In a quest to make the perfect Vanilla Bean Cheesecake I came up with this one. This recipe is made the typical New York style with the sour cream topping, however if you prefer you can leave off the sour cream. The one in the picture does not have the sour cream on it, since I have a family member who does not eat sour cream. You can also add fruit topping of your choosing if you like. Hope you like it as much as my 1 year old grandson, who dove into the one I made for this past Thanksgiving! So I can say this is family tested and approved!!
Preheat oven to 350. And spray 10" springform pan with canola oil no stick spray or use butter to grease the pan. Place larger baking pan in oven with about 1 1/2" of water in it.
In food processor pulse the vanilla cookies till they are the like corn meal. If using nuts pulse them as well till they are fine as well. Mix cookie mixture and nuts together and add melted butter, mix well. Press cookie crust into the springform pan, push up about 3/4" up the side of the pan. Set aside and make your filling.
In mixer cream the cream cheese on low speed for about 1 minute, be careful not to over mix. Add 1 & 1/4 cups of sugar and the vanilla seeds just until combined. Than beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add 2 teaspoons of the vanilla extract. Slowly beat in the cream just until smooth.
Pour the cheesecake batter into the springform pan, reduce oven heat to 300. Double wrap outside of the springform pan with foil. Place pan inside water bath, you want the water to go about half way up your pan. Now bake for 65 to 70 minutes. Until lightly golden and still jiggly in the center.
While your cake is baking combine sour cream and remaining sugar and set aside until cake it baked. I don't always use the sour cream and remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla and set aside. If you do not like sour cream on your cake you can omit this step, the cake in my picture did not have it on it. But this is the more typical way of making this cake. Remove cake from oven when done, and removed the baking pan with the water bath as well. Immediately pour the sour cream topping over the cheesecake and smooth the surface. Return cheesecake to the oven and bake an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack and cool to room temperature. Run a sharp thin blade knife around the cake and remove the ring. Refrigerate the cake for 3 hours before you attempt to move the cake off the bottom of the pan, or you can serve the cake still on the bottom of the pan it is totally up to you. It is best to make this a day ahead and chill over night before serving. Enjoy!