Christmas Eggnog Cheesecake

Course : Christmas
Serves: 12
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1 1/2 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers (36 to 40)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup butter (no substitutes), melted
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 large eggs
3/4 cup dairy eggnog or reduced-fat dairy eggnog
2 tablespoons brandy or rum
12 ounces sweet cherry preserves
1 cup cranberries
1 tablespoons brandy or rum
3 pieces Orange peel curls (optional)

Preparation / Directions:

For Crust: Combine crushed vanilla wafers and the 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. Stir in melted butter. Press crumb mixture onto the bottom and about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches up the sides of an 8-inch springform pan; set aside. For Filling: Beat cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and the 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed till combined. Add eggs all at once, beating on low speed just till combined. Stir in eggnog and the 2 tablespoons brandy or rum. Pour filling into crust-lined pan. Place ina shallow baking pan in oven. Bake in a 350 F oven for 1 hour or till center appears nearly set when shaken. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Loosen the crust from the sides of the pan and cool 30 minutes more. Remove the sides of the pan; cool cheesecake completely. Meanwhile, cook and stir cherry preserves and cranberries in a small saucepan over medium heat till preserves are melted and cranberries just start to pop. Remove from heat. Stir in the 1 tablespoon brandy or rum; let cool for 10 minutes. Spoon over the prepared cheesecake. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. To serve, garnish with orange peel curls, if desired.

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  (5 3/4 Stars!)
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