Vanilla Cheesecake

Vanilla beans are expensive but they really add rich flavor to this classic cheesecake, which is topped with fresh strawberries.

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Vanilla Cheesecake
Makes: 12  servings

Ingredients

CRUST
  • 1 1/4 cups  graham-cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons  whole blanched almonds, toasted and finely ground
  • 5 tablespoons  butter or margarine, melted
FILLING
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups  sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup  sour cream
  • Whole and sliced fresh strawberries, for garnish

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Make crust::

2. Combine graham-cracker crumbs, sugar, almonds and butter in bowl until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake until golden brown, 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Wrap bottom and side of pan with heavy-duty foil. Set aside.

Make filling::

3. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Remove seeds from vanilla bean with tip of small paring knife or spoon; set aside. (Place bean in a canister with granulated or confectioners sugar to make vanilla sugar.) Beat cream cheese in mixer bowl on medium-high speed, 3 minutes. Scrape side of bowl with rubber spatula. Beat in vanilla seeds. Gradually beat in sugar, scraping sides of mixer bowl with rubber spatula. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended and mixture is completely smooth. Stir in sour cream and vanilla extract, if using. Pour filling into prepared pan. Place pan in a larger roasting pan and carefully add enough hot water to come halfway up side of springform pan.

4. Bake 1 hour. Turn off oven. Let cheesecake stand in oven 1 hour. (Do not open door.) Remove from water bath and cool on wire rack 1 hour. Cover cheesecake and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.

5. Remove ring from pan. Transfer cake to a flat serving plate. Garnish top of cake with whole strawberries, and serve with sliced strawberries, if desired. (Nutrition facts are based on per serving without strawberries.)

Nutrition Facts

  • Servings Per Recipe 12
  • cal.(kcal)525,
  • Fat, total(g)36,
  • chol.(mg)170,
  • sat. fat(g)21,
  • carb.(g)41,
  • fiber(g)1,
  • pro.(g)9,
  • sodium(mg)372,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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