Eggnog is one of those foods that really conjures up thoughts of the holidays because it’s only available for a few weeks of the year (although you can make it at home anytime). There are also lots of eggnog-flavored treats out there, like cakes and cookies. Many don’t even use eggnog as an ingredient and just include vanilla and nutmeg in the recipes to capture a big of flavor that is reminiscent of eggnog. This is a huge disappointment when you want something that actually tastes like eggnog! It’s also unfortunate because eggnog can be a great ingredient to use when baking around the holidays. In many recipes (cakes, puddings, etc.) regular eggnog can be substituted for regular milk, adding a lot of holiday flavor to an otherwise unseasonal recipe.
Eggnog plays a big part in this Eggnog Ricotta Cheesecake, so you get a cheesecake that is a balanced mix of cream cheese and eggnog flavors. Ricotta cheese has such a mild flavor that it doesn’t come to the forefront, but it does have a big impact on the texture of the cheesecake. The cheesecake is light and very tender, not heavy or dense.
I used a shortbread crust for this cheesecake. Its plain, buttery flavor goes well with the cheesecake and it is very sturdy, so it slices and holds together very well. It is also very easy to throw together. The cheesecake batter is poured over the crust while it is still warm, so the whole cheesecake takes very little time to come together. I refrigerate this cheesecake before serving. It can be served warm or at room temperature, but you may want to bake it the night before and simply put it in the fridge for 8-12 hours before serving.
Eggnog Ricotta Cheesecake
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
16-oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
3 large eggs
3/4 cup eggnog (storebought)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350F.
First, make the crust. In a medium bowl, cream together sugar and butter until light. Blend in flour and salt until mixture resembles coarse, wet sand. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan and press firmly into an even layer.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until edges just begin to turn golden.
While the crust is baking, prepare the cheesecake batter. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a food processor, blend together cream cheese, ricotta cheese, sugar and cornstarch until well-combined. Add in eggs, eggnog, vanilla and nutmeg and mix (or process) until smooth.
When the crust comes out of the oven (and is still hot), carefully pour the cheesecake batter over it. Return pan to the oven.
Bake for about 55 minutes, until the cheesecake filling is set, but will still jiggle slightly when pan is jiggled.
Cool to room temperature before refrigerating.