Classic Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Fresh Figs, Pistachios, & Honey
My favorite cheesecake memory is from the early blog days. Rebe and I were both living at home and decided in the midst of summer to make the Hummingbird Bakery cheesecake. It looked amazing: a classic vanilla bean cheesecake, with berries folded carefully into the batter. And of course a graham cracker crust. Duh.
Only we weren’t very good at baking at the time, so when we took the cheesecake out of the pan it broke and went everywhere. The graham spattered like sand, and the cheesecake turned to crumbled, ugly pieces. But it didn’t bother us one bit. So we ended up devouring it with our hands. See this post for proof.
These days my cheesecakes look a little better. OK I’m not going to brag but I’m going to brag: a lot better.
Instead of doing some crazy pumpkin cheesecake (which can totally happen at some point), I decided to do my own take on a classic: Vanilla Bean Cheesecake. I used my favorite vanilla bean pods from Rodelle, which perfectly flavored the cheesecake with a floral, rich vanilla taste.
Rodelle is one of the first companies I ever partnered with on the blog, and I can only say good things. Not only about working with them, but also about their products. As I say every chance I get, their cocoa powder is by far the best I’ve ever used (like by FAR), and their entire product line is fantastic.
As a 20-something, it can be hard to spend an extra $5 on every artisan-quality ingredient you see at the grocery store. But Rodelle is one of the small handful of brands I will constantly buy from because of both their unparalleled quality and commitment to sustainable growing and farming practices. So yeah, I kind of like them a lot.
Now back to this vanilla bean cheesecake. It’s simply delicious, and provides the perfect base for a variety of edible decorations on top.
Since fresh figs are in season, I went for those, and paired them with pistachios and honey. But the possibilities are endless: berries, whipped cream, a chocolate drizzle… you name it.
Tips on how to make cheesecake
To avoid making a cheesecake like the one Rebe and I first made, there are a few key things you must do. Most importantly, all of your ingredients need to be room temperature before you mix them in (even the eggs and cream cheese!). Cheesecakes can be super fiddly, so help yourself out by setting your ingredients on the counter about 20-30 minutes before you start making this baby.
As you mix the ingredients together, be sure to continually scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. You want to make sure everything is incorporated and that there are no lumps in the batter. If you want to be extra cautious, I recommend straining the cheesecake mixture into the prepared springform pan to prevent any lumps from sneaking into your final product.
If this is your first time making a cheesecake, definitely check out my step-by-step guide to making cheesecakes. In this post, I explain more in depth my best tips and tricks for making perfect cheesecakes every single time.
3/4 cup walnut flour (can easily make from ~1 1/2 cups walnuts, pulverized)
12 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
for the cheesecake
24 oz cream cheese
4 oz sour cream
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped from pods
zest from 1/4 of a lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh figs, some sliced in half
1/4 cups pistachios, roughly chopped
2–3 tablespoons honey
Preheat oven to 350°F. Liberally grease a large springform pan and set aside.
In a food processor, combine the graham cracker crumbs, walnut flour, butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Pulse until the mixture resembles a fine sand. Press the crust firmly and evenly into prepared springform pan.
In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip cream cheese and sour cream until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in eggs and whip 1 minute more.
Add in sugar, vanilla bean seeds, lemon zest, and salt, mixing until combined.
Pour cheesecake mixture over prepared crust and place into preheated oven. Bake for 1 hour, then allow the cheesecake to cool completely in the fridge (about 4 hours).
Once cooled, remove from springform pan and place on serving plate. Arrange fresh fig slices over the cheesecake. Sprinkle with pistachios and a drizzle of honey!