Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

There are so many different flavored cheesecake recipes out there. They all sound amazing, and I keep on wanting to try them. And yet… and yet I keep making the same flavor over and over, nearly every time I make a cheesecake.

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

This is for all you other lovers of vanilla out there. It’s a good one.

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

FOR THE CRUST

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

FOR THE CHEESECAKE

2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup sour cream

Sour Cream Topping (below)

MAKE THE CRUST:

1. Butter a 9-inch springform pan or removable-bottomed pan (make sure that the sides are at least 2 3/4 inches high), and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of foil.

2. Stir the crumbs, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter, and stir with your fingers until completely combined.  Pour into the prepared pan and pat it into an even layer over the bottom and about halfway up the sides (I used the bottom of a measuring cup). It’s okay if the sides are not perfectly even. Place the pan into the freezer while you preheat the oven.

3. Center a rack in the oven, and preheat to 350°F.

4. Place the pan with the crust on a baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.

MAKE THE CHEESECAKE:

1. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer witted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until soft and creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and salt, and continue to beat for another 4 minutes. Beat in the vanilla bean paste. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a full minute in between each one. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the heavy cream and sour cream. Stir with a rubber spatula to make sure that there is nothing unmixed at the bottom of the bowl.

2. Bring a kettle or pot of water to a boil. Put the foil-wrapped pan into a roasting pan that is large enough to hold the pan with some space around it. Scrape the cheesecake batter into the crust. Put the roasting pan into the oven and very carefully pour enough boiling water into it to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

3. Bake the cheesecake for 1 1/2 hours. The cheesecake will be browned (and possibly cracked), and may have risen a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven, and prop the door slightly open with a wooden spoon. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour.

3. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Carefully lift out the cheesecake, and remove the foil. Leave on a wire rack to come to room temperature.

4. When the cake is completely cool, spread with the sour cream topping. Cover the top lightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, although overnight is better.

SOUR CREAM TOPPING

1 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, mixing well.

Makes 16 servings

*Cheesecake recipe adapted from Baking: From my Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

My Cheesecake didn’t crack! 🙂

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Mini Mocha Cheesecakes

My husband, Chaim, has mentioned to me once or twice many times that he would love for me to make cheesecake more often (I make it once a year, tops), so I knew that that would be the perfect thing for me to surprise him with when he came back from his business trip yesterday. I usually stick with a classic vanilla cheesecake, but I wanted to try something different this time. After doing some online searching, I found  this recipe. Unlike a regular cheesecake, which is made with cream cheese, this is made with pureed nonfat cottage cheese. I was a little skeptical about making a low-fat cheesecake, but it had good reviews so I went with it. They were great – so rich and creamy! I love when a healthier version of a recipe is just as decadent as the full-fat version. I definitely want to play around with this, and try making different flavors using the same method.

Mini Mocha Cheesecakes

2 cups nonfat cottage cheese

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

9 chocolate wafer cookies, such as Famous (see note, below)

Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 275°F. Line 9 standard muffin cups with cupcake liners. In a food processor, combine cottage cheese, eggs, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, flour, espresso powder, and vanilla. Process until smooth, 4 minutes, scraping down sides as needed. Divide mixture among cups and place one cookie on top of each. Bake until fillings are set and cookies soften, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature in pan on wire rack, then refrigerate at least 1 1/2 hours (or, covered, up to 3 days). to serve, invert cheesecakes onto plates and peel off liners. Top with a dollop of whipped cream if desired.

9 servings

*Adapted from Martha Stewart (Everyday Food)

Note: Instead of chocolate wafer cookies, I used chocolate sandwich cookies, opened up, like this: