Friday, June 20, 2014

To Die For Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

My favorite cheesecakes are firm yet fluffy, decadent, and super rich with every bite deserving of an out loud MMmmmmm.  This recipe has a layer of white chocolate mousse on top.  So delicious! Here is the best cheesecake recipe yet. It takes some time so you might want to take that into consideration. Also, you don't have to use the vanilla beans.  It's just an added flavor. It is amazing without the vanilla bean.  Creamy, rich, and decadent. 

Prep time:  30 min total
Bake time: 60-75 minutes




Fridge time:  4 hours
Yields:  ~ 10 hefty servings


For the crust:
1 graham cracker pie crust or homemade (I prefer homemade)

Homemade crust
1 cup of graham cracker crumbs (ground in a food processor) - this is equal to a little less than one package of squares in the box
1/2 cup of vanilla wafers (ground in a food processor)
1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/3 cup of melted butter

1. Mix together the vanilla wafer crumbs and the graham cracker crumbs.  
2. Add in cinnamon and melted butter.  Mix with your hands to combine evenly.
3.  Press into a greased spring form baking pan.  Wrap foil around the bottom of the pan b/c you are going to put it in a water bath. 

Ingredients for white chocolate mousse topping
1 - 4oz white chocolate baking bar (I use the Ghiradelli brand) worth it!
1/2 package of cream cheese
Vanilla beans from one pod
2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
1 cup of whipping cream (I use heavy cream)


Ingredients for cheesecake
4 packages of cream cheese (8 oz) plus 1/2 package of reduced fat cream cheese at room temp
1 cup of sour cream at room temp
1 and 1/4 cups of sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of all purpose flour
5 regular sized eggs (if you have large eggs, use 4)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Vanilla beans from one pod (just cut it open lengthwise and scrape the beans out)

Preheat oven to 475 (Please note that you will only bake at this temp for 10 min!)
Place a large baking pan (big enough for the spring form pan to sit in) with water in the oven.  This will act as a water bath so the cheesecake doesn't get too overheated and dry. 

  1. Using an electric stand mixer, beat cream cheese until soft on medium speed.   
  2. Slowly add in eggs, sugar, sour cream, vanilla extract, flour, vanilla beans, and lemon juice until blended
  3. Pour into tehthe spring form pan. and place in the water bath.  Bake for 10 min and then reduce heat to 350.  Bake for 60-75 min.  I set my timer for 60 min and then watch it from there on out.  It should be golden brown on top and not "jiggly".  It is okay if it looks fluffy or cracked.  It will firm up when you set it out and put into the fridge.  I found 70 minutes worked best in my oven. 
  4. Let sit out and cool.  Then place in fridge for AT LEAST 4 hours.  It got better over time, because it firmed up.  
In the meantime, make the white chocolate mousse topping and whipped cream. 
  1. In your electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, whisk the 1 cup of heavy cream on high speed for 2 min.  Gradually add in your powdered sugar and keep on high until you get a whipped cream consistency.  Add in vanilla beans.  Scrape out and put into a bowl to set aside.
  2. In the same electric mixer (no need to wash), using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until soft and fluffy.  Melt chocolate according to package directions.  Add in the melted white chocolate.  
  3. Finally, fold in the whipped cream and refrigerate until cheesecake is done.  
Whipped cream recipe
  1. 1 cup of heavy cream
  2. 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
  3. Beat heavy cream and add powdered sugar just like you did for the mousse and refrigerate until use.  

AFTER 4 HOURS....
  1. Layer on top of your cheesecake with the white chocolate mousse.  I would recommend refrigerating for another few hours to let the mousse conform to the cheesecake.  
  2. Release the outer part of your spring form pan and you are ready to indulge!  You can add a side of whipped cream on the side.