1¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
5–6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons light or dark
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
2 tablespoons rum extract
1 cup heavy cream
Toasted sliced almonds for garnish
Preheat oven 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together crust ingredients. Grease 9-inch springform pan, then press crust mixture onto bottom and up sides of pan. In a large bowl, using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually add 1½ cups sugar and eggs, one at a time, to cream cheese mixture. Gradually add pumpkin puree, flour, pumpkin spice and rum extract. Pour filling into prepared crust and bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until center is firm. As it bakes, the surface may crack and rise significantly, but then will fall again later in the baking process. Cool on wire rack.
Cover and chill cheesecake several hours or overnight. When ready to serve, whip heavy cream with remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar in a chilled bowl (add a small amount of rum and vanilla extracts, if you like). Top center of cheesecake with whipped cream and garnish with toasted almonds.
DODI ESCHENBACH, HILTON HEAD ISLAND