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I am one of those people that does not like pumpkin pie. I cannot get past the texture of the pumpkin. However, I love the way the pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg smell when baked in a pumpkin pie. For dessert on Thanksgiving day, I make this cheesecake in place of that other pie.

I highly recommend using a premium bourbon in this recipe. In the past, I have used Blanton's and Knob Creek with excellent results. It is especially important for the topping, as it flavors the topping significantly.

For the crust:
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl combine the cracker crumbs, pecans, and sugars, stir in the butter.

2. Press the mixture into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the side of a buttered 9-inch springform pan. Using your the fingers is the easiest way to do this properly.

3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes.

4. Chill the crust for 1 hour in the refrigerator or 20 minutes in the freezer (if you are impatient like me).

For the filling
1 1/2 cups solid pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, cut into bits and softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon

Make the filling:
1. In a bowl whisk together the pumpkin, the egg, the cinnamon, the nutmeg, the ginger, the salt, and the brown sugar.

2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese and the granulated sugar, beat in the cream, cornstarch, vanilla, bourbon, and the pumpkin mixture, and beat the filling until it is smooth.

3. Pour the filling into the crust, bake the cheesecake in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the center is just set, and let it cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes.

For the topping
2 cups sour cream
3-4 tablespoons granulated sugar, or to taste
2-3 tablespoon bourbon
16 pecan halves for garnish

Make the topping:
1. In a bowl whisk together the sour cream, the sugar, and the bourbon.

2. Spread the sour cream mixture over the top of the cheesecake and bake the cheesecake for 5 minutes more.

3. Let the cheesecake cool in the pan on a rack and chill it, covered, overnight. Remove the side of the pan and garnish the top of the cheesecake with the pecans.

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