Vanilla beans are expensive but they really add rich flavor to this classic cheesecake, which is topped with fresh strawberries.
- 1 1/4 cups graham-cracker crumbs
- 3 tablespoons whole blanched almonds, toasted and finely ground
- 5 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
- 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
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.)
- Servings Per Recipe 12
- Fat, total(g)36,
- sat. fat(g)21,
- Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet