Salted Caramel Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Gingerbread Crumb Crust
- 2 cups gingerbread (or graham cracker) cookie crumbs
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 3 tablespoons sugar (optional)
- 20 ounces(2 1/2 8oz packages) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 vanilla beans
- pinch of salt
- Salted Caramel:
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup half & half
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- course sea salt for topping
Melt butter in a medium glass bowl and mix in cookie crumbs and sugar. Press into the bottom and about halfway up the sides of a sprinform cake pan. Set aside while you make filling.
For the cheesecake layer, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) and beat cream cheese until very smooth with no lumps. Add sugar and sour cream and beat together with cream cheese. Beat in eggs one at a time until batter is silky smooth. Scrape the "caviar" from the insides of your vanilla beans into bowl and stir it into the batter with a pinch of salt. Pour into prepared crumb crust and bake for 40- 50 minutes until the center doesn't, or just barely, jiggles when nudged. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about one hour before placing in the fridge to chill.
For the caramel, Combine all ingredients except vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium low heat and stir gently for 6 - 8 minutes or until it begins to thicken up. When thick, stir in vanilla and continue cooking for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool off for about 5 minutes. Pour over cheesecake and sprinkle with sea salt. Chill in refrigerator for at least 