Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 1:
 
The Baked Chocolate Cheesecake is a good starting point for this eggnog version. The crust is scaled down to what could perhaps be referred to as some kind of a "one-quarter" recipe.

However, because this is a new baked cheesecake flavor, one which I did not try back in the late 1980's (nor closely enough modeled directly after a recipe back then), the prototype number here gets off to a fresh start of "1".

Remember that this is a baked version, not a "firmed-by-refrigeration" kind.
 
Crust:
4 oz. whipped lowfat cottage cheese
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon rum extract (such as McCormick)
2 tablespoons light eggnog (such as Hood)
Thoroughly blend these above 7 ingredients together. Afterward, quickly and vigorously mix in:
2.2 oz. finely ground Bran Buds

Press this resulting mixture into the bottom of a lightly buttered 9" cheesecake pan.

Batter:
2 cups lowfat cottage cheese
2 tablespoons melted or softened butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light eggnog (such as Hood)
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Blend all these ingredients together thoroughly, particularly the butter and eggs, then pour this batter into the pan, on top of the crust. Promptly place this into the oven—preheated at 300 degrees—and bake for 100 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean). Remove from oven, cool down to about room temperature (about 1 1/2 hours), carefully remove from pan, and chill.
 
Where is the eggnog?? I could hardly taste it!
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 2:

Repeat Prototype 1, but make these changes for the batter:
Boost eggnog by 3/4 cup, to 1 1/2 cups.
Boost flour by 1/6 cup, to 1/2 cup (to help compensate for the increase in liquid).
 
I still had difficulty detecting the eggnog flavor, although at least one person mentioned that she could barely taste it.
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 3:

Repeat Prototype 2, but make these changes for the batter:
Boost eggnog by 1/2 cup, to 2 cups.
Add 1 tablespoon of rum extract (yes, that is a generous amount).
Add 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg.

Also, let's make the crust a little tastier. Combine 1 tablespoon of brown sugar with the crust's earlier ingredients (i.e., before blending in the Bran Buds).
 
We're finally getting somewhere—adequate presence of some kind of mellow eggnog flavor! But perhaps a little more spice is needed.
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 4:

Repeat Prototype 3, but make these changes for the batter:
Boost nutmeg by 3/8 teaspoon, to 1/2 teaspoon (thus adding more spice).
Boost flour by 1 tablespoon, to 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (for the sake of firmness, to compensate for the liquid increases in Prototype 3).
 
Good presence of eggnog, but, come to think of it, I have somehow more readily noticed some kind of harsh tinge from the rum extract. Could I get away with cutting it down by a third and still getting an adequate eggnog presence?
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 5:

Okay, repeat Prototype 4, but decrease the batter's rum extract from 1 tablespoon to only 2/3 (i.e., from 3 teaspoons to only 2).
 
The flavor was just about right—no harshness. I had contemplated using even less rum extract (than I actually did) in this prototype, but I'm glad I ended up not doing so (because I thought the flavor was diminished enough).

The result is a relatively mild (not so spicy) eggnog cheesecake.
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 6:

Spice it up a little more! Repeat Prototype 5, and boost the batter's nutmeg by 1/2 teaspoon to 1 full teaspoon.
 
The flavor was more encouraging. However, I felt that the crust could use some improvement.
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 7:

Repeat Prototype 6, but spice up the batter even more by adding 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to it. Also increase the moisture and flavor for the crust by boosting its eggnog from 2 tablespoons to 1/2 cup (with this change, the crust mixture becomes somewhat pour-able, subject to the timing of blending in the Bran Buds, so be sure to let this mixture firm up a little in the pan before adding the batter on top).
 
Too much pumpkin-like taste! Let's face it—eggnog tends to be a delicate flavor, and boosting the spice too much, particularly with cinnamon, can throw things off. Furthermore, the crust's taste and texture did not seem all that great either. Better to stick to Prototype 6.

Perhaps a good tip is to give consideration to the eggnog being used. I myself have mainly used light eggnog made by Hood (more specifically the quart-sized,
ultra-pasteurized product, as opposed to the half-gallon-sized, pasteurized counterpart, due to my preference for the product's longer shelf life). Another dairy out there is Oakhurst (from Maine, and available at least in much of New England), whose eggnog has a somewhat spicier taste (maybe it's the nutmeg, maybe it's a hint of mint, but I don't know for certain).

