Makes one 9- or 10-inch cheesecake, serving 12 to 16
7½ ounces gingersnap crumbs
3 T. (1 oz.) sugar
3 T. unsalted butter, melted
1½ pounds cream cheese, room temperature
15-ounce can of Libby’s pumpkin puree
1 cup (7 ounces) brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
½ cup (4 ounces) hazelnut liqueur (such as de Kuyper or Hiram Walker)
12 ounces sour cream
1/3 cup (3 ounces) brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Chopped, toasted hazelnuts with the skins rubbed off
Chocolate sauce for drizzle
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with butter or pan spray. (A 9-inch pan will give you a taller cheesecake. A 10-inch pan will yield more, but smaller, servings.)
2. In a small microwave-proof bowl or in a small saucepan on the stove, melt the butter. In a medium bowl, mix together the gingersnap crumbs and sugar. Add the melted butter and mix well. Place the crumb mixture onto the bottom of the pan, making sure to press the crumbs firmly to the edge of the pan. Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, place the cream cheese and mix on medium speed until smooth. Next, add the brown sugar and flour and mix until well blended. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the pumpkin puree and mix well. Then, add the vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves (or allspice) and mix until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl well again.
4. Add the eggs one at a time to the cream cheese mixture, mixing on low speed, and scraping the bowl after each addition. Then, with the mixer running on low speed, slowly pour in the hazelnut liqueur and mix until combined.
5. Pour the custard into the pan and place in the oven. Bake the cheesecake for approximately 50-60 minutes, or until the edges of the cheesecake are puffed and dried looking with tiny cracks, and the center jiggles only slightly when you gently shake the pan. (Note: I always turn the cheesecake about half way through the baking time to ensure even cooking as many ovens do not distribute heat evenly.)
6. While the cheesecake is baking, make the sour-cream topping. Combine the sour cream, brown sugar, and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until the ingredients are well combined and the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
7. After you remove the cheesecake from the oven, let it cool 15 minutes. Give the sour-cream topping a good stir and then gently pour it on top of the cheesecake, spreading it out so that it covers the entire cheesecake. (You can use a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon to do this.)
8. Place the cheesecake back in the 350°F oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature before putting the cheesecake in the refrigerator. Chill for six to eight hours or overnight, which is best. Then, release the cheesecake from the pan, cut, and serve. Garnish as desired.