eggnog cheesecake
makes 8 to 10 servings

The crust:

  • 9 whole graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Position a rack in center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375o F. Grind the graham crackers, sugar and ground cinnamon together in a food processor, then transfer the crumb mixture to a medium bowl. Add the butter and toss until evenly moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom and 1 3/4 inches up the sides of a 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Freeze the crust until cold, about 10 minutes, then bake just until it begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer the crust to a rack and cool.

The filling:
  • 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
Beat the cream cheese and sugar together in a mixer (preferably one fitted with a paddle attachment) until very smooth. Add the rum, brandy, vanilla extract and nutmeg and beat to blend. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until they're just blended. Spoon the filling into the crust and bake until the filling is puffed, very light brown and softly set in the center, about 45 minutes. Transfer the cheesecake to a rack and cool 30 minutes, during which time the center may fall slightly.

Increase the oven temperature to 400o F.

The topping:
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Cinnamon sticks
In a medium bowl, whisk the sour cream, sugar and extract to blend. Pour the mixture gently over the cheesecake, filling the center depression, and spread evenly to the edges. Bake until set, about 8 minutes. Transfer the cheesecake to a rack to cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Cut around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake, then release the pan sides. Sift ground cinnamon and nutmeg lightly over the cake and arrange a cluster of short cinnamon sticks in the center of the cake before serving.
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