Thanksgiving is only two weeks away. Time to start planning the meal, making the shopping list and salivating. For the next couple of weeks, we'll provide some recipes that will shake up your Thanksgiving table and impress your guests.

The only bad thing about this super-rich recipe, which comes from and originally was published in Bon Appetit magazine in October 1997, is that it leaves no room in the stomach for traditional pumpkin pie.


For praline:

1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

For crust:

2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (about 9 ounces)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For filling:

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

4 large eggs

1 15-ounce can solid pack pumpkin

3 tablespoons bourbon

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Make praline:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil. Stir sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar melts and mixture comes to boil; boil 1 minute without stirring. Mix in pecans. Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet. Bake until sugar syrup bubbles vigorously, about 8 minutes. Cool praline completely. Break into pieces. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight.)

Make crust:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Stir cookie crumbs and cinnamon in medium bowl to blend. Add butter; stir until crumbs are moistened. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up sides of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Bake crust until set, about 8 minutes. Cool. Double-wrap outside of pan with heavy-duty foil. Place in large roasting pan.

Make filling:

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Beat in flour and spices. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in pumpkin, bourbon and vanilla. Transfer to crust.

Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to reach 1 inch up sides of springform pan. Bake cake in water bath until center is just set, adding more water to roasting pan as needed, about 1 hour 45 minutes. Remove cheesecake from water. Cool in pan on rack. Remove foil. Run small sharp knife between cake and pan sides. Chill until cold; then cover and chill overnight.

Release pan sides. Place cake on platter. Sprinkle praline over, leaving 1-inch plain border at edge. Cut cake into wedges.