For the crust:
1 3/4 cups crushed chocolate graham crackers
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds (3 packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish, optional
Whipped cream, for garnish, optional
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 2. For the crust: Combine chocolate graham cracker crumbs, butter and salt in a medium bowl. Pat mixture evenly over bottom and 1 ? inches up sides of 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
3. For the filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer at medium-high speed, beat cream cheese with sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until just incorporated after each addition. Reduce mixer speed to low and add cream, vanilla extract and espresso, beating until just incorporated after each addition.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust and bake 1 ? hours; until puffed around edges. The center will look soft and will jiggle slightly when pan is tapped. Transfer cheesecake to rack and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate at least 4 hours.
5. To serve: Dust the top of the cheesecake with nutmeg, if desired. Dip a knife blade in hot water, dry it, and slice cheesecake. Garnish slices with whipped cream, if desired.
When the cheesecake first comes out of the oven, it will be puffed and rounded from steam. It will collapse in the refrigerator, leaving the center slightly lower than the center. Not to worry—it will taste delicious.