Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients:
For the crust:
5 oz.ginger snaps, broken into large pieces
3 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground allspice
½ tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream

Need:
Food Processor
Electric Mixer
Springform pan
Roasting pan

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325˚ F and place an oven rack in the lower-middle position.  Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan tightly with two pieces of foil.  Spray the inside of the pan lightly with cooking spray.  To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar, and spices in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse to process until evenly and finely ground.  Add the melted butter to the bowl and pulse again until the crumbs are evenly moistened.  Transfer the crumbs to the prepared springform pan and press firmly into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.  Bake until fragrant and browned at the edges, about 15 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 30 minutes.  Set the pan inside a larger roasting pan.

Bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil; maintain at a simmer.  To make the filling, combine the sugar, spices and salt in a small bowl; whisk to blend and set aside.  Line a work surface with a triple layer of towels.  Spread the pumpkin on the towels and cover with a second triple layer of towels.  Press firmly until the towels are saturated with excess liquid.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and softened, about 1 minute.  Add about a third of the sugar-spice mixture to the bowl and beat at medium-low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.  Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed and repeat, adding the remaining sugar mixture in two additions.  Add the pumpkin puree, vanilla and lemon juice; beat at medium speed until blended, about 45 seconds.  Add 3 of the eggs and mix on medium-low until incorporated; repeat with the remaining two eggs.  Add the heavy cream and beat at low speed until combined, about 45 seconds.  Use a rubber spatula to give the mixture a final stir by hand.

Pour the filling into the springform pan, over the crust.  Smooth the top.  Pour enough simmering water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.  Bake until the cake is slightly wobbly when the pan is shaken and the center reads 150˚ F on an instant-read thermometer, about 90 minutes.  Transfer the roasting pan to a wire rack and cool until the water is just warm, about 45 minutes.  Remove the springform pan from the water bath, discard the foil, and run a paring knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake.  Cool until barely warm, about 3 hours.  Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.

To serve, remove the sides of the springform pan.  Slide a thin metal spatula between the crust and the bottom of the pan to loosen.  Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

 

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