Oh, my! This was REALLY good chicken! The cheesecake is light and creamy. I love how the pumpkin makes it not quite so rich, so you can have a bigger piece!
By the way, I knew that Jesse had a big birthday lunch at work, so when he got home, I took Valerie's advice and only served dessert! Now that's how you celebrate a birthday! Happy Birthday, my handsome man!
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 24 squares) -- I used crushed vanilla wafers and eliminated the sugar; ginger snaps would have been divine, too!
2 T. granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted (I used 5 T., which I thought was plenty)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
4 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9" springform pan with shortening. In small bowl, mix crust ingredients. Press crust softly in bottom of pan. Wrap foil around outside of pan to prevent drips. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
In another small bowl, mix flour, pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin; set aside. In large bowl, beat cream cheese with mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in brown sugar and 2/3 cup granulated sugar until smooth. On low speed, beat in 1 egg at a time just until blended. Gradually beat in pumpkin mixture until smooth.
Pour filling over crust. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes (mine should have baked at least another 10 minutes, so 1 hour 35 minutes) or until set but center of cheesecake still jiggles slightly when moved (I think it means very slightly jiggles; mine jiggled a little more than slightly, and when I cut into the cheesecake, it wasn't quite done in the very center). Turn oven off; open oven door at least 4 inches. Let cheesecake remain in oven 30 minutes.
Run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Cool in pan on wire rack 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight before serving. To serve, run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Carefully remove side of pan before cutting cheesecake. Store covered in refrigerator.
ps - I wish I would have used the waterbath method and maybe the cheesecake wouldn't have cracked down the middle. You can read about how to do a waterbath here.