Since I improvised this with only a partial recipe and it won a contest (tied for first, anyway), I suppose I should capture it for posterity.
Spicy Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie
1 9-inch pie crust (I recommend my husband’s, but do what you can)
16 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1# pie pumpkin
3 t Ceylon cinnamon
1-1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground cardamom
1/4 t ground clove
1/3 of a nutmeg, freshly grated
2 T chopped candied ginger (see below)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Cream the cream cheese and sugar. Incorporate the eggs one at a time. Mix in the pumpkin and ground spices. Pour into pie crust and sprinkle with the candied ginger. Bake for 50–60 minutes.
What I would change next time: The cheesecake was not as solid as it could have been, despite cracking around the edges. Next time, I’d lightly blind bake the crust, then bake the whole pie in a shallow pan of water to keep the edges from cooking so thoroughly before the center is firm.
Candied Ginger, Ginger Sugar, and Ginger Water
Get a little over a pound and a half of ginger. Peel it and slice it thin. A mandolin helps, even if you find it, as you should, somewhat terrifying.
Lay the slices in the bottom of a slow-cooker/crock-pot and just cover with water. Steep on the lowest heat setting at least overnight. Pour off the water and save it for mixing drinks or incorporating into recipes. It makes for very nice popovers.
Set out a large cooling rack covered with parchment paper. Weigh the ginger, and place it and an equal weight white sugar into a large saucepan. Add back a cup of the ginger water and place over medium heat. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the ginger becomes translucent. Turn the heat up to boil off the water. Stir frequently. Once the sugar crystallizes, turn off the heat and continue stirring until the sugar is essentially dry. Turn out onto the cooling rack and separate.
Store the sugar in an airtight container. Depending on how you want to use it, you may want to run it through the food processor first to break down lumps. Store the ginger in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
This will be stronger than the candied ginger you buy in the store. Enjoy carefully.