PUMPKIN AND GINGERSNAPS CHEESECAKE
Thanks to the Washington Post (Nov.1994) for printing this luscious special dessert. Over the years I've adjusted the recipe slightly each time I've made it. It's just plain totally yummy!
Serves: 14-16
Prep.Time: 40 minutes + 1-1/4 hour baking
CRUST:
1/2 cup finely crushed Gingersnaps
1/2 cup finely ground Walnuts
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
5 tablespoons Unsalted Butter -- melted
CAKE:
2 1/2 pounds Cream Cheese -- at room temperature
1 1/4 cups firmly packed Light Brown Sugar
5 Eggs
2 Egg Yolks
1 1/2 cups Pumpkin puree (solid pack)
2 tablespoons All-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Mace
1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
3/4 cup Evaporated Milk
GARNISH:
Gingersnap Halves
Nutmeg
Ground Walnuts
Whipped Cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

CRUST:
Place gingersnaps and walnuts into bowl of a food processor; process until finely ground. Into a medium bowl, measure out 1-1/4 cups of gingersnap mixture. Add the brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon and salt and whisk until well-mixed. Add the butter, mix well and press mixture into the bottom of a lightly oiled 9" opr 10" spring-form pan. Chill while preparing batter.

FILLING: In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and brown sugar on slow speed of an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs and egg yolks, one at a time and blend on low speed until a smooth batter is formed. Add pumpkin, flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla and milk, mixing and scraping sides and bottom of mixing bowl frequently, until smooth. Do not overmix.

Wrap the base of the prepared pan with heavy duty foil with the edges to come up to the top of the pan but not over. Place the pan into a shallow baking pan or large roasting pan. Pour the filling into the pan and carefully place the pan into the oven. Bake 15 miutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees and pour about 2 cups cold water into the bottom of the large pan. Close the oven door and continue baking 60-75 minutes, or until cake seems firm in the center. Leave cake in the oven, turn off heat and allow the cake to come almost to room temperature.

Remove the pans from the oven. Remove the cake pan but leave the foil wrapped around it. Cut out a circle of wax paper to fit the pan and gently cover the top of the cake, making sure the paper comes to the edges, but do not press down on it. This will keep a "skin" from forming on top of the cake. Refrigerate the cake at least 8 hours or overnight.

Remove cake from the refrigerator. Use a table knife rinsed in hot water to gently go around the edge of the cake. Remove the springform and place cake on a serving plate. If desired, place gingersnap halves around edge of cake; sprinkle center with nutmeg and nuts. Serve, garnished with whipped cream.

Copyright 2004 Carol Stevens, Shaboom's Kitchen, All Rights Reserved