In the Kitchen: Pumpkin Cheesecake

    Chef Becky's Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake could be the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal. Photo courtesy of Craig Volpe.<p>{/p}

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    Thanksgivng is just a few weeks away and you may be searching for the perfect dessert to finish the meal. Instead of using a graham cracker crust, Chef Becky uses gingersnap cookies instead. It may take some time to make, but the final result is worth it.

    Chef Becky’s Pumpkin Cheesecake


    8 ounces gingersnap cookies

    1/4 cup butter, melted


    32 ounces cream cheese, softened

    1 1/2 cups sugar

    3 large eggs

    15 ounces pumpkin, canned

    1 cup heavy cream

    2 teaspoons vanilla

    2 teaspoons cinnamon

    1 teaspoon ginger, ground

    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

    1/2 teaspoon allspice

    1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground

    Special Equipment: 9 inch springform pan, parchment paper, 18 inch wide foil, and a large roasting pan.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the gingersnap cookies and melted butter in a food processor. Grind until cookies are fine crumbs. Cover the bottom of a springform pan with parchment paper. Spray the inside ring of the pan with non-stick spray. Press cookie crumbs firmly into the bottom, creating a smooth, packed crust. Bake for 10 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool while preparing filling. Maintain oven temperature.

    Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Add pumpkin and remaining 7 ingredients. Mix well.

    Pour filling into prepared crust. Use two large pieces of foil to double-wrap the cheesecake. Leave the top of the cheesecake uncovered. This will prevent water from seeping into the cheesecake.

    Place springform pan in large roasting pan. Add enough warm water to come halfway up sides of springform pan.

    Bake cheesecake for 90 minutes. Transfer springform pan to rack and cool. Refrigerate cake overnight uncovered.

    Using knife, cut around sides of pan to loosen cake. Release pan sides. Cut cheesecake into wedges and serve.

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