vanilla bean cheesecake

brûléed cheesecake

These cute and highly addictive vanilla bean cheesecakes are one of our favorites for entertaining. Starting with room temperature cream cheese and eggs ensures a smooth texture in the finished batter. We absolutely love the crunch from the sugar on top, combining our love of creme brûlée with our favorite cheesecake recipe. Below are two recipes: one for the minis version, one for a full cheesecake.

(to make as 12 mini cheesecakes)

While not completely necessary, using a mini cheesecake pan is worth the effort for the mini version, especially when it comes to unmolding them because of the removable bottoms in the pan (versus a muffin tin). Plus, the proportions of the recipe will be just right, and the finished minis will have tall and smooth sides. For added indulgence, brûlée the tops of each one just before serving.

  • Crust
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely ground vanilla wafer crumbs (from approximately 30 cookies)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
     
  • Filling
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for brûlée (if using)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, divided
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, beaten, at room temperature
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place a mini cheesecake pan on a large baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. Make crust. In a small saucepan, melt butter. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine vanilla wafer crumbs and sugar. Stir in butter until well combined with crumbs. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of crust into each cavity in pan and press evenly onto bottom and about halfway up sides. Bake until crust is slightly darkened, 7-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. 
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
  5. In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine cream cheese, yogurt, milk, flour, and salt on medium speed, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and mix again until all of sugar is incorporated. 
  6. Cut vanilla bean lengthwise, exposing seeds. Scrape seeds from both sides of bean. Add to mixture, along with vanilla extract, and continue to mix until just incorporated. Add egg and mix until just combined. (Do not overbeat once eggs have been added or cheesecake will puff too much and crack as it cools.) Spoon filling evenly into cooled crust. Smooth top of each with back of a spoon, making sure to spread mixture out to sides of each cavity, filling each completely.
  7. Bake for about 30-35 (start checking after 25 minutes), until cheesecake is slightly puffed and center jiggles slightly when gently pressed with a finger. When done, turn oven off, crack door slightly and allow to cool in oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow cheesecake to cool completely. Gently run a sharp knife around edges of each, carefully cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator and chill until ready to serve, at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  8. To serve, carefully remove cheesecakes from pan by pressing up from bottom of each cavity. Transfer cheesecakes to a serving platter and top each with a bit of sugar (if using). Brûlée tops with a kitchen torch just before serving.

Makes 12.


(to make as 1 9-inch cheesecake)

While we love serving minis for entertaining, we’re also including the same recipe as above as a whole cheesecake. Serve slices alongside freshly whipped cream with a dash of vanilla extract and a pinch of sugar for added flavor.

  • Crust
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups finely ground vanilla wafer crumbs (from approximately 60 cookies)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
     
  • Filling
  • 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Wrap bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil and place on a large baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. Make crust. In a small saucepan, melt butter. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine vanilla wafer crumbs and sugar. Stir in butter until well combined with crumbs. Transfer mixture to prepared springform pan and press evenly onto bottom and about halfway up sides of pan. Bake until crust is slightly darkened, 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. 
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
  5. In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine cream cheese, yogurt, milk, flour, and salt on medium speed, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and mix again until all of sugar is incorporated. 
  6. Cut vanilla bean lengthwise, exposing seeds. Scrape seeds from both sides of bean and add to mixture, along with vanilla extract, and continue to mix until just incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until just combined. (Do not overbeat once eggs have been added or cheesecake will puff too much and crack as it cools.) Pour filling evenly into cooled crust.
  7. Bake for about 1 hour (start checking after 45 minutes), until cheesecake is slightly puffed around edges, and center jiggles slightly (center will still look a bit wet). When done, turn oven off, crack door slightly and allow to cool in oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place pan on a wire rack. Gently run a sharp knife around edges and allow cheesecake to cool completely. Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator and chill until ready to serve, at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  8. To serve, undo clasp from around pan and carefully lift outside of springform pan. Transfer cheesecake to a large cake plate and slice into wedges.

Serves 10-12.


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