Crust: Line bottom of a 9 or 10 inch springform pan with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray or Baker's Joy. In a large bowl, stir together the crushed gingersnaps with the melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Filling: Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl on medium-high speed about 1 minute,until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the eggs,one at a time, beating on medium-high for 20 seconds after each addition. Add the vanilla, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; beat on medium speed about 1 minute,until incorporated.
Pour the filling over the crust. Put the springform pan into a larger baking pan and set it on the center rack of the oven. Pour enough boiling water into the larger pan to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake about 1 hour, until the filling is set and golden brown on top. Cool the cheesecake on a rack about 30 minutes, then chill for several hours or overnight. Remove cheesecake from springform pan and set on a serving dish.
Topping: Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic. Coarsely chop the nuts.
Stir together brown sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan set over medium heat. Boil mixture for about 1 1/2 minutes, adjusting the heat to make sure it does not boil over. Do not stir. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla, salt, and pecans. Cool topping at least 15 minutes before pouring over the top of the chilled cheesecake. Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to serve. The cheesecake will keep, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Yield:14 to 16 servings
Reprinted with permission from © Rebecca Rather and Alison Oresman, The Pastry Queen, published by Ten Speed Press click for book review
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