I learned about this recipe from a friend, who made the gluten-full version; I immediately decided to try and adapt it. Here’s what I found!
gingersnap and pecan crust:
1 1/2 cups gluten-free gingersnap cookies, crumbled (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
1/2 cup crushed pecans
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
spiced pumpkin filling:
2 lb. (four 8-oz. packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups packed light brown sugar
2 tsp masala chai spice (blend of ground black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, clover, ginger, and cardamom)
1/4 tsp table salt
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tbsp gluten-free vanilla extract
2 15-oz. cans pure solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling), drained*
*to drain the pumpkin, cover a medium bowl with a cloth towel and paper towel (peels off easily). Dump the pumpkin on top of the paper towel and let sit for an hour.
caramel bourbon sauce:
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 tablespoons bourbon
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted, cooled
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
Make the crust: Pulse the cookies, pecans, 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 springform pan. Chill for 5 minutes and then bake for 10 minutes. Let cool.
Make the filling: Heat a kettle of water. With an electric mixer or a wooden spoon, beat the cream cheese until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, masala chai spice, 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.
Scrape 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 add enough hot water from the kettle to come about halfway up the sides of the springform 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 rack. Cover and chill overnight.
Make the sauce: Bring sugar, cream, butter, corn syrup, and salt to boil in deep medium saucepan, whisking until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium; boil 1 minute without stirring. Remove from heat. Stir in bourbon, then pecans. Cool, stirring occasionally.
Cut cheesecake into wedges; spoon sauce on top and serve with your favorite whipped or ice cream. We used Becky’s cinnamon almond whipped cream!