Inasmuch as the eggnog flavor was adequately present in Prototype 6, I have somehow lost consideration that this is supposed to be a
cheesecake as well. Perhaps the rum extract should be reduced further.
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 8:

Okay—repeat Prototype 6 again, but reduce the batter's rum extract from 2 to 1 + 1/2 teaspoons (in other words, to put it simply, 1/2 tablespoon). For this prototype, skip the crust.
 
This time, I embarked on a new baking approach. Beforehand, I would simply pour the batter into the "springform" pan, then put this straight into the oven. Typically, the cake would rise to nearly double its height during baking, only to fall back shortly after I removed the pan from the oven for the cooldown, and the outer edge of the cheesecake would end up with some kind of inferior taste and/or texture. So with Prototype 8, I took a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil and wrapped the bottom and sides of the pan, in order to resist water leakage. What water leakage?! What's water got to do with this?? It's because after I poured the batter into the foil-lined pan, I placed this into a larger pan, filled with boiling water. Then I put the whole thing into the oven. The result: no high-climbing cheesecake during baking—and the outer edge came out so much better.

However, I felt that my eggnog cheesecake needed more firmness.
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 9:

Repeat Prototype 8, and increase the batter's flour from 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (that's 9 tablespoons) to 3/4 cup (that's 12 tablespoons—therefore the flour is getting about a 33% boost). No crust.
 
This one seemed firmer, and Lesa's friend Steve especially enjoyed this treat, which I brought to the Sports Page for New Year's Eve 2011.
 
Where are we at this point with the baked eggnog cheesecake prototypes??

Okay, I felt that at this point, I should provide the details of the ingredients so far—plus sequential info. This is batter-only (no crust).

Grease a 9" springform pan. For best results take the bath approach—wrap this pan up to the sides with foil, in order to suppress water leaks (heavy-duty aluminum is a good choice).

Mix thoroughly together:
2 tablespoons butter, softened or melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Then blend in:
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon rum extract

Then mix in:
2 cups (such as a 16-ounce container) of lowfat cottage cheese (such as Hood, no salt added)—whip this in a blender just until the curds no longer show, before adding to the above ingredients.
Next add:
2 cups of light eggnog (such as Hood or Oakhurst)
Follow up gradually with a dry combination of:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Completely mix all of the above ingredients used so far, then finally add:
2 eggs (last ingredient here)—aim to get these at least fully mixed in (yet without overbeating, if possible).

Have enough boiling hot water available at this point if using the bath approach (if the water is cold, the baking is going to get off to a start that's too cold!), and pour some into a large pan—let's call this the "tub".

Also, the oven should be preheated to 300 degrees.

Pour the batter into the springform pan. No bath? Then put the pan directly into the oven. But for the bath approach, place this pan into the "tub", add more hot water (perhaps to the batter's height), and put the whole thing into the oven. Bake for about 100 minutes.

Afterward, take the springform pan out of the oven (and out of the "tub" if applicable) for the cooldown.
 
Don't throw away that piece of foil used for wrapping the springform pan if the bath approach was used! Save this foil to wrap the cheesecake later on.
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 10:

Okay, let's give the crust another try. Its ingredient list at this point is as follows, with the latest changes noted:

4 oz. whipped lowfat cottage cheese
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (up from 1/8 teaspoon, for more flavor)
1/4 teaspoon rum extract (up from 1/8 teaspoon, for more flavor)
1/4 cup light eggnog (that's 4 tablespoons, a reasonable compromise between 2 tablespoons and 1/2 cup)
2.2 oz. finely ground Bran Buds

For the sake of flavor, the increase in the nutmeg and rum extract seemed like a reasonable compensation for the decrease in eggnog from its 1/2 cup usage in Prototype 7.

For the batter, repeat Prototype 9, but in light of the questionable need for salt—combined with a desire to cut down what seemed to be unnecessary sodium, reduce the salt from 1/2 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon (seemed like a reasonable compromise, in case the recipe still needed some salt).

Use the bath approach on this one, foil and all.
 
