This is a great cheesecake for the holidays as it incorporates ingredients associated with eggnog such as eggs, nutmeg, and rum. In this cheesecake, I added a cranberry topping which made a very attractive presentation. By slow cooking this cheesecake in a water bath, you avoid any cracking and the cheesecake remains very light and creamy. To garnish my cheesecake as shown, I rolled fresh cranberries first in lightly beaten egg white, and then in extra fine sugar. I then placed them in the refrigerator to set. I decorated my cake plate with fresh greens, and added the sugared cranberries.
by Deborah Mele
9 Graham Crackers (Use Cinnamon Graham If Desired)
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons Cinnamon (If Using Regular Graham Crackers)
1/4 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ 1/3 Cup Unsalted Butter, Melted
1/2 Cup Finely chopped Pecans
1 1/2 Pounds Cream Cheese At Room Temperature
3/4 Cup Sugar
4 Tablespoons Rum
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
3 Large Eggs At Room Temperature
1 1/2 Cups Sour Cream
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Bag Fresh Cranberries
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
1 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Orange Zest, Chopped
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grind or process the graham crackers until fine, and place in a bowl with the sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Add just enough butter until the mixture begins to clump together. Press the crumbs on the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. Bake the crust until it begins to brown and set, about 8 minutes. Let cool. Once cool, wrap the spring form pan with aluminum foil, and place in a larger baking pan. Pour enough water into the larger pan until the water comes half way up the sides of the spring form pan. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. F.
Beat the cream cheese with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the rum, nutmeg, and vanilla and mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating at slow speed just until blended. Over beating at this stage may cause cracking as the cheesecake cools. Pour the filling into the crust, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the cheesecake is set around the outer edges with only 3 inches or so of the center still a little soft and wobbly. Turn off the oven, and leave the oven door open. Cool the cheesecake slowly in this manner for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Turn the oven to 400 degrees F. Mix together the baked topping ingredients, and pour these over the cheesecake. Smooth lightly with a spoon. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the topping begins to set. Remove, and cool at room temperature for 45 minutes. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
To make the fruit topping, combine the fresh and dried cranberries, sugar, and orange zest in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to medium. Continue cooking for about 25 minutes, or until the cranberries have softened and the sauce has thickened. Place the sauce in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Strain the sauce through a sieve so you have a clear topping. Cool to room temperature and then pour over the cheesecake. Continue to refrigerate for another 4 hours or overnight. Remove the spring form pan sides carefully, and cut the cheesecake into small slices to serve.