Step 1: For the Crust
2 cups ginger snap cookie crumbs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. You’ll need a 9-inch pie plate and a 9×13-inch pan for boiling water (You can either use a baking sheet or a 2-3” pan for this – I recommend the deeper pan as it is much easier to pour the water into without spilling).
To make the crust, place cookies in the bowl of a food processor and grind to a fine crumb. If you don’t have a food processor you can crumble cookies in a zip lock bag with a rolling pin. The finer the crumb, the easier and more stuck together the crust will be. Once you have a fine crumb, add brown sugar, salt, and butter. Toss together, coating all the crumbs with the butter mix. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and press with fingers until sides and bottom are evenly coated with crust.
Place into the oven, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. The crust may have puffed up slightly from the heat – if this is the case, just use the back end of a spoon to press down gently on the crust and press it thinner. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you make the cheesecake filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
Place a tea kettle of water on the stove top to boil. You’ll be using this to add hot water to the 9×13-inch pan to place under the baking cheesecake. Alternatively, you can place the pan in the oven at this point and then pour lukewarm water into the pan when you place the cheesecake into the oven – it will bubble and froth a bit, but the effect is the same.