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For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350˚. Wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with two layers of aluminum foil, allowing the foil to come a couple inches up the sides of the pan. (This prevents water from seeping into the pan while the cheesecake cooks in a water bath.) Lightly coat the inside of the pan with cooking spray.
Place the pecan halves and the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form. Add the sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Drizzle in the melted butter and process until well combined.
Press the crumb mixture evenly along the bottom and partially up the sides of the pan. Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
For the filling: Beat the cream cheese and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed, 2 to 3 minutes, until combined and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Lower the mixer speed and beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just incorporated. Beat in the pumpkin, sour cream, and vanilla until combined. With the mixer on low, beat in the cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom.
Bring a pot of water to a boil for your cheesecake’s water bath.
Pour the filling into the crust. Place the cheesecake in the center of a large roasting pan. Carefully pour the boiling water into the roasting pan. (The water should come about halfway up the sides of the pan).
Bake the cheesecake for 65 to 75 minutes, until the cheesecake is firm around the edges, but the center has a slight jiggle. Turn the oven off, crack the oven door just slightly (you can use a wooden spoon to keep the door slightly open), and allow the cheesecake to rest in the oven for 1 additional hour.
Carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath. Place the springform pan on a cooling rack until it cools to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.
When ready to serve, remove the sides of the springform pan and garnish the cheesecake with chopped pecans, caramel sauce or whipped cream, if you like.