With dad's help we found a recipe, tweaked it a bit, and got to work. We had a great time, and the cheesecake was a huge success. It looked beautiful. We ate all of it! We decided it was a spectacular recipe, and I started making it by myself. It got to the point where I was selling custom cheesecakes to friends, and friends of friends for a couple years. It was really fun! It's also still my favorite cheesecake recipe. Because the filling is just vanilla it is perfectly versatile. Any topping is amazing on it, or you could add liqueurs to the filling, drop in berries, or mix chocolate into part of it for a marbled effect.
So here it is. My favorite cheesecake recipe!
12 vanilla sandwich cookies (vienna fingers, or twice as many vanilla oreos)
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temp
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temp
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
4 large eggs
For the crust: Position rack in center of oven and reheat to 350*. Wrap outside of 9 inch spring form pan with foil.
Blend cookies, butter and sugar in processor until crumbs stick together.
Press crumbs on bottom and halfway up sides of prepared pan. Bake crust 10 minutes and set aside. Maintain oven temp.
For filling: Blend cheese, sugar and salt in a food processor until very smooth, stopping often to scrape down sides of work bowl.
Add vanilla and cream and blend again. Add eggs, process 5 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl. Process just until blended, about 5 seconds more.
Transfer filling to crust. Bake cake until sides puff slightly and center is just set, about 50 minutes. A bit of cracking around the edges is normal, a very slight bit of color is ok. When you give it a small shake it should jiggle a little bit.
Place uncovered hot cheesecake directly into refrigerator and chill thoroughly. It will fall a little bit, which is normal. After about an hour a topping can be added. Chill at least 6 hours or overnight. To remove from pan, run a knife around edges and remove sides of pan. Want perfect slices? Wipe knife clean with a hot wet cloth after EVERY cut!
I had some lemon curd that I had made, so that went on top. The tangy lemon curd was amazing with the creamy vanilla cheesecake.
What else can go on top? Fruit toppings, ganache, caramel, candy bar bits, lime or orange curd, or just have it plain!
Cheesecake is NOT hard! You can make it! It's worth it! The hard part is not eating all of it immediately!