vanilla bean cheesecake

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

I’ve made a lot of cheesecakes over the years but had yet to make the classic vanilla bean cheesecake!

Vanilla beans are so expensive because it’s hard to grow. Vanilla vines take two to four years to fully mature, and their flowers only bloom for one day of the year. In order for the plants to produce beans, they have to be pollinated in that one day. In most places where vanilla is grown, it isn’t a native plant, so there aren’t insects or animals to pollinate the flowers. In Madagascar, where over 80% of vanilla is produced, the flowers have to be pollinated by hand. Then the pods need several months to cure after harvesting.  (source)

I had a Secret Santa with my college friends years ago and on my wish list was “vanilla beans.” A bit unusual, but I figured it was something I’ve been wanting for years, but couldn’t bring myself to splurge on real vanilla beans.

It was so long ago I don’t even remember what I made with my first batch of vanilla beans. But I was just as excited as my newly graduated self when I found vanilla beans at Costco for a very reasonable price 8 years later!

vanilla bean cheesecake slice

These vanilla beans smelled so good and I didn’t want to waste one speck of it. It’s so cool to see the little black flecks as you mix it into thee ingredients.

I scraped the leftover vanilla bean filling into my whipped cream and piped it on the side like Cheesecake Factory. I then put the used pods in a ziploc bag of sugar, so nothing went to waste.

Adapted from Allrecipes. Enjoy!

 Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

4 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup finely crushed graham crackers

1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cups white sugar 
3 eggs
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 6 inch springform pan. In a small bowl combine the crushed graham crackers, sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of your springform pan. bake for 10 min, then set aside to cool.

In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the scraped seeds of vanilla beans and heavy cream, and beat until the mixture is blended and smooth. Pour the mixture into the springform pan on the graham cracker crust.

Wrap the base springform pan with foil and place it on a larger baking dish. Fill the larger baking dish with water coming up halfway to the springform pan to make your water bath – this makes the cheesecake bake more evenly.  Place the springform pan in the baking dish in your preheated oven.

Bake until a small knife inserted into the middle of the cheesecake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake cool down inside the oven for 1 hour. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before serving. Enjoy!

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