Wednesday, April 6, 2011


vanilla bean cheesecake almond crust (2)

Two years ago, I made Food and Wine’s Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Walnut Crust, and it was absolutely amazing.  I wanted to make it again, but with an almond crust, to see which I preferred.  Both crusts are delicious with this cheesecake, and I have no preference.  So you can feel free to try either one with great results. 
vanilla bean cheesecake almond crust

My vanilla bean supply was exhausted, so Beanilla got another order.  This time, I lucked out.   Rare and exotic Tonga vanilla beans were on special, half off.  They are noted for their intense flavor and fragrance, and I was excited to get a chance to taste them and try them in this cheesecake.  The sour cream topping also got a hit from the vanilla beans.  My pantry has another bottle of homemade vanilla extract brewing, and I still have 4 vanilla beans to use up.  Tonga beans, I found out, are fatter and longer than other beans and have a ton of vanilla bean seeds inside.
vanilla bean cheesecake almond crust (3)

If you decide to make this cheesecake and opt to use vanilla extract instead of vanilla beans, please use a high-quality vanilla.

What more can I say?  This cheesecake is simply wonderful.  It’s not necessary to pile on fruit, sauces or chocolates to make it better.  It’s already great, just like it is. 

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Almond Crust
Inspired by Food and Wine Magazine
Rating:  10 out of 10

CRUST:  1/3 cup toasted almonds
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup almond flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
1/3 cup graham flour, or whole wheat
2-1/2 Tbsp. butter, melted

Heat oven to 350F.  In work bowl of food processor, pulse almonds and sugar till almonds are finely ground.  Add flours and butter and pulse till mixture comes together.  Press onto bottom and 1” up sides of greased 8” springform pan.  Bake 8-10 minutes, or till set and beginning to brown.  Cool on wire rack.   Reduce oven heat to 300F!

SOUR CREAM TOPPING:  8 oz. sour cream, or lite sour cream
2 Tbsp. sugar, or 1-1/2 tsp. Nu Naturals Stevia
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped, or 1 tsp. vanilla  (I used Beanilla Tonga vanilla bean)

In small bowl, whisk together sour cream, sugar and vanilla.  Set aside.

  16 oz. Philly cream cheese or Neufchatel
1/2 cup sugar, preferably fine grind (or 1/4 cup sugar + 1 Tbsp. NuNaturals Stevia)
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped, (or 1 tsp. vanilla) (I used Beanilla Tonga vanilla bean)
2 large eggs
1 tsp. high-quality pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond liqueur, such as Amaretto
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Reduce oven heat to 300F!  Wipe out work bowl of food processor with damp paper towel.

Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla bean seeds in work bowl of food processor.  Pulse till well combined and smooth.  Add eggs, one at a time, pulsing just till combined.  Add flavorings, cream and cornstarch and pulse briefly to combine.  Pour over cooled crust, place on foil-lined, rimmed cookie sheet and bake 55-60 minutes, or till edges are lightly golden and cheesecake is slightly jiggly in center. 

Remove cheesecake from oven; immediately pour sour cream mixture over top and smooth the surface.  Return to oven and bake 5 more minutes, or till topping is set and no longer glossy on top.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature, several hours.  Place in refrigerator, uncovered, for another two hours.  Cover with plastic wrap applied directly to surface of cheesecake and refrigerate overnight before slicing.  Yield:  8-10 servings


Bo said...

I love cheesecake...and this does sound like a good one...I order my vanilla beans from beanilla too. They have the best quality I like the tonga beans best.

melissa said...

omg! that looks divine! :) great job on the cheesecake!

MelindaRD said...

Ok, this sounds awesome. The crust must taste wonderful!

Anonymous said...

This sounds so good! I absolutely love cheesecake, although I'm not sure I'd make it at home because I am the only one that would eat it.

Anonymous said...

This sounds so good! I absolutely love cheesecake, although I'm not sure I'd make it at home because I am the only one that would eat it.

Nutmeg Nanny said...

Amazing! I love how rich and vanilla packed it sounds.

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Ohhh Judy, this looks delicious! Save me a slice and I'll save you a slice of my pie that I posted! LOL!!

MegSmith @ Cooking.In.College said...

That is so gorgeous. Those specks of vanilla are making my mouth water :-)

teresa said...

we just got some vanilla bean pods, i now know what we're doing with them! this looks amazing!

The Food Hound said...

I'm pretty sure this is the best cheesecake I've ever seen! I LOVE the vanilla flavor (some things are better with vanilla than chocolate, and I think cheesecake is one of those things) and I love the nut crust. I use pecans in mine. YUM!

Judy said...

Ocean, You have a deal, I'll be right over.

Velva said...

This is absolutely amazing. Vanilla is one of my favorite flavors and it works beautifully in the cheesecake. Amazing.


Barbara Bakes said...

What a fabulous cheesecake! The Tonga vanilla beans sound wonderful.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Anything with vanilla beans and almonds makes me happy. Your cheesecake looks fabulous Judy.

Jackie said...

Hi Judy

I'm trying to find out how is the tonga beans in comparison to the other beans. Did you use the tonga beans in this recipe.

Judy said...

Jackie, Tonga beans are longer and fatter than others I've tried. The flavor is very intense vanilla, really wonderful in a cheesecake. I also made vanilla bean cupcakes (not posted yet) which were flavored beautifully with Tonga vanilla. And I have a bottle of vanilla extract brewing with Tonga beans as well.

Biz said...

Judy - that looks amazing!!! Great job!

Hope you are feeling well!