I discovered a soggy problem with this one. Looked like the foil, even if it was "heavy duty", still could not be relied upon to keep the water out of the cheesecake's pan, as some of it appeared to leak through and wet at least the crust. So after cooldown and removal, I put the cheesecake, upside-down (that's "crust-side-up"), back in the oven—but this time I used the broiler (as opposed to baking) for a few minutes, with the oven door ajar, in an effort to reduce the crust's sogginess. Inasmuch as I did not want the crust to be too dry, I didn't want it to be too soggy (a concern I had with Prototype 7) either.
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 11:

Seems like maybe a little too much emphasis has been placed on the "eggnog" in "eggnog cheesecake" (and too little on "cheesecake"). This prototype is slightly mellower and sweeter.

So repeat Prototype 10, but make these changes for the batter:
Boost granulated sugar by 1/6 cup, to 2/3 cup.
Decrease rum extract by 1/2 teaspoon, to 1 teaspoon.
Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (include this one when blending in the lemon juice and rum extract).

Remember that only 1/4 teaspoon of salt is to be used here (not 1/2 teaspoon).

As for the bath approach, instead of placing the springform pan directly in the hot "tub", put it immediately above it, preferably by using a grate between the two (the "tub" itself being placed close to halfway up in the oven).

Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 11 (tub arrangement)

In order to prevent steam from rising up into the bottom of the cheesecake's pan, it is still advisable to wrap a piece of foil around its bottom.

Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 11

Well, I somehow got the impression that the cheesecake did rise during the "above-the-tub" baking, but not as high as in the "tub-less" prototypes (and whatever resulting rise occurred, at least the top surface appeared to settle evenly—as opposed to having higher edges). I felt that the outer edge's taste and texture hopefully still turned out okay. The crust also seemed to be just right.

This prototype had a taste that was somewhat strong on the nutmeg.
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 12:
 
I have come a long way in my various cheesecake prototypes since Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 11! What I have done with the first two baked eggnog-pumpkin combos, as well as Baked Plain Cheesecake—Prototype 4, have led me to update the eggnog-only cheesecake.

There were quite a few changes from the 11th eggnog prototype to the 12th for the batter. The lemon juice went from 1 teaspoon to 3. The rum extract went from 1 teaspoon back to 1 1/2. The cottage cheese was increased from 2 cups to 2 1/2, and the flour—previously all-purpose but now whole white wheat—got upped from 3/4 cup to a full one (in my ongoing quest for firmness). And the nutmeg's teaspoon was cut in half.

Furthermore, whereas I baked Prototype 11 above the tub, I went back to baking in the tub with Prototype 12.

A major change was made in regard to the crust. Many times, I have sought to attain one that would have a decent texture—not too soggy and not too dry—and be truly tasty. I have not always been satisfied with the outcome when trying to match the crust's flavor to its batter counterpart. Eventually, I felt that I had attained my goal for the chocolate flavor. But with other flavors, particularly with eggnog, this has been difficult. From what I best recall, I was fairly happy with the
taste, but not the still-too-soggy texture, of the crust in Baked Plain Cheesecake—Prototype 4. However, due to its hopeful taste, as well as simplification issues, I made a decision to cease pursuit of matching crust flavors (to their batter counterparts) at this point (at least for most non-chocolate flavors, including eggnog) and go instead with a regular crust, similar to that of the plain cheesecake, but with further refinements (particularly reducing the cottage cheese back to 4 ounces) in an effort to get the texture more to my liking.
 
Crust:
1.5 oz. melted, white chocolate
1/2 cup (4 oz.) lowfat cottage cheese, whipped, no salt added
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2.2 oz. Bran Buds, ground up

Batter:
2 tablespoons butter, softened or melted
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon rum extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (20 oz.) whipped lowfat cottage cheese, no salt added
2 cups of light eggnog
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs

Bake in (not above!) a tub at 300 degrees for about 2 hours, then remove from oven, and let this cheesecake cool off for about 2 hours before removing from pan.

Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 12 (made with eggnog by Oakhurst—"The Natural Goodness of Maine")

I used Oakhurst ("The Natural Goodness of Maine") eggnog for this one (which was baked early in the same week commemorating the 10th anniversary of Amtrak's Downeaster, an increasingly-popular train, serving Oakhurst's home state). This cheesecake was a terrific hit at the Sports Page, and I myself was quite pleased with the taste, both the batter and the crust (which itself was not too soggy).
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 13:
 
Inasmuch as the crust was great, I thought that I would eliminate the cottage cheese from it and replace it with additional eggnog. I also felt that Prototype 12 was a little too well done.

