This holiday treat is similar to the popular dessert served at the Cheesecake Factory. Make this dessert a day in advance to allow the cake to rest and the flavors to blend for a rich and creamy dessert. Serve with coffee or your favorite warm holiday beverage.
1 1/2 cups of graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
5 tablespoons of butter, melted
1 cup of sugar + 1 tablespoon of sugar
3, 8 ounce packages of cream cheese
1 teaspoon real vanilla
1 cup of canned pumpkin
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of allspice
1/2 cup of chopped almonds (optional)
whipped cream, fresh made is best but canned makes a great substitute
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stir well enough to coat all of the crumbs with the butter, but not so much as to turn the mixture into paste. Keep it crumbly but not dry. Put foil partway up the outside part of an 8-inch springform pan.
Make the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and 1 T sugar in a medium bowl.
Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about two-thirds of the way up the sides of the springform pan. The crust will not go all the way up the sides of the pan. Place the crust in the oven for about five minutes and then remove from the oven.
In a large mixing bowl combine cream cheese, one cup of sugar and the vanilla. Mix with a mixer until it is smooth and creamy, no lumps.
Add in the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and continue to beat with a mixture until it is well blended. Pour carefully over the graham cracker crust that you have made. Take a cookie sheet and place your cake in the middle. Fill the cookie sheet with water and carefully place the cookie sheet/cake in the oven. The foil will prevent water from leaking into your pan. The water will help keep your cake moist during the baking process. Bake for 60 minutes. The top of the cake will turn a light brown. The cake will also rise so be careful when removing it from the oven when it is done. Cool cheesecake for two hours or until it is room temp. Place the cooled cheesecake in the fridge for at least six hours, you may want to cover it lightly with plastic wrap. The cake will begin to settle and not appear as “puffy”, this is normal. Cake serves 8 adults.