Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Recipe

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 full-sheet graham crackers)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling

  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs

Instructions

Make the Crust:

  • Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
  • Combine Ingredients: Mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter until evenly moistened.
  • Press into Pan: Press crumb mixture firmly into the bottom and about 1-inch up the sides of the prepared springform pan.
  • Bake and Cool: Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until slightly set. Let cool completely.

Make the Filling:

  • Beat Cream Cheese and Sugar: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy (around 2-3 minutes).
  • Add Vanilla: Scrape in the vanilla bean seeds (or add vanilla extract) and beat until combined.
  • Add Eggs: Add eggs one at a time, beating on low speed just until incorporated after each addition. Don’t overmix.
  • Add Dairy: Stir in the sour cream and heavy cream until just combined.

Assemble and Bake

  • Wrap Pan: Wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil to prevent water from seeping in during the water bath.
  • Pour Batter: Pour the cheesecake filling over the cooled crust.
  • Create Water Bath: Set the springform pan inside a larger roasting pan. Carefully pour hot water into the roasting pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
  • Bake: Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until the edges are set but the center still jiggles slightly.
  • Turn Off Oven, Leave Door Ajar: Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake sit inside with the door slightly open for about 1 hour. This helps prevent cracking.
  • Chill: Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, uncover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or ideally overnight.

Serving

  • Release from Pan: Run a thin knife around the edge of the cheesecake to release it from the pan. Remove the springform pan sides.
  • Top and Serve: Top with fresh berries, whipped cream, or other desired toppings. Slice and enjoy your creamy, decadent vanilla bean cheesecake!

Tips:

  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature for the best texture.
  • Don’t Overmix: Overmixing after adding eggs can incorporate too much air, leading to cracks.
  • Water Bath is Key: The water bath provides even baking and prevents the cheesecake from drying out or cracking.

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