- 9” springform pan
- Hand mixer or stand mixer (or both)
- Large roasting pan, large enough to fit your springform pan in the center with room to spare.
- Wide aluminum foil
- 1 cup pecans
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (ginger snaps are also really good)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (You can use browned butter here, which is really delicious. Just make sure it cools back down to a softened butter consistency.)
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 fifteen-ounce cans pumpkin puree drained very, very well. (You can use a yogurt strainer and let the liquid drip out on its own—this takes a while, or you can put one can’s worth of puree in a clean kitchen towel and do the twist and squeeze to get as much liquid as you can out then repeat with the other can and another towel.) You want about two cups worth of the drained puree for the cheesecake.
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons bourbon (we use Knob Creek)
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 4 eight-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 cups tightly packed dark brown sugar
- Put pecans, flour, brown sugar and graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until very small. Add in butter and egg yolk and continue to process until the mix is fine and there are no large chunks of pecans or graham cracker.
- Press into the bottom of a 9” springform pan and bake for 10 minutes at 375°F. You’ll start to smell the nuts toast. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Mix in the salt, 2 cups of pumpkin puree, vanilla and bourbon. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the side and bottom of your bowl to make sure you’ve incorporated the eggs well.
- In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until creamy and smooth. This can take a little bit to make sure there aren’t any little cream cheese blobs. If there are smaller blobs of cream cheese, they will show up in the final cheesecake, but it doesn’t affect the taste. However, if you beat the cheesecake batter too much, you introduce too much air into the batter and it can cause cracks in the final cake because it will rise really tall, and then fall. This also doesn’t affect the taste. Using room temperature cream cheese and eggs helps to make the combining a bit easier.
- Gradually add the pumpkin mixture to the cream cheese mixture until fully incorporated. Stop once or twice to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure you’re getting good distribution of the pumpkin mixture throughout the batter.
- Bring a kettle or small pot of water to boil and preheat your oven to 325°F.
- Place 3 pieces of wide aluminum foil stacked on the counter, each offset from the ones below (rotate the upper two pieces 45-90 degrees so the stack looks sort of like a star). Place the cooled crust in the springform pan in the center of the foil stack and wrap the outside of the pan to protect it from the impending water bath. Don’t fold the foil over the edges of the springform pan otherwise it’ll bake into the cheesecake, just roll it backwards a bit.
- Place the wrapped springform pan into a large roasting pan. There needs to be room on all sides to allow the water to pass around. Pour the cheesecake batter into the springform pan.
- Put the roasting pan in the center of the oven and pour the boiling water into the pan so it comes about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake for about 90 minutes. The outside should be firm, the inside should jiggle. Once you’ve finished baking, turn the oven off, roll up a kitchen towel or oven mitt and prop the oven door open.
- Let the cheesecake cool in the propped open oven for another hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it come to room temperature (we usually do this overnight on the counter). Once the cheesecake has cooled down, rest in the fridge for several hours until completely chilled.
- When you’re ready to serve, run the backside of a knife (or an offset spatula) around the sides of the pan to release the cheesecake from the sides, then slowly unlock the pan and remove the sides.
- Top with whipped cream (or not— totally up to you) and enjoy!
Store cheesecake wrapped tightly in plastic in the fridge where it will last 4-5 days. You can also store it in the freezer if you wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then store in a zipper freezer bag.
This will make them last a couple of months. If you go the freezer route, it’s easier to slice the cheesecake into individual servings, to wrap and store. Then you have cheesecake on-demand, just pull it out and put it in the fridge the night before to defrost.
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