Not that I turn my nose up at chocolate cheesecake, cheesecake with strawberry sauce, or cheesecake stuffed with peanut butter cups, but my absolute favorite kind in the world is the plain variety.
The way God first made them at the beginning of time. In His oven in heaven.
So Monday was my birthday. It was also National Cheesecake Day (how coincidental was that, huh?), so I knew I wanted to make my world famous Four-Cheese Cheesecake.
And I'm using the phrase "world famous" loosely here.
Alright, it's only famous in my own mind. But still.
And just a few days before my birthday, I received a beautiful gift box from Rodelle. I'm am talking gorgeousness here.
gourmet Dutch cocoa, and these...
...two Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans in a perfect little glass tube. I practically fainted on the spot.
And in my heart and soul and mind, I knew my Four-Cheese Cheesecake would have to become Four-Cheese Vanilla Bean Cheesecake.
And it did.
And I was happy.
Creamy. Rich. Vanilla-y. Sweet, but not overly.
Happy birthday to me.
Here are my notes:
-Yes, the ingredients are pricey, but every once in a while, it's nice to splurge. Like on your birthday.
-This is the first time I have ever made a cheesecake with no cracking on the top. Go me!
-Make sure to chill this for the recommended time for prettier slicing.
-If you don't have vanilla beans, just use an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract.
-Lining the springform pan with foil will keep water from seeping in during the water bath.
-Don't freak out about the goat cheese. (Yeah, I'm looking at you, sis.) All the cheeses blend perfectly for rich and creamy goodness.
Four-Cheese Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature
1 (6-ounce) log goat cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1-1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean cut open lengthwise and seeds scraped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, light brown sugar, and the melted butter. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with at least 2 1/2-inch sides in heavy foil. Place the crumbs in the pan and press on the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then set aside on a wire rack to cool.
- Reduce heat to 325 degrees. Beat all four cheeses on medium speed with a paddle attachment until soft and creamy. With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar until incorporated, about 3-4 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the eggs, one by one until all the yellow has disappeared. Beat in the vanilla bean seeds. Pour the batter into the crust.
- Place the springform pan in a larger roasting pan where it can sit flat and has some space around it. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan to a depth of about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. (Be careful not to pour water higher than the foil.) Place in oven and bake for 1 hour and 20-30 minutes or until set in the middle and light golden brown. Turn off oven and crack the door open with a wooden spoon and let the cheesecake sit in oven for 30 minutes. Carefully remove from oven and remove the foil from the cheesecake pan and let cool on wire rack to room temperature. Run a knife around edges to loosen the sides. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight before cutting.