Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

photo by: Heather K. 
I sometimes cheat and use a store bought graham cracker crust when I don't have time or just feeling' lazy. This cake is always a home run in our house and guests are always going for seconds. This recipe is for two cheesecakes, if one is only need just split all the ingredients in half except for the graham cracker crust.

Graham Cracker Crust:
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup of ground pecans
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp. Cinnamon
6 tbsp melted butter, (if using margarine, use stick NOT tub style)

Cheesecake Filling:
1 ½ lbs. Cream cheese (softened)
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 tbsp. Flour
1 tbsp. Vanilla extract
2 vanilla beans
2 tbsp. Heavy cream
4 eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

For crust:

In a bowl, mix together the crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and ground pecans. Add butter and mix well. Press firmly and evenly into the bottom and ½ inch up the sides of a 9 inch pie pan or a spring-form pan. Bake about 8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

Cheesecake filling:

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until creamy and smooth. Add sugar a little time, until gone then add flour and vanilla extract. Add eggs and cream, beating on low until it is all completely combined. Split open vanilla beans and scrape out the seeds and guts inside the bean, then add to batter. Save the split beans for garnish. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle rack until set, about 55 – 70 minutes depends on your oven and elevation. The center will be slightly soft.

Remove from oven, if using a spring-form pan, loosen outer ring, and for both let cool in the pan.
Refrigerate the cake for 6 hours, then remove outer ring. Top with the vanilla beans and a peppermint leaf.

Refrigerate leftovers.