opening the door and let the cheesecake cool for 1 hour.
  5. Transfer the cake to a rack (the center will still be jiggly) and cool to room temperature for about 1 hour.
  6. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Make the caramel:

  1. In a med heavy-bottom pan over medium-high heat, stir together the sugar, syrup, and the water until the sugar dissolves and the mixture bubbles (stir constantly).
  2. Stop stirring and allow the syrup to boil continue boiling until it turns a deep amber and reaches 360F. 
  3. Immediately remove the caramel from the heat and carefully pour the hot cream into it (the mixture will bubble furiously).
  4. Use a high temperature spatula to stir the mixture until smooth, scraping the thicker part that settles on the bottom.
  5. If any lumps develop, return the pan to the heat and stir until they dissolve.
  6. Stir in the butter. The mixture will be streaky but become uniform after cooling slightly and stirring; rest for 3 minutes.
  7. Gently stir in the vanilla extract.
  8. Cool to room temperature before drizzling on cheesecake.

Unmold, garnish, and slice:

  1. Be sure the cheesecake is thoroughly chilled.
  2. Have ready a serving plate and another flat plate or clean plastic cutting board that's at least as wide as the springform and covered in plastic wrap.
  3. Wipe a hot, damp cloth around the outside of the ring (or use a hair dryer).
  4. Run a metal spatula or a thin knife inside the ring.
  5. Release and gently loosen the ring and then lift it off.
  6. Set the plate with the plastic wrap on top of the cheesecake and carefully invert the pan.
  7. Heat the base of the springform with a hot, damp cloth or hair dryer and lift it off.
  8. Set the serving plate lightly on the bottom of the cheesecake (which is now facing up) and reinvert the cake.
  9. Lift off the plastic-wrapped plate.
  10. Arrange the pecan halves around the perimeter of the cake.
  11. To cut neat slices, dip thin-bladed knife in hot water and dry with a towel between each slice. 

Click here to see the original post about this recipe on Rose's blog.


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