Jim’s favorite dessert in the entire world is cheesecake. Several years ago, I baked Gourmet Magazine’s Pumpkin Bourbon Cheesecake, and it instantly became his new favorite. Over the years, I’ve tweaked the recipe little by little until it has taken its present (delicious) form.
For the crust
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about five graham crackers – use S’moreables gluten-free graham style crackers for GF)
- 1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 ounces), finely chopped
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice
For the filling
- 1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon caramel whiskey (Black Velvet or other)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
For the topping
- 2 cups sour cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon Black Velvet caramel whiskey
For the pecans
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter a 9″ spring form pan.
- Melt 1/4 cup butter in a saute pan over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally. When the butter begins to brown and smells slightly toasty, remove from heat and cool.
- Combine remaining crust ingredients in a food processor, pulsing for 10 one second pulses until fine crumbs form.
- Add butter to crust and pulse for five one second pulses.
- Press crust into bottom of prepared pan and refrigerate while you make the filling.
- Combine all filling ingredients in a large food processor. Process until well combined, scraping sides down occasionally.
- Pour filling over crust. Tap pan lightly against counter to remove air pockets.
- Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any leaks. Bake at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes, until sides are set but middle still slightly jiggles.
- Cool cheesecake on a wire rack for five minutes. Leave oven on.
- Meanwhile, combine topping ingredients, whisking to combine.
- Spread over cheesecake and return to oven. Bake an additional five minutes.
- Cool for two hours on a wire rack and then refrigerate for three hours before umolding. Top with spiced pecans (below).
- For pecans, melt butter over medium heat in a saute pan.
- Add pecans and cook, stirring, until they smell toasty, about five minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, and five spice powder.
- Toss hot pecans in sugar mixture.
- Use pecans to garnish top of the cheesecake.