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I totally made up the name of this dessert. I was going to just call it “Pumpkin Cheesecake,” because that’s pretty much what it is. But it’s also Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake, for important reasons you’ll understand shortly. Then again, it contains gingersnaps—hence the inclusion of “Gingersnap” in the name. So “Caramel Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake” it is. But wait … there are also pecans in it, too.
In a food processor (or large ziploc bag) crush gingersnps. Add chopped pecans, melted butter, brown sugar, and salt, and pulse (or mix) until thoroughly combined. Press into bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Chill for 20-30 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin and spices and mix again. Add eggs one at a time, mixing for 20 seconds between each addition. Add cream and mix until just combined.
Remove crust from fridge. Pour 1/2 jar of caramel topping on crust. (This can be omitted. See note below.) Sprinkle caramel with chopped pecans. Gently pour cheesecake filling into pan. Even out the top with a flat spatula.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until no longer soupy. Cheesecake should still be somewhat jiggly.
Cool on counter for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, pour the rest of the caramel topping over the top. Smooth with a flat spatula until evenly smooth. Cover and chill cheesecake for another four hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, remove rim from pan and slice. Sprinkle each slice with extra crushed gingersnaps.
Note: I’ve heard from several folks that they wound up with a rock-hard crust when they followed this method. While I’d made the cheesecake several times and had never gotten this result, I’ve determined that the brand of both the gingersnaps AND the caramel sauce can drastically affect the consistency of the crust. You can easily omit this step and still wind up with a delicious cheesecake, so feel free to leave it out. You could also decrease the amount of caramel on the crust to mitigate the hardening effect.