But wait a minute! Didn't I decide to go with regular crusts back in Prototype 12? Yes, but I later on thought that I would give the eggnog flavor another try, with a simple
dairy-for-dairy swap (which, among other things, would eliminate the cottage cheese from the crust—going against my long tradition of always including cottage cheese as a minimal ingredient for this bottom part of the cheesecake).
 
Repeat Prototype 12, but replace the crust's 1/2 cup of lowfat cottage cheese with 1/2 cup of light eggnog.

Also, bake this cheesecake for about 110 minutes (instead of 120). Continue doing it "in-the-tub" style ("in" is here to stay at this point—just be careful with that foil, disturbing it as little as possible: gently wrap it onto the pan immediately before placing the cheesecake into the bath for baking, not earlier—first grease the pan, then "crust" it, then pre-bake it [if applicable—but use no tub during this phase], then cool it, then "batter" it, then "foil" it, then "tub-and-bake" it). Got it?
 
This time I used Hood eggnog (which I have been using likely the overwhelming majority of times).

However, the crust seemed to be considerably more soggy.

I brought this cheesecake to a Christmas Day get-together, but there was too much dessert competition. The host's chocolate trifle was a big hit. Even though I ate plenty of my own cheesecake, it wasn't touched much by others. A few days later, I brought what was left of this one (about half the cheesecake at this point) to the Sports Page, where it seemed to fare considerably better.
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 14:
 
How about pre-baking the crust in order to reduce its sogginess? Furthermore, because I increased the batter's cottage cheese back in Prototype 12, I was moved at that point to boost its rum extract as well. However, it wasn't long before I suspected that this extract was a little too much. Therefore, I decided to cut it back to its earlier amount (while keeping the cottage cheese at 2 1/2 cups). As with Prototype 13 (and most of my other baked eggnog cheesecake prototypes up to this point), I used Hood eggnog.
 
Repeat Prototype 13, but reduce the batter's rum extract by 1/2 teaspoon, back to only 1 teaspoon.

Also, after the crust has been placed into the pan, pre-bake it (no tub during this phase) for about 20 minutes at 300 degrees, then cool it off until it can be comfortably touched. Add the batter afterward and bake (in a tub at this point) for about 110 minutes.
 
The pre-baking paid off! The crust's texture, I felt, was decent (nice taste, too). However, I felt that the batter was a little overdone (maybe I had been getting more sensitive to overbaking lately). Indeed, there were about a couple of noticeable cracks, and the outer batter (i.e., at the circumference) seemed a little too dry at the surface. Furthermore, the taste might have been a tiny bit too acidic or tart. My eggnog plans for the future, when I get to it: only 2 teaspoons of lemon juice for the batter, which itself should have its oven time cut to only 100 minutes.

But all the refining that I have done up to this point has paid off in an eggnog cheesecake that did very well at Living Hope Church.
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 15:
 
Let's do it! Cut the batter's lemon juice and baking time. Furthermore, since a somewhat wider cheesecake pan was being used (the 9 1/2" Frieling that I got for one of my birthdays), I ended up cutting the crust's pre-bake time and the full-recipe's bake time.
 
So where are we at now?

Crust:
1.5 oz. melted, white chocolate
1/2 cup light eggnog
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2.2 oz. Bran Buds, ground up

Pre-bake, no tub, for about 15 minutes at 300 degrees, then cool (enough to touch).

Batter:
2 tablespoons butter, softened or melted
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon rum extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (20 oz.) lowfat cottage cheese
2 cups of light eggnog
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs

Bake, with tub, for about 90 minutes at 300 degrees, then cool off for about 100 minutes, then remove from pan and refrigerate.
 
I think that this was the first time that I used the Frieling pan for my eggnog prototypes (as opposed to the somewhat smaller-diameter, all-metal pan used earlier). I also used Oakhurst eggnog.

