Thanks to a comment left by Tracy Perraie (tperraie) on my original pumpkin cheesecake recipe, I was inspired to make INDIVIDUAL-sized cheesecakes. Thanks Tracy!
So, it's the SAME recipe as my original Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnappy Crust--just portioned out to make INDIVIDUAL cheesecakes! HOW PERFECT IS THIS!?! And this way it makes a WHOPPING 36 servings! And, I might add, they are JUST the right size.
I made them this way for Thanksgiving this year, and they turned out FaBuLoUs. Of course we HAD to try them tonight...just to be sure they were edible .
General NOTE: For the spices I usually just dump 'em in without measuring... so these measurements are guesstimations. Try adding 1/2 the spice amount then adjust up to taste. I like a LOT LOT LOT of spices in my pumpkin desserts. You may not like it as spiced, so don't be afraid to customize it to YOUR taste!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
FOR CRUST: Crush the gingersnaps and reserve some for garnish (I do it in a food processor or you can place them in a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin). Combine all crust ingredients in bowl, stir until blended.
Line regular size muffin tin with paper liners. Put heaping spoonful of crust mix in bottom of each cup. Press into bottom using something like the bottom of a spice bottle or small glass to pack crust down.
Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Cool a bit before filling.
FOR FILLING: In a bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add spices (to taste), beat until light in texture. Add pumpkin and mix until just blended. Stir in eggs one at a time, scraping sides of bowl after each addition. Stir in cream. Blend well.
Pour batter over baked crust in the muffin cups. Fill each cup to top (it won't rise so no worries on it spilling over). It makes 36-40 depending on how full you fill the cups.
Place in oven (350 degrees F). Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven. Gently place pecan half on top of each one. Return tins to oven and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes...just until surface is firm and center is not liquidy. It will be sort of jiggly like Jello.
Cool on wire rack for about 45 min, then remove cheesecakes from muffin tins (but keep their papers on) and continue to chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
FOR CARAMEL SAUCE: Put sugars and water in small heavy saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Boil approx. 4 minutes. It's going to be dark because of the brown sugar. Do NOT overcook it or you'll burn the sugar and have to start over. Remove from heat, add cream, salt and butter and stir until well blended. Let cool for about 5 min. then add vanilla extract. Cool completely.
This stores nicely in the refrigerator for at least a week or so.
TO SERVE: Remove paper liner from cheesecake. Place on plate and drizzle with caramel sauce. Sprinkle gingersnap crumbs on top.
Keeps in fridge (in airtight container) for several days (up to a week)...in freezer (in zipped freezer bag) for a few months or so.