I love this cheesecake in the fall and winter. I always make in for Thanksgiving and usually Christmas dinner too. If my memory serves me, I got it from the Fine Cooking magazine about 15 years ago.
For the filling:
2 lb. (four 8-oz. packages) Cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups Packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. Ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground ginger
1/4 tsp. Ground allspice
1/4 tsp. Freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Salt
4 Large eggs
2 Large egg yolks
1 tbsp. Pure vanilla extract
One (15-oz.) Can pure solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
Set out the ingredients: At least 4 hours before you begin, set the cream cheese,
eggs, and on your kitchen counter because it’s essential that the ingredients be
at room temperature before you mix the batter.
For the gingersnap crust:
About 40 Gingersnap wafers (to yield 2 cups cookie crumbs)
1/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
2-1/2 oz. (5 Tbs.) Unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the crust:
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Pulse the cookies and brown sugar in a food processor until well combined and
the crumbs are uniform.
Transfer to a medium bowl; add the melted butter. Combine thoroughly, first with a spoon and then with your fingers, until the mixture is evenly moist, crumbly, and holds together when you squeeze a handful.
Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and partway up the sides of a 9-inch spring-form pan. Chill for 5 minutes and then bake for 10 minutes. Let cool.
For the filling:
Heat a kettle of water.
With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and salt. Add this mixture to the cream cheese. Beat until well blended, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, making sure each is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next, and scraping down the bowl after each.
Blend in the vanilla and pumpkin.
Pour the batter into the cooled crust. The batter will come up past the crust and will fill the pan to the rim. Tap the pan gently once or twice on the counter to release any air bubbles.
Set the pan in a larger baking dish (a roasting pan is good), and place in oven. Add enough hot
water from the kettle to the pan to come about halfway up the sides of the spring-form pan.
Bake until the top of the cake looks deep golden and burnished and the center is set (the cake may just barely begin to crack), 1 hour 35 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. The cake will jiggle a little bit when tapped. The top may rise a bit but will settle as it cools.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and run a thin-bladed knife between the crust and the pan sides (this will prevent the cake from breaking as it cools). Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature in the pan on a wire cooling rack.
Cover and chill overnight.