Hope all your holidays ahead are filled with indulgent food and as much good company as you can possibly handle. I’ll be making more than a few desserts this Christmas, but will be putting this beauty front and center, not least of which because this is one time of year to really justify making and eating something called Eggnog Cheesecake.
Eggnog can be a divisive item – I seem to meet an equal number of detractors as I do its fans – but you can rest assure the former that this recipe is up their alley too. This is really just a regular (delicious) cheesecake, infused with Cognac or rum. Dress it up with some whipped cream and ground nutmeg on top, and you’ll have one of the most festive desserts on the table. Happy holidays!
From Williams-Sonoma Baking
For the crust:
1 cup pecan halves, toasted
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the filling:
2 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons Cognac or dark rum
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 large eggs, at room temperature
whipped cream and nutmeg for garnish
For the whipped cream (optional)
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
4 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk (milk powder)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a chilled metal bowl, combine the cream, sugar, dry milk and vanilla and beat with chilled beaters until the cream stands in soft peaks. To pipe the cream through a pastry bag, beat it until it has stiff peaks.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To make the crust, in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the toasted pecans, the graham cracker crumbs, and brown sugar and process to form fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and process until the crumbs begin to stick together. With your hand draped with plastic wrap to form a glove, press the crumbs firmly onto the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of a springform pan 9″ in diameter and 2 1/2 inches deep. Wrap aluminum foil around the outside of the pan. Bake the crust until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool. Leave the oven set at 350 degrees.
To make the filling, in a bowl, combine the cream cheese and granulated sugar. Using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat until well blended. Beat in the Cognac, vanilla and nutmeg. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition just until combined. Pour and scrape the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top.
Bake until the edges are set but the center still quivers slightly when the pan is shaken, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days.
To serve, run a knife around the pan sides to loosen the cake. Remove the foil from the pan and release the pan sides. Place the cheesecake on a plate. Decorate with whipped cream rosettes and a dusting of nutmeg.