Fall Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Photo: James Carrier
Yields Makes 10 to 12 servings (see notes)
Notes: If making individual cheesecakes ahead, chill airtight in pans up to 1 day. Freeze in pans up to 1 week; thaw, wrapped, in the refrigerator for 12 to 18 hours. If desired, reheat in a 325° oven for 10 to 12 minutes. To make a large, single cheesecake (to serve up to 12), use a 9-inch tart pan with removable rim. In step 2 reduce butter to about 1 tablespoon and sprinkle 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans in pan. Bake in a 325° oven as directed in step 4 for 50 to 55 minutes. Cut into wedges.

How to Make It

Step 1
1

In a 350° oven, bake pecans in an 8- or 9-inch-wide pan, shaking often, until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Pour from pan. When cool, whirl in a blender or food processor until finely ground.

Step 2
2

Brush interiors of 10 tart pans (4 1/2 in. wide with removable rims; see notes) with the melted butter. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons ground toasted pecans over bottom of each pan. Set pans slightly apart on 2 baking sheets (14 by 17 in.).

Step 3
3

In a bowl, with a mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese to blend with 2/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons brandy, and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Add eggs, pumpkin, cream, cinnamon, ground ginger, and nutmeg; stir to mix, then beat until well blended. Fill tart pans equally with cheesecake mixture.

Step 4
4

Bake in a 325° oven until centers no longer jiggle when pans are gently shaken, 20 to 25 minutes.

Step 5
5

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix remaining 1/2 cup chopped pecans and the crystallized ginger.

Step 6
6

In another bowl, mix sour cream with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon brandy, and 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Spoon mixture equally onto cheesecakes and spread level. Sprinkle pecan-ginger mixture equally over sour cream topping.

Step 7
7

Return tarts to oven and bake to firm sour cream topping slightly, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool at least 30 minutes. Serve warm, or cover airtight without touching tops, and chill until cold, at least 2 hours or up to 1 day. To serve, remove pan rims and set cheesecakes on plates.

Ingredients

 2 cups pecan halves
  About 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese
 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
 3 tablespoons brandy or Cognac
 3 tablespoons maple syrup
 2 large eggs
 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
 2 tablespoons whipping cream or milk
 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
 1/4 teaspoon fresh-grated nutmeg
 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
 2 cups (1 pt.) sour cream

Directions

Step 1
1

In a 350° oven, bake pecans in an 8- or 9-inch-wide pan, shaking often, until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Pour from pan. When cool, whirl in a blender or food processor until finely ground.

Step 2
2

Brush interiors of 10 tart pans (4 1/2 in. wide with removable rims; see notes) with the melted butter. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons ground toasted pecans over bottom of each pan. Set pans slightly apart on 2 baking sheets (14 by 17 in.).

Step 3
3

In a bowl, with a mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese to blend with 2/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons brandy, and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Add eggs, pumpkin, cream, cinnamon, ground ginger, and nutmeg; stir to mix, then beat until well blended. Fill tart pans equally with cheesecake mixture.

Step 4
4

Bake in a 325° oven until centers no longer jiggle when pans are gently shaken, 20 to 25 minutes.

Step 5
5

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix remaining 1/2 cup chopped pecans and the crystallized ginger.

Step 6
6

In another bowl, mix sour cream with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon brandy, and 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Spoon mixture equally onto cheesecakes and spread level. Sprinkle pecan-ginger mixture equally over sour cream topping.

Step 7
7

Return tarts to oven and bake to firm sour cream topping slightly, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool at least 30 minutes. Serve warm, or cover airtight without touching tops, and chill until cold, at least 2 hours or up to 1 day. To serve, remove pan rims and set cheesecakes on plates.

Fall Pumpkin Cheesecakes