Rum and freshly grated nutmeg give this holiday cheesecake a festive flavour. Look for whole nutmeg in the spice aisle of the grocery store or in bulk food stores.
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Toss the crumbs with the melted butter and sugar. Firmly press into the bottom of a 9-inch (23 cm) springform cake pan. Bake until lightly golden, for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely.
Line the inside of a springform pan with parchment paper strip. Set the pan on a large piece of heavy-duty foil (or double layer of regular foil) and wrap the sides then place in a deep roasting pan.
Reduce heat to 325°F (160°F). Beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in sugar, nutmeg and salt until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in rum extract. Pour over crust.
Pour water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of the springform pan.
Bake until set but jiggles slightly in centre, about 70 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave inside for 1 hour. Transfer to wire rack and cool in its water bath. Remove from water. Cool to room temperature. Chill overnight or up to 2 days. Remove spring form pan before serving.
Beat whipping cream with sugar and vanilla until stiff. Dollop whipped cream over top of cheesecake or onto individual servings. Grate nutmeg overtop.
Substitute rum or vanilla extract for 2 tbsp (30 mL) Amber Rum, if desired.
This cheesecake freezes well in its springform pan, covered with aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 2 weeks.
To thaw, leave in fridge overnight or let it sit out during the day.
Variations on toppings (make these fresh)—
• whipped cream
• sautéed apples or an apple pecan or pear topping
• fresh raspberries or strawberries