The crust had a nice taste to it. However, I somehow sensed a little harshness in the batter's flavor. Were my taste buds changing? I wasn't sure. But a woman—Karen, from what I best recall—over at the Italian Community Center (to which Lesa's dart team recently relocated) more easily thought this cheesecake had a pumpkin taste. Both of us felt that the nutmeg should be cut back and the sweetness increased. I have already been thinking about boosting the granulated sugar to 3/4 cup and halving the nutmeg—and also the rum extract—on the next eggnog cheesecake (this woman also made some suggestions involving sour cream and powdered sugar, but that was more for red velvet purposes). I also felt that the crust's pre-bake time should be further cut to about 10 minutes.
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 16:
 
Big changes for this one! Say "Hello" to yogurt cheese (and because of its tartness, "Goodbye" to the lemon juice). I also opted to go with a plain crust as well. See the plain cheesecakes (mainly Prototypes 5 through 8) for more info on the reasons behind these changes. I also decided to replace the white whole wheat flour with all-purpose, in order to find out whether this substitution would improve the taste.
 
Crust:
1.5 oz. melted, white chocolate
8 oz. lowfat yogurt cheese
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2.2 oz. Bran Buds, ground up

Do NOT pre-bake the crust. It should be more than firm enough at this point.

Batter:
2 tablespoons butter, softened or melted
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon rum extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (20 oz.) nonfat yogurt cheese
2 cups light eggnog
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs

Bake, with tub, for about 70 minutes at 300 degrees, then cool off for about 70 minutes, then remove from pan and refrigerate.
 
This one came out quite tasty. I felt that using all-purpose flour, as opposed to white whole wheat, did indeed have a noticeably favorable impact on the taste. In a way, I felt a little bad, because that meant sacrificing some fiber. But I had to face some kind of trade-off. If I really wanted this extra fiber, I would have to put up with the "ho-hum" tinge as well. But as long as I had that Bran-Buds-based crust, I was already getting plenty of fiber anyway. Given that, it looked like the usage of white whole wheat flour, as opposed to all-purpose, in the batter wasn't going to provide a big percentage jump in the fiber for the cheesecake overall. But using the all-purpose would likely make a big improvement in the batter's taste.

On the other hand, the Oakhurst eggnog used here also had a big role in making this cheesecake taste great. Perhaps an even better test for the all-purpose flour, particularly in conjunction with yogurt cheese, would be a plain-flavored cheesecake.

I made this prototype as, among other things, an early birthday present for Lesa. In addition to her enjoying it, her friend Steve loved it as well. As with Prototype 8 of my plain cheesecakes, Steve happily commented about a lemon presence in the flavor, even though I used no lemon juice (and I could not, from what I best recall, pick up a lemon-like flavor myself). Again, I had to explain to Steve the tart characteristic of yogurt, a type of food which he told me he (somehow) did not like. I mentioned to him my not really liking eggs. Yet those were in the cheesecake as well. If one does not like a certain food by itself, that person may still greatly enjoy a different food prepared with that disliked ingredient. Combinations of various ingredients, whether liked or not, can result in a tasty sum!
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 17:
 
After working with Prototype 10 of the plain-flavored cheesecakes, I brought some of the ideas from there into the latest eggnog prototype. A special formulation between the cottage and yogurt cheeses would be utilized (I thought that the last eggnog prototype was somewhat too tart—sorry, Steve, I meant for this to be an eggnog cheesecake, not a lemon one). Another notable change to the eggnog prototypes would be the use of arrowroot (combined with a major reduction in flour).
 
2-to-1 Blend of Yogurt Cheese and Cottage Cheese:
Prepare ahead of time 16 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from one 32-ounce container of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 16 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 8 ounces (1 cup) of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese.

Crust:
1 oz. melted, white chocolate
1/2 cup (4 oz.) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1.1 oz. Bran Buds, ground up

Pour this crust mixture into pan (9 to 9 1/2 inches) and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 5 minutes, then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Batter:
2 tablespoons butter, softened or melted
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon rum extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (20 oz.) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
2 cups light eggnog
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup arrowroot
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs

Bake, with tub, for about 70 minutes at 300 degrees, then cool off for about 70 minutes, then remove from pan and refrigerate.

Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 17

I probably could have gotten by with only 60 minutes of baking time, but I wanted an extra "safety" margin of firmness with this prototype.

Oakhurst eggnog was used for this one. I was rather pleased about this Maine dairy making a recent change for the better in its products—no more high-fructose corn syrup! No later than the start of eggnog season 2012, sugar was being used instead.

