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Eggnog Cheesecake

Eggnog Cheesecake
Kevin Weeks for NPR /

While my father made eggnog on the weekend following Thanksgiving, my mother made her mother's recipe for seriously good bourbon cake. On Christmas Eve, we children were permitted a thin slice of cake for dessert. And on Christmas day, we got a small taste of eggnog in the late afternoon when Dad made it up for our traditional Christmas open house. But both treats are at their best if made a month in advance, requiring foresight and planning. For a lightly alcoholic and equally rich dessert, this cheesecake offers an echo of those holidays.

Makes 8 servings

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened

1 1/3 cups sugar

3 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoon bourbon

5 large whole eggs

2 large egg yolks

1 cup ricotta cheese

5 tablespoons rum

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon butter, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix together graham crumbs and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Stir in butter. Press into the bottom only of 9-inch springform pan and bake for 13 minutes. Cool.

Heat oven to 500 degrees.

Using an electric mixer on medium, beat together the cream cheese, flour, 1 1/3 cups sugar and bourbon until well blended. Add whole eggs and yolks, 1 at a time, mixing on low until blended. Mix in ricotta, rum and nutmeg.

Brush sides of springform pan with melted butter. Pour batter into pan, place on a baking sheet and bake on lower middle rack for 10 minutes. Do not open door. Reduce temperature to 200 and continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer registers 150 degrees in the center — about 1 1/2 hours longer.

Set on wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Run a knife around rim of pan to loosen cake before removing rim.

Optional Topping

1 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon superfine sugar

1 tablespoon bourbon

Chill bowl and beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes. Pour whipping cream into bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Add sugar while beating. Add bourbon while beating.

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