1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
2 8-oz bars of cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 16-oz can of pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
3/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
Topping (if desired):
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.) Preheat oven to 350. In 9"x3" springform pan, mix graham crumbs, melted butter, and sugar with fork until moistened. Press into bottom of pan with hands. Tightly wrap pan with foil to prevent leakage when baking in water bath later. Bake crust ten minutes and allow to cool completely on wire rack. Put on about 6 cups (I'm guessing here) water to boil. You'll need it for step 3.
2.) In a large bowl with a mixer at medium speed, beat cream cheese until smooth. Slowly beat in sugar until blended, scraping bowl often with rubber spatula. With mixer on low speed, beat in pumpkin, sour cream, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Add eggs one at a time, beating just until blended after each one.
3.) Pour filling batter into crust and place in large roasting pan. Place pan on middle oven rack. Carefully pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come 1" up the side of the springform pan. Bake cheesecake 1 hour 10 minutes* or until center barely jiggles - the old toothpick trick works too.
* If you want topping, start making it with 10 minutes left on the timer.
4.) TOPPING IF DESIRED: In small bowl beat sour cream, sugar, and vanilla with wire whisk until blended. Remove cheesecake from water bath, leaving water in oven, and spread the topping mixture evenly over cake. Return cake to water bath and bake 5 minutes longer.
5) Remove cheesecake from water bath to wire rack, discard foil. With small knife loosen cake from sides of pan (unless teflon, then no worries) to help prevent cracking during cooling. Cool completely and then cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.