Pumpkin Cheesecake

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I was recently asked to make two desserts for the dessert dash at a fundraising auction. After a quick search online, I came across this recipe on Epicurious. It is from Gourmet magazine, which is one of my favorites for recipes, so I wanted to give it a try.

IMG_4056[1]The recipe was originally published in 1990—and to be honest, I bet I made it 20 years ago.

This time, however, I adapted the original recipe by substituting gluten-free graham crackers (available at specialty grocery stores). It was so simple. Plus, I was surprised how good the flavor was in the gluten-free graham crackers. At right is box from the brand I used.

Whether you opt for the gluten-free or original version, this will make a delicious addition to your holiday feast.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake
Serves 12 to 14
¾ cup gluten-free graham cracker crumbs (from five 4¾- by 2¼-inch crackers)
½ cup pecans (1¾ ounces), finely chopped
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ stick (¼ cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1½ cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups sour cream (20 ounces)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
Garnish: pecan halves

First, prepare the crust:
Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (to create a flat bottom, which will make it easier to remove cake from pan), then lock on side and butter pan.

Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and ½ inch up the side of the pan, then chill for about 1 hour.

Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350°F.

Next, make the filling:
Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined.

Stir together granulated sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in a large bowl. Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)

Finally, make the topping:
Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 minutes.

Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.

Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving.

Baked cheesecake can be stored, chilled and covered, for up to two days.

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