Pumpkin Bourbon Cheesecake - Gourmet 1990

The first time I made this Pumpkin Bourbon Cheesecake it was 1990 and I was in college in Washington DC.  I wasn't going home until Christmas and it was the first time for me to spend Thanksgiving away from my family.  It was the smallest Thanksgiving I've ever had, but still one of my favorite memories with just the four of us having this beautiful elegant meal.  

I continues to make that Cheesecake year after year after year.  In fact I wrote about it when my heart was broken when Gourmet ceased publication.   I had learned to cook from the pages of Gourmet and it was my favorite magazine.  After I posted the article, the wife of one of the former editors of Gourmet magazine found me.  She said her husband had passed away and that she was looking for someone to give his collection too.  The only condition was that I never sell it.  I could give it away or share it but never sell it.  I treasure it deeply. 

For the crust
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the filling
1 1/2 cups solid pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, cut into bits and softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon if desired

For the topping
2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon, or to taste

16 pecan halves for garnish

Make the crust:
In a bowl combine the cracker crumbs, the pecans, and the sugars, stir in the butter, and press the mixture into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the side of a buttered 9-inch springform pan. Chill the crust for 1 hour.

Make the filling:

In a bowl whisk together the pumpkin, the egg, the cinnamon, the nutmeg, the ginger, the salt, and the brown sugar. In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the cream cheese and the granulated sugar, beat in the cream, the cornstarch, the vanilla, the bourbon liqueur, and the pumpkin mixture, and beat the filling until it is smooth.
Pour the filling into the crust, bake the cheesecake in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the center is just set, and let it cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes.

Make the topping:

In a bowl whisk together the sour cream, the sugar, and the bourbon liqueur.
Spread the sour cream mixture over the top of the cheesecake and bake the cheesecake for 5 minutes more. Let the cheesecake cool in the pan on a rack and chill it, covered, overnight. Remove the side of the pan and garnish the top of the cheesecake with the pecans.


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