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Cookie Crust:

8 ounces pecan pieces, divided

12 ounces pecan sandies

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted



6 ounces chopped pecan

1 pound can pumpkin puree

3 - 8 ounce packages Neufchatel cheese

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons dark rum



3 tablespoons pecan crust crumbs





Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Toast the pecans on a bake sheet for 5 minutes.  Pulverize 2/3 cup nuts and cookies in a food processor or blender.  Remove 3 tablespoons crumbs and reserve for garnish.  Sprinkle on the butter and process briefly to moisten the crumbs.  Press this mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9" springform pan.  Chill the crust while mixing the filling.



Combine the pumpkin puree, cheese, sugar, flour, spices, and salt in the container used for the crust.  Process until smooth.  With the machine running add the eggs, one at a time, then the rum.  Place the pecans in the bowl and pulse two or three times, only long enough to blend them in. Pour filling into the crust and scatter crumbs on top.  Bake until the top is puffed and set, about 1 hour.  Cool on a rack.


Yield: 16 servings