Pumpkin Cheesecake

Holidays & Special Occasions Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cheesecake

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      Pumpkin Cheesecake

      1 cup graham cracker crumbs*
      1/3 cup ground toasted hazelnuts (any type of nut may be used)
      1/4 cup sugar
      1/4 cup butter, melted

      * Finely ground ginger cookies may be substituted for all or part of the graham cracker crumbs.

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and position rack in center of oven (too high or too low of rack placement will cause baking problems). Lightly grease (butter) a 9-inch springform pan.

      In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, hazelnuts, sugar, and butter. Mix well and press firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 7 minutes or until edges are light brown.

      Remove from oven and cool crust completely on a wire racks. Maintain oven temperature.

      2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature*
      1 cup granulated sugar
      1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
      1/4 cup sour cream
      1/4 cup whipping cream
      3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      1/3 teaspoon ground ginger
      1/3 teaspoon ground nutmeg
      1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
      1/8 cup all-purpose flour
      4 eggs, room temperature
      1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (either canned or homemade)

      * To quickly bring cream cheese to room temperature, place unwrapped package(s) in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 30 to 45 seconds or until slightly softened. Do not let it melt or get warm.

      Refrigerate if it does.

      note: use a conventional oven rather than a convection oven in baking your cheesecake. the forced hot air from the convection oven causes too much browning and can often cause the center of the cheesecake to collapse.

      in a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract. add sour cream and whipping cream; beat, on low speed, just until smooth. mix in cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and flour.

      add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition; beat in pumpkin. note: do not over beat the mixture. you want to avoid beating air into the mixture.

      too much air will make the cheesecake fall.

      pour pumpkin mixture into prepared graham cracker crust, using the back of a spoon to spread evenly over the crust (this helps get rid of any extra air bubbles).

      place cheesecake in center of middle oven rack. position a baking pan filled halfway with hot water on lower rack. bake 15 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake another 70 minutes or until edges are light brown and center is almost set.

      NOTE: There should be no wet spots or liquid areas in the center of the cheesecake. Remember that a cheesecake continues to cook when it is removed from the oven.

      Turn oven off. Let cake stand in oven, with door ajar, 30 minutes or until center is completely set.

      Cool cheesecake completely on a wire rack before refrigerating. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours before cutting (the cheesecake will solidify to a perfect consistency during this time).

      To serve, slide a small knife around edges of cake to loosen it and remove sides of the springform pan; transfer onto a cake plate.

      NOTE: If a crack should appear, simply blend together some sour cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract; spread over the top when ready to serve.

      Makes 10 to 12 servings.

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Holidays & Special Occasions Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cheesecake