This is a great holiday recipe for those of us who love both pumpkin pie and cheescake. Every year, just before Thanksgiving, I usually have several family members call me to make sure I am bringing this dessert. It has definitely become a holiday favorite in my family.
1For the crust: Mix graham cracker crumbs and chopped pecans together and pour into the bottom of dish (I use a glass 9x9 baking dish). Pour 1 stick of the melted butter into the crumb mix. Using a spoon, stir the mixture. To ensure that all the crumb mix gets moistened by the butter, I end up using my hands more than the spoon. Melt the other stick of butter. Gradually add more butter to the crumb mix until the crumb mixture is MOISTENED. DO NOT OVERSATURATE the crumb mix with the butter! You probably will not use the entire second stick of butter. You do not want the crumb mix to be "pasty", you just want to make sure it is well moistened. Using your fingers, firmly press the crumb mix to the bottom of the dish. If you wish, you can bake the crust at 350 degrees in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or leave the crust unbaked. (I prefer unbaked)
2For the cream cheese layer: Using an electric mixer, mix the softened cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of milk, and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a mixing bowl, until well blended. Add the thawed whipped cream and mix another 1 to 2 minutes. Pour this mixture over your crust. Using a spoon, gently spread evenly.
3For the pumpkin: Combine pumpkin, instant pudding mixes, the cinnamon, the ginger, the cloves, and 1 cup of milk. Using an electric mixer on low, beat until mixture is thick and smooth. Spread evenly over cream cheese layer.
4If desired, top pumpkin with a thin layer of whipped cream.
5Refrigerate at least 4 hours. I prefer to refrigerate mine at least 8 hours, when possible.