Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
As you may know, I'm a self-taught baker. I used to bake something new "for fun" just about every weekend. Now, it's hard to find the time. On the weekends I'm often in production, and weekends when I'm not, I like to get away on mini vacations. But when I do find the time to just bake something for fun, I like to try something new!
I've only made cheesecake once before this, which seems crazy, and I was probably 15 at the time. I remember I was at my family's cabin on Camano Island here in WA, and I made these mini cheesecakes with a raspberry swirl. I totally messed up the water bath (or maybe I just skipped the bath all together- I can't remember), and they were pretty much a fail. Each one was in a muffin tin and they were sunken in and sad.
So, the other weekend, I set out to make something new, and went with cheesecake! I wanted to make use of our new Vanilla Bean Infused Cane Sugar to make a simple vanilla bean cheesecake, which I topped with Strawberries here, but you could do blueberries, a rhubarb compote, or even caramel sauce on top. The options are endless!
Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
10 graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
1 Tbsp cane sugar
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
4 Packs cream cheese (8 oz each), room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Cup heavy cream, room temperature
Hot water for the water bath
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Wrap the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with foil and set aside.
2. Make the crust: In a medium bowl, combine crushed graham crackers, 1 Tbsp of cane sugar, and melted butter. Use a wooden spoon to incorporate the mixture together. Place into the springform pan and press into the bottom, evening out and flattening the crust. Set aside.
3. Make the filling: place the cream cheese into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. (The cream cheese must be room temp to beat properly). Add the Vanilla Bean Infused Cane Sugar and beat to incorporate. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each one. Add the vanilla extract and place the mixer on medium-low speed. While running, slowly add the cream in a stream. Once added, raise the speed to medium-high and beat until the entire mixture is smooth. Throughout the process you may need to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula to incorporate all ingredients.
4. Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Set the springform pan into the center of a larger square or rectangular pan that is at least 1 1/2 inches deep. Pour some hot water into the large pan, so that the water is about 1/2 inch deep. Be careful to not get any water into the cheesecake. This water bath will keep the cheesecake from cracking.
5. Carefully place the pans together into the oven and bake for about 55-60 minutes. When they are done, the middle of the cheesecake should still jiggle when moved, but the edges should be slightly more firm, and the top a light golden color.
6. Remove the pans from the oven. Take the springform pan out the water bath and remove the foil. Place on a wire rack to cool competely. Once cool, remove the outside of the pan. Place the cheesecake on a plate and cover with cellophane, and refrigerate overnight.
7. To serve, allow it to stand at room temp for about 45 minutes before cutting. Serve as-is, or top with fresh fruit, compote, or sauce!