Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holiday Eggnog Cheesecake

It's Eggnog. It's cheesecake. It's perfect for the holidays. Enough said.

Serves 8 to 10

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup best-quality eggnog
2 Tablespoons brandy, dark rum, or Cognac
1½ teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Pour graham cracker crumbs into a 9 inch-diameter springform pan; add butter and stir to mix. Press mixture evenly over bottom and ½ inch up side of pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.

In the bowl of a freestanding mixer with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Add vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down inside of bowl as needed. Mix in flour, eggnog, brandy, and nutmeg until just incorporated. Pour batter into cooled, crust-lined pan and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cake has a slight jiggle in the middle, and is slightly firm to the touch.

Run a thin-bladed knife between cheesecake and pan rim. Put cheesecake on a rack and let cool completely. Cover and chill until cold, at least 3 hours.
Remove pan rim. If any moisture has collected on cake, gently blot dry with a paper towel. Cut cake slices with a serrated knife, running knife under hot water and wiping clean after each slice.

To whip the cream; in a small bowl, whisk together cream, vanilla and sugar until medium peaks form. Dollop whipped cream onto cheesecake and dust with remaining ½ teaspoon nutmeg.