Monday, May 3, 2010

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

When I brought home vanilla beans from our trip to Indonesia, I knew I would make a vanilla bean cheesecake for my husband's birthday. I didn't take the best pictures (note my baby's finger about to taste a sample) but this was honestly the best cheesecake recipe EVER. The texture was so light and creamy. I brought it to the restaurant to celebrate my husband's and my mom's birthdays and it tasted like it could have been on the dessert menu. I bought a really nice spring form pan from The Cook's Place on the Danforth and they had just about anything you could ever need to cook or bake with very knowledgeable staff. What an awesome store! Anyway...this recipe is pretty much guaranteed, so give it a shot if you want a texture-perfect cheesecake. I found the recipe on My Baking Addiction. The tips were so helpful!

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

3 packages Philadelphia cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
2 vanilla beans, (scraped innards only)
2 tbsp Bailey's Irish Cream (I added this)

Preheat oven to 350 if you have a light colored cheesecake pan, or 325 if your spring form pan is darker. Line the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with parchment paper, and wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil to insure it is airtight.

In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and vanilla and press lightly into the bottom of the spring form pan.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time ensuring each is incorporated fully.
Add heavy cream, vanilla bean innards and Bailey's and ensure the batter is smooth.

Pour cheesecake batter over the graham cracker crumb crust and place the pan into a larger pan. Pour boiling water into the larger pan so that the water comes halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. Carefully place into the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes. The cheesecake should be slightly wobbly but should hold together when finished. Do not over bake the cheesecake. To avoid cracks, turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to gradually cool in the oven for an hour or more. Once cool, carefully remove the cheesecake pan from the waterbath and chill in the fridge.

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