Perfect French Vanilla Cheesecake Recipe
Melt-in-your-mouth, luscious, heavenly cheesecake
Baked cheesecakes can be daunting, and a bit of practice is often needed to get them spot-on. French Vanilla is a great basic flavour, lovely on its own or completely stunning when paired with fresh fruit, salted caramel or berry compote.
To get that true French Vanilla flavour, we add extra egg yolks and cream, plus more vanilla extract to a basic cheesecake recipe. The extra egg and cream serves to deepen and enrich the vanilla flavouring. Cheesecake is essentially a custard at heart so needs to be baked slowly and usually benefits from a waterbath to prevent the egg from getting too hot and scrambling.
Once you have got yourself a good base recipe and technique you can add just about any flavour or combo of flavours. It can seem like a lot of effort at first, but with a bit of practise you can get a cheesecake in the oven in under 15 min and it's the perfect make-ahead dessert to store in the fridge up to three days before you need it. Cheesecakes are also one of the few desserts that are great for freezing, but ensure you wrap them well or they can dry out!
My recipe best suits a 23cm large greased springform pan with the base lined with baking paper (GLAD is my preferred brand, as it does not get stuck and comes off in one nice tidy piece) and requires a bain marie:
Find a roasting dish big enough to fit your springform pan and after putting the biscuit base into the pan, wrap the outside of the pan to guard against leaks. You can buy 1mtr wide tin foil, or I've had better success with putting it into a roasting bag with the top still open and folded down to the top of the tin. Put the dish on the lowest rack in the oven, or in the bottom 1/3 depending on how big your oven is and this helps prevent the cheesecake from getting a tan.
Bring all ingredients to room temperature first.
Preheat oven to 160*C
- Crush up wine biscuits with food processor or rolling pin. Mix in melted butter & vanilla. Press into base of pan and chill whilst making rest of cheesecake.
- Beat cream cheese on slow speed with ordinary paddle til smooth
- Beat in caster sugar
- Beat in eggs and egg yolks, 1 at a time until smooth
- Add vanilla, sifted flour and cream and beat until well combined.
Put batter through sieve if required (cream cheese or flour may form lumps)
Pour onto base and place tin into roasting dish. Put in oven, then add boiling water from kettle until water comes up to about halfway around sides of tin.
Bake 45min to 1 hour. (cake will still be quite wobbly but will firm up on cooling. If the cake wobble seems excessive, then test with a thermometer in the center of cake, 70-72*Celsius is about right for a cooked cake )
Turn off oven. Remove cheesecake from water bath, remove outer wrapping and put tin back in oven and leave til cool or overnight. Running a butter knife around the outside of the cheesecake will also help loosen the edges and prevent cracking.
Place in fridge for 4-6 hours or overnight til set.
To remove cheesecake from pan: sides should have shrunk from pan a little in the cooling process, but run a hot dry butter knife around the sides of pan if necessary. Remove the springform ring carefully. Place a sheet of baking paper over the cheesecake and put a flat plate on top (careful not to squash). Flip cheesecake upside down and carefully remove the base of the tin and the baking paper lining. Then flip the cheesecake back onto the serving plate or platter (you may like to glue it down with a little sticky golden syrup or buttercream or something as the biscuit base can sometimes slide around) and peel the baking paper carefully off the top. You can smooth the sides of the cheesecake with a hot dry knife or pallet knife if desired.
Cut with a hot dry knife, and serve with greek yoghurt, berry compote, whipped cream, plum sauce or whatever else takes your fancy (a tart, slightly sweet sauce such as raspberry is very complimentary to a sweet, creamy cheesecake). Smaller slices are usually preferred as cheesecake is very rich!
Easy raspberry coulis: put 300g frozen raspberries, 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon cornflour into a saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to the boil and boil until thick. Push through a fine sieve and allow to cool.
Cook Time - CHILL OVERNIGHT
- 250g vanilla wine biscuits, crushed
- 150g butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 750 grams cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup flour, sifted
- 3/4 cup cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla