To prevent the top from cracking, be careful not to overmix the batter, and do not open the oven door while the cake is baking or cooling inside the oven,,
FOR THE CRUST:
- 1 1/4 cups graham-cracker crumbs (from 10 whole crackers)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
FOR THE FILLING:
- 4 packages (8 ounces each) bar cream cheese, very soft
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin-pie spice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center. Assemble a 9-inch nonstick springform pan, with the raised side of the bottom part facing up.
Make the crust: In a medium bowl, mix cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter until moistened; press firmly into bottom of pan. Bake until golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
Make the filling: With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on low speed until smooth; mix in flour (do not overmix). Add pumpkin puree, pie spice, vanilla, and salt; mix just until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next.
Place springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour filling into springform, and gently smooth top. Transfer to oven; reduce oven heat to 300 degrees. Bake 45 minutes. Turn off oven; let cheesecake stay in oven 2 hours more (without opening).
Remove from oven; cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. Unmold before serving.
To make the crumbs for the crust, pulse graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Or, if you prefer, substitute the same amount of packaged graham-cracker crumbs.