Organic vanilla bean cheesecake. I can't think of a dessert that I love more in the summer, especially with a few cherries on top after slicing!
Using real vanilla beans truly takes this all time favorite over the top. The recipe is simple, but there are a couple of things that you need to plan on before you make this cheesecake.
1. The night before you make this cheesecake, put the granulated sugar in a small bowl and bury the vanilla bean in it. Cover tightly and let stand overnight to flavor the sugar. When you are ready to make the cake, set the vanilla bean aside for stripping later.
2. You will need to chill the cheesecake in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight before serving. This is a crucial step to "set" the cake.
1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker (about 8 crackers)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons vanilla bean infused sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature (I used 2 neufchatel and 2 regular cream cheese)
1 cup vanilla bean infused sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 vanilla beans 1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. For crust, combine the crumbs, butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a stand mixer or food processor. Pulse until mixed thoroughly. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and 1.5 inches up the sides. Press the crumbs with a flat bottomed, straight-sided glass. Bake the crust until it turns golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool. Reduce the oven to 325F. For the filling, beat the cream cheese on low speed until creamy in a large bowl. Add sugar and beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating gently after each addition. Split vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape seeds into the cream cheese mixture.
Add vanilla and almond extracts and mix until smooth and creamy. Are you with me? This is very important–do NOT overmix. You will thank me later. Turn the oven down to 325F.
Place the cake in the center of the oven on a cookie sheet. Bake until the edges are light golden brown and the top is slightly golden tan, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let the cake cool for 2 hours. Leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with foil used during baking, and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight or at least 4 hours.
Slice and enjoy!