1/2 cup pecan halves
14 graham crackers or digestive biscuits
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
4 x 8 oz blocks cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs
15 oz can pumpkin puree
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp corn flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Chopped pecans, caramel sauce and/or whipped cream, to garnish
For the base: Preheat the oven to 180°C. Wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform tin with two layers of aluminium foil, allowing the foil to come a couple inches up the sides of the pan. (This prevents water from seeping into the pan while the cheesecake cooks in a water bath.) Lightly coat the inside of the pan with cooking spray.
Place the pecan halves and the graham crackers/biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to fine crumbs. Add the sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Drizzle in the melted butter (microwave it for few seconds) and process until well combined.
Press the crumb mixture evenly along the bottom and partially up the sides of the pan. Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
For the filling: Beat the cream cheese and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed, 2 to 3 minutes, until combined and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Lower the mixer speed and beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just incorporated. Beat in the pumpkin, sour cream, and vanilla until combined. With the mixer on low, beat in the cornflour, spices, and salt.
Bring a pot of water to a boil for your cheesecake’s water bath.
Pour the filling into the crust. Place the cheesecake in the centre of a large roasting pan. Transfer the pan to the oven and carefully pour the boiling water into the roasting pan. (The water should come about halfway up the sides of the pan).
Bake the cheesecake for 65 to 75 minutes, until the cheesecake is firm around the edges, but the centre retains a slight jiggle. Turn the oven off, crack the oven door just slightly (you can use a wooden spoon to keep the door slightly open), and allow the cheesecake to rest in the oven for 1 additional hour.
Carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath. Place the springform pan on a cooling rack until it cools to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.
When ready to serve, remove the sides of the springform pan and garnish the cheesecake with chopped pecans, caramel sauce or whipped cream, if you like.