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Big Mama Vanilla Cheesecake Recipe

Big Mama Vanilla Cheesecake Recipe
If you're looking for a show-stopping cheesecake recipe, look no further. This one features a sweet and salty crust made with vanilla wafers rather than predictable graham crackers.
"Excerpted from Pure Vanilla: Irresistible Recipes and Essential Techniques by Shauna Sever. Reprinted with permission from Quirk Books."

Serves 10 to 12

For the Crust:
- 1 batch Vanilla Snaps or 8 ounces of store-bought vanilla wafers (about 50 wafers)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt

For The Filling:
- 3 pounds (6 8-ounce packages) cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

For The Topping:
- 2 cups of sour cream
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions:
1. If you are looking for a show-stopping cheesecake recipe, look no further. This one features a sweet and salty crust made with vanilla wafers rather than the predictable graham crackers.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 325F degrees. Lightly spray the sides of a 10-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray (no need to spray the bottom).

2. In the bowl of a food processor, process vanilla wafers to fine crumbs. Add butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and pulse until well mixed and evenly moistened. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press firmly along the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the pan. Next, make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until soft and smooth. Add sugar and beat until fluffy.

3. Beat in eggs one at a time. Turn off mixer and thoroughly scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add lemon juice, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean paste and beat 1 minute more. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until filling is set around the edges but still jiggles slightly in the center, 50 to 60 minutes. Place pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Leave oven on.

4. For the topping, whisk together sour cream, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Pour over cheesecake and spread with a spatula to completely cover the surface. Return pan to oven to bake for 8 to 10 minutes more, until topping is slightly firm but hasn't taken on any color.

5. Return pan to wire rack and let cheesecake cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, until cheesecake is set, before removing from pan and serving.

6. This beauty must chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours before serving but boy is it worth it!


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