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Pumpkin Cheesecake

2 cups gingersnap crumbs (about 35 Nabisco gingersnaps)
3 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground ginger
2 1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground allspice
2 1/2 lbs. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 whole large eggs, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature

1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
14 pecan halves

Preheat oven to 375F. Place all crust ingredients in a bowl and
toss lightly with a fork until well blended. Press this mixture
firmly over the bottom of a 10-inch spring form pan. Bake it on
the bottom oven rack until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove it from
the oven and cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 300F, ad place
a roasting pan or baking dish filled with hot water on the bottom
rack of the oven to create moisture. For the cake filling, lightly
whisk together the pumpkin and spices in small bowl until blended.
Set aside. Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a medium-sized
mixing bowl with an electric mixer. Add the whole eggs, then egg
yolks one at a time. Mix on low speed. Blend each egg until
incorporated. Add the pumpkin mixture to the cream cheese batter
and blend on medium speed until the mixture is velvety. Pour the
filling over the crust.

Bake on the center oven rack until the top is set and a tester
inserted in the center comes out dry (about 1 hr, 40 min). Turn
off the oven and leave the cake in the oven for an additional hour.
Remove the cake from the over and let it cool on a wire rack for
several hours. While the cheesecake is cooking, prepare the topping:
Mix the sour cream and sugar together in a small bowl. Preheat the
oven to 375F. Spread the sour cream mixture evenly over the surface
of the cake with a spatula and sprinkle the chopped pecans on top.
Evenly space the pecan halves around the top edge of the cake. Bake
the cheesecake in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes to set the topping.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and refrigerate before serving.


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