Saturday, March 19, 2011

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

I had to save this recipe to my favorites list because of Break or Bake’s incredible photos. That’s what you call food porn!

I’m sure you’ve tried double or triple chocolate cheesecake but how about triple vanilla cheesecake? I made some adjustments to this recipe to get just that. The crust and cheesecake filling both use vanilla sugar (ingenious) but I also infused the heavy cream with Madagascar vanilla beans for extra indulgence.

These came out… well, with great vanilla flavor, of course, but what pulls it together is the crust too. It’s a butter cookie that adds alittle crunch and then melts in your mouth. I doubled the recipe to make into a springform pan but the original recipe makes these into bars.
Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Vanilla Sugar and Vanilla Cream

1 ¼ cups sugar
2 vanilla beans
½ cup heavy cream


1/4 cup vanilla sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup vanilla sugar
1/2 cup vanilla cream
4 (8-oz) packages plain cream cheese, room temperature
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

Begin this recipe a few days or a few hours in advance, by making the vanilla sugar and vanilla cream, preferably a few days in advance as the flavor will deepen with time. Place the heavy cream into a sauce pan over low heat. Split open one vanilla bean and scrape out the black vanilla specks. Place the specks and both beans (the pitted one and whole one) into the cream. Heat until it slowly simmers, for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool and then refrigerate until ready to use. Take out the beans from the cream. Place the sugar in a plastic container. Scrape out the whole bean and place the specks into the sugar. Combine well. Place the pitted beans into the sugar, cover with a lid until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, cream together the vanilla sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is like a cookie. Press evenly into a springform pan and bake for 15 minutes.

While the crust bakes, combine vanilla sugar and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in vanilla cream. Do not over mix. Add in vanilla extract and eggs one at a time, do not over mix.

Pour the filling over the hot crust when it has finished baking. Return pan to oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the filling is just set in the center.  

Cool completely before slicing (don’t be alarmed if the cheesecake appears to deflate somewhat as it cools). Refrigerate.

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