* 1-1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies (about 30 cookies)
* 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
* 1/4 cup butter, melted
* 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
* 3/4 cup sugar, divided
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 3 eggs, lightly beaten
* 1 cup canned pumpkin
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* Whipped topping, optional
* Additional gingersnap cookies, cut into wedges, optional
* Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan; set aside.
* In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and pecans; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 in. up the sides of prepared pan. Bake at 325° for 9-11 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.
* Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined.
* Place 1 cup filling in a small bowl; stir in the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining sugar. Remove 3/4 cup pumpkin filling and set aside. Pour remaining pumpkin filling into the crust; top with plain filling. Drop reserved pumpkin filling by spoonfuls over top; cut through filling with a knife to swirl.
* Place pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan. Garnish with whipped topping and cookie wedges if desired.
Yield: 12 servings.
~~Taste of Home August/September 2008~~