Vanilla Bean Brown Butter Cheesecake
Vanilla bean cheesecake made even more wonderful by adding nutty, toasty brown butter to both the crust and filling.
- Brown Butter
- 1 cup butter
- Brown Butter Crust
- 2 cups graham digestive or golden oreo cookie crumbs, 240g (if oreo, cream should be removed)
- 1 cup pecans ground, 115g
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon browned butter 120g
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Brown Butter Cheesecake Filling
- 2 packages cream cheese 452g (at room temperature, soft)
- ¼ cup brown butter 57g (try to get mostly the bottom brown bits, less of the yellow liquid)
- ½ cup labne or sour cream
- 1 cup brown sugar 210g
- 1 vanilla bean scraped
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Two large eggs
- Whipped Cream Topping
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract can use a vanilla bean scrapings too
- Brown the butter: Have a heatproof bowl ready and a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Set the butter in a saucepan and turn the heat on to medium. Once the butter is melted turn the heat to medium high and cook as it sputters and spits, then foams, then goes nearly quiet. You’ll see brown bits on the bottom and it will smell nutty. Immediately pour it into the bowl, scraping the pan to get all the little brown bits. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Make the crust: preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and line a tall 8 or 9” cake pan with parchment paper. It’s okay if the paper crinkles on the sides, use metal clips to hold it in place as pictured.
- In a bowl, stir together the ground pecans, cookie crumbs, powdered sugar and ½ cup plus 1 TB of the yellow liquid of the browned butter (reserve most of the browned bits for the filling). Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Try to get an even layer of crumbs on the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 F.
- Make the filling: Beat together the softened cream cheese, sugar, salt, 3-4 TB of the bits of browned butter you reserved, and vanilla bean scrapings until smooth and no lumps remain (you may have to scrape down the bowl a few times). Add the sour cream and beat until smooth, scraping down as needed. Add the eggs and beat to just combine. If there's still lumps, pour the filling into the cooled crust through a fine mesh sieve to remove any bits.
- Bake the cheesecake: Fill a 13×9” cake pan halfway with warm water and set the cheesecake in the center. Place the cheesecake in its water bath in the oven and bake for at least an hour but probably closer to 1 hour 15 minutes. It’s done when it’s no longer jiggly in the center and the top looks a bit matte. Shut off the oven but leave the cheesecake inside, prop open the oven with a wooden spoon and let it cool for at least 30 minutes. When you take it out, it should be cool enough to do so without oven mitts. Leave it on the counter for another half hour then refrigerate. Cheesecake should chill for 8 hours minimum.
- For the whipped cream: in a food processor, process the heavy cream, vanilla, salt and sugar for a minute or two, until the cream is thick enough to scoop but not overwhipped. Top on the cheesecake and serve.
- Store the cheesecake in the fridge. It’ll keep for about a week.
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