Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake
From the October/November 2016 issue of Eat Drink Mississippi
1-1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup solid-pack pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup creme fraiche, homemade (see below) or store-bought or sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Lightly butter an 8- or 8-1/2-inch springform pan.
To make the crust: Stir together all of the ingredients in a medium bowl until all the crumbs or moistened. Press the mixture over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
To make the filling: With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large, deep bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour and pumpkin pie spice and beat on low speed until combined. Add the pumpkin puree, creme fraiche, and vanilla, and beat until just combined. Pour the filling into the shell.
Place the cheesecake on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees F and continute baking for 1 hour.
Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake cool in the oven for two and a half hours. Then transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, tightly covered, for at least 10 hours, until thoroughly chilled and set, or up for 2 days.
To serve, run a knife around the side of the cheesecake and remove the side of the pan. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature, cut into thin wedges with a sharp knife dipped into hot water and wiped dry after each cut.
Creme Fraiche (Makes 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream with live cultures
Pour the cream into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and spoon in the creme fraiche. Let sit on the counter, with the lid slightly ajar, until the mix thickens, from 4 to 24 hours, depending on the weather. Refrigerate, tightly covered, until ready to use.