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Double-Layer Harvest Cheesecake

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Everyone loves cheesecake. And, around Thanksgiving and Christmas time, everyone loves pumpkin pie. Combine those two favorites to create this spectacular (and ultra-rich) dessert.

Note: For mini cheesecakes, see "tips" at the end of the recipe.

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At a glance

Prep
Bake
Total
Yield
one 9" square,12 to 16 servings

Ingredients

Choose your measure:

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups gingersnap crumbs (made from about 2 cups cookies) or graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup pecan meal or almond flour (or finely ground pecans or almonds)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, melted

Cheesecake filling

  • 2 cups (two 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup mini diced ginger, optional
  • 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream

Pumpkin filling

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 3/4 cups (one 15-ounce can) plain pumpkin or pumpkin purée
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup light cream or evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Instructions

  1. To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Have a 9" square x 2" tall cake pan ready.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the dry crust ingredients, then mix in the melted butter.
  3. Press the crumbs into the bottom and 1/2" up the sides of the pan. Use a piece of plastic wrap to prevent the crumbs from sticking to your fingers.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes, until set. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  5. To make the cheesecake filling: Mix together the cream cheese and sugar until no lumps remain. Stir in the cornstarch, eggs, vanilla, and the candied ginger, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  6. Stir in the cream and spoon the filling onto the crust. Shake the pan to level the cheesecake layer.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes.
  8. To make the pumpkin filling: While the cheesecake layer is baking, whisk together the sugar, salt, and spices in a medium bowl. Add the pumpkin, cornstarch, cream or evaporated milk, and eggs, and whisk gently until smooth. (You don't want to beat a lot of air into this mixture; just be sure it's thoroughly combined.)
  9. After the cheesecake layer has baked for 12 minutes, remove it from the oven and gently spoon the pumpkin filling over it. (Do this carefully at first, so as not to disturb the cheesecake layer; once you've covered the cheesecake, you can be less careful.)
  10. Reduce the oven heat to 325°F, and bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes. It's done when it looks set, but still wobbles a bit in the center when you jiggle it. (If you have an instant-read thermometer, it'll register 165°F at its center when it's done.)
  11. Remove the cake from the oven, and run a dull knife around the edges to loosen it. Allow it to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it until serving time.
  12. Garnish with candied pecans, if desired. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream flavored with a pinch of ginger and teaspoon of vanilla.
  13. Store refrigerated for up to 5 days.