Oakhurst eggnog labels, 2011 and 2012 versions
Oakhurst eggnog labels. Label on left is 2011 version, with high-fructose corn syrup. Label on right is 2012 version, with sugar.

Yes, some artificial flavoring was still in use. But simply changing the sweetener made me feel happy (in fact, this company stated that it was no longer using the inferior, possibly artificial, corn-based sweetner for any of its products). Way to go Oakhurst! That's another milestone. Now work on going all-natural with your flavorings. Your stance against hormones (e.g., rBST) has gotten you this far, so keep on chugging. (And Amtrak's Downeaster train recently extended its service beyond Portland, to Brunswick—another nice happening from the bushy Pine Tree State.) Goodbye (and good riddance), HFCS! Hello, sugar (and Brunswick—and L.L. Bean's own Freeport too—happy rails)!

This cheesecake had a terrific eggnog taste. The tartness level also seemed to be just about right. However, I did pick up a very faint "ho-hum" tinge, at least when the cheesecake was at about room temperature. Maybe more of the flour needed to be removed (and perhaps a slight arrowroot boost would be needed to compensate for this flour's further reduction).

Still, this cheesecake fared satisfactorily at Living Hope Church. I only brought about half of it there, because I wanted save some to bring to darts at the Beverly ICC as well. This prototype was well received there by Lesa (eggnog being her favorite cheesecake flavor). Her friend Steve responded repeatedly with comments like "Way awesome!!" (he also sensed a moisture to his liking in this cheesecake). So he was thrilled with this treat (no lemon-related concerns—glad you're happy, Steve).
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 18:
 
The batter for this one reflects what I used in my first chocolate eggnog prototype. I was furthermore moved to add a gradual in-oven cooldown to this single-sized prototype here, due to the two cups of eggnog resulting in a large amount of batter (perhaps I should have given more time in the oven for Prototype 17 as well).
 
2-to-1 Blend of Yogurt Cheese and Cottage Cheese:
Prepare ahead of time 16 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from one 32-ounce container of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 16 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 8 ounces (1 cup) of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese.

Crust:
1 oz. melted, white chocolate
1/2 cup (4 oz.) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1.1 oz. Bran Buds, ground up

Pour this crust mixture into pan (9 to 9 1/2 inches) and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 5 minutes, then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Batter:
2 tablespoons butter, softened or melted
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon rum extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (20 oz.) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
2 cups light eggnog
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/8 cup arrowroot
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs

Bake, with tub, for about 90 minutes at 300 degrees. Next, turn oven off, leaving cheesecake in it (still in tub as well), with oven's door slightly ajar, for another 45 minutes. Afterwards, remove cheesecake from oven and tub, and let this cool off (cheesecake still in pan) for about 90 minutes. Then remove from pan and refrigerate.

Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 18

Now that looks a little more well done—and thus promising!

...and delivering! This cheesecake was delicious and well-received at darts (including, of course, by Lesa and Steve). Furthermore, I felt that the eggnog batter was easily firm enough to my satisfaction.
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 19:
 
This version gets updated, primarily with the crust, based on refinements done to other cheesecake flavors earlier in 2013.
 
2-to-1 Blend of Yogurt Cheese and Cottage Cheese:
Prepare ahead of time 16 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from one 32-ounce container of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 16 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 8 ounces (1 cup) of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese.

Crust:
1 oz. melted, white chocolate
1/2 cup (4 oz.) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 oz. All-Bran, ground up

Pour this crust mixture into pan (9 to 9 1/2 inches) and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 5 minutes, then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Batter:
2 tablespoons butter, softened or melted
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon rum extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (20 oz.) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
2 cups light eggnog
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/8 cup arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs

Bake, with tub, for about 90 minutes at 300 degrees. Next, turn oven off, leaving cheesecake in it (still in tub as well), with oven's door slightly ajar, for another 45 minutes. Afterwards, remove cheesecake from oven and tub, and let this cool off (cheesecake still in pan) for about 90 minutes. Then remove from pan and refrigerate. Note: See comments below for more information in regard to cooking and cooling times.

Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 19 (made with Oakhurst eggnog)

I made this one for Lesa's birthday in late August 2013, using Oakhurst eggnog, which had frozen well from the previous Christmas season—and that eggnog still tasted great—and so did the cheesecake itself! I got plenty of nice compliments from a number of people at the Italian Community Center, where I presented this treat to Lesa.

