Monday, March 5, 2012

SRC: Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Vanilla Graham Cracker Crust

Have you ever wondered why February is a shorter month than the others? I've never minded because it always feels like we're just that much closer to winter being over. Since we haven't exactly encountered winter yet, I found a new reason to be happy that February is such a short month. Why?

Because it felt like a much shorter time I had to wait to make my recipe for the Secret Recipe Club. If you haven't heard of the Secret Recipe Club yet I'm going to have to ask if you live under a rock? :-) But, if you haven't click HERE and find out all about it.

For this month I was assigned Barbara Bakes. There's not joking in that title, Barbara definitely does bake. There are tons of cookie, cake, dessert and pie recipes on her blog with a decent amount of chicken, beef, soup and veggie recipes thrown in for good measure. I felt a bit overwhelmed when I clicked on the Recipe Index since there are so many recipes! But I took my time slowly going through each category and trying to determine which recipe I wanted to make.

I finally narrowed it down to Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake Bites, Chocolate Glazed Yeast Doughnuts, or Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread. I printed out the recipe for all three and told myself I'd decide the next day. Well, the next day I happened to go to the farmers market and noticed that they had vanilla beans. I can't find them at the grocery store and I'd never made anything with real vanilla before. When I got home, I immediately went back to Barbara's blog to see if she had any recipes using real vanilla and that's how I found this cheesecake recipe.

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Vanilla Graham Cracker Crust
Source: Barbara Bakes, as seen on Jenny Bakes
Yield: 1 cheesecake
Printer Friendly 

Vanilla Graham Cracker Crust Ingredients:
    • 11 honey graham crackers
    • 1 stick unsalted butter
    • 2 tbs. sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 
    Cheesecake Ingredients:
    • 24 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature (3 8 oz. bricks)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1 tbs. lemon juice
    • seeds from one vanilla bean pod
    Special Tools:
    9" Springform Pan
    Large Roasting Pan with rack  

Crust Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9" springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Melt the butter and let cool slightly.
3. Process the graham crackers in a food processor until they are fine crumbs.
4. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, add the sugar, melted butter and vanilla. Stir with a fork until all of the crumbs are moist.
5. Pour the crust mixture into the springform pan. Use a flat bottomed cup to press down on the bottom and sides of the pan.
6. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Let cool while preparing the cheesecake mixture.

Cheesecake Directions:
1. In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add one egg and mix until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides again and add the next egg. Repeat with the final egg.
3. Add the heavy cream, lemon juice, and seeds from the vanilla pod. Blend on low until smooth and creamy.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared crust, spreading to the edges if necessary. Tap the pan lightly on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
5. Fill the roasting pan with very hot tap water, about two inches high. Place the rack into the roasting pan and place the cheesecake on top. (If you have an inverted rack, wrapping the springform pan with foil makes it much sturdier and less likely to move around.)
6. Bake the cheesecake for 60-65 minutes or until it is done around the edges but still jiggly in the center.
7. Turn off the oven and let rest for 1 hour.
8. Remove the cake from the oven and discard the water. Continue to cool the cake on a wire rack to room temperature.
9. Transfer the cake to the refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours.
To serve, place the pan on a cake dish. Carefully unhinge the springform pan and remove the sides of the pan. Slice into 8 pieces and use a cake server to remove.

This cheesecake was pretty good but I think the filling layer is just too high for this to cook and set properly. I increased my baking time by 10 minutes more than what Barbara did and after cutting into it, I realized another 10 minutes wouldn't have hurt. Either way, at least I can say I was successful that my first cheesecake didn't crack!


13 comments:

  1. That cheesecake looks seriously delicious! Love the fruit and chocolate on top! :)

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  2. beautiful cheesecake! sometimes simple cheesecake is really the best!

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  3. What a great pick to highlight the flavor of your vanilla beans. Your cheesecake looks delicious. Thanks for the sweet comments. I hope you do try the recipes you printed, they're some of my favorite.

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  4. I love vanilla beans and they're so expensive that you have to choose recipes wisely. This looks like it was an excellent choice!

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  5. This recipe looks simple yet so delicious! Great SRC choice! YUM!

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  6. I am such a sucker for cheesecake. I have a few vanilla beans in my cupboard and can't wait to try this recipe out soon! I love the presentation too-simple but elegant.

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  7. You had me at vanilla beans. How I love their flavor, and they're a perfect match for cheesecake. Sounds fabulous!

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  8. I will take this cheesecake over mine any day, if I'm splurging. LOVE the addition of vanilla beans! Looks beautiful!

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  9. Your cheesecake turned out perfectly.

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  10. Man, cheesecake is like my favorite thing ever. With fresh vanilla beans? Like manna from the gods.

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  11. It is always difficult to narrow down the recipe choices but you found a winner with the cheesecake, it looks wonderful.

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my SRC entry: Broiled Sushi.

    Lisa~~
    Cook Lisa Cook

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  12. Mmm...this looks like heaven to me. Can you pass me a fork, please??

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