This is my Thanksgiving dessert of choice two years and running.
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
1 1/2 cups fresh or solid pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, cut into bits and softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon or Frangelico
2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon or Frangelico, or to taste
12-16 pecan halves for garnish
Crust: In a bowl combine the cracker crumbs, the pecans and the sugars. Stir in the butter and press the mixture into the bottom and 1/2-inch up the side of a buttered 9-inch springform pan. Chill crust for 1 hour.
Filling: In a bowl whisk together pumpkin, egg, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and brown sugar. In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together cream cheese and granulated sugar, beat in cream, cornstarch, vanilla, bourbon or liqueur and pumpkin mixture. Beat filling until smooth.
Pour filling into crust. Bake cheesecake in the middle of a preheated 350-degree oven for 50-55 minutes, or until the center is just set, and let it cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes.
Topping: In a bowl whisk together sour cream, sugar and bourbon or liqueur. Spread sour cream mixture over top of cheesecake and bake for 5 minutes more. Let the cheesecake cool in the pan on a rack and chill it, covered, overnight.
Remove the side of the pan and garnish the top of the cheesecake with pecans.