Fall Recipe: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Brûlée Topping

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

5 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon sugar for crust, plus enough for topping (about 6 Tbsp)

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup canned pumpkin

3 eggs (large)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon cloves

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Make the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and 1 T sugar in a medium bowl. Stir well enough to coat all of the crumbs with the butter, but not so much as to turn the mixture into paste. Keep it crumbly. Put foil partway up the outside part of an 8-inch springform pan. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about two-thirds of the way up the sides of the springform pan. You don't want the crust to form all of the way up the back of each slice of cheesecake. Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then set aside until you are ready to fill it.

In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, 1 C sugar, and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and clove, and continue beating until smooth and creamy. Pour the filling into the pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes. The top will turn a bit darker at this point. Remove from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool. When the cheesecake has come to room temperature, put it into the refrigerator.

When the cheesecake has chilled, sprinkled top with an even layer of granulated sugar and melt sugar with a culinary torch (it will melt into beads then bubble, then caramelize and turn to a smooth surface). Allow topping to cool and cut into 8 even slices.

Optional: Pipe or spoon a small dollop of whipped cream over top, then add a raspberry and garnish with mint (garnish just before serving and melt sugar within several hours of serving for best results). Store in refrigerator.

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