In December 2013 I went on to make Prototype 20, which itself featured more arrowroot—but resulted in what I felt to be too "rubbery" of a texture. So in light of my quest for yet more firmness, but hopefully without rubber concerns, I remade Prototype 19 (with its 3/8 cup of arrowroot) shortly afterward. But this time around, I boosted the oven baking time (still at 300 degrees) to 120 minutes, the in-oven cooldown time to 60 minutes, and the out-of-oven cooldown time to 120 minutes. That's 45 additional minutes (30 of them in the oven) altogether. And I was considerably more satisfied with the resulting texture.
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 20:
 
I somehow wanted some more firmness, so I took a chance on pushing up the arrowroot a bit.
 
Repeat Prototype 19, but boost the batter's arrowroot by 2 tablespoons, to 1/2 cup.
 
I made this one with Oakhurst eggnog.

This cheesecake was easily firm enough. However, I felt that the texture was sort of "rubbery". So perhaps I overdid it on the arrowroot. But the taste itself was terrific. I had given considerations beforehand to reducing or even eliminating the rum extract. But when I carefully evaluated the taste of this prototype, I ended up reasoning, "Don't reduce that rum extract!"

So I determined that it was better to stick with Prototype 19. But if I really wanted more firmness, how about taking a chance on extended oven time? See the later comments for that prototype.
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 21:
 
Sometimes, I have felt the need to use up some dairy products, such as cottage cheese, before their expiration. Here is a recipe with a new kind of cheese base. This one is batter only (no crust). It also uses a rectangular pan, rather than a round one.
 
Batter:
2 cups (16 ounces) lowfat cottage cheese, whipped
4 ounces Neufchatel cheese ("light cream cheese"), softened
5/8 cup (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon rum extract
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups light eggnog
7 tablespoons (1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon) arrowroot
2 eggs

Place into greased 13" x 9" pan (such as a "Pyrex" glass type), bake in tub at 300 degrees for 120 minutes, shut oven off, leaving door slightly ajar, for 60 minutes, remove pan containing cheesecake from tub and oven and let cool at room temperature for 120 minutes, then (with cheesecake still in pan) refrigerate.
 
The top surface of this one seemed to end up being a little too "crusty". So I felt that, in the future, I should reduce the baking time (after all, this was with a 13" x 9" rectangular pan, not a 9" round springform, thus the rectangular version was considerably thinner).

But Lesa greatly enjoyed this one and actually preferred it crust-free (due to her medical incompatibility with the crust's wheat).
 
Baked Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 22:
 
Changes do happen! This latest eggnog-flavored update in December of 2015 is based upon my major cheesecake batter overhaul from a few months earlier. This prototype also is a batter-only recipe, baked in a rectangular pan.
 
3-Cheese Blend (1CT-1NC-4YG):
Prepare ahead of time 16 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from one 32-ounce container of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 16 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 4 ounces of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese and 4 ounces of softened Neufchatel cheese ("light cream cheese"). All this should yield 24 ounces (about 3 cups).

Batter:
24 oz. (about 3 cups) 3-cheese blend (see above)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon rum extract
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 1/3 cups light eggnog
1/2 cup arrowroot
3 eggs

Place into greased 13" x 9" glass ("Pyrex") pan, bake in tub at 300 degrees for 90-100 minutes, shut oven off, leaving door slightly ajar, for 60 minutes, remove pan containing cheesecake from tub and oven and let cool at room temperature for 90-100 minutes, then (with cheesecake still in pan) refrigerate.

Eggnog Cheesecake—Prototype 22

In light of the reduced cooking time, I felt that this one was still baked thoroughly enough. In fact, it seemed a little crusty on top, but that did not bother me too much. The oven-baking time was about 100 minutes (room-cooling time no less than that). The taste was great, and I brought this cheesecake to darts at the Italian Community Center for Lesa and others to enjoy. My latest eggnog prototype went over quite successfully there.

The next time I made this prototype, I reduced the oven-baking and room-cooling times to about 90 minutes each. The cheesecake still came out firm enough, and the top was less crusty. This dessert was served at Living Hope Church (among a modest snack selection), where about 2/3 of it was consumed. I took the rest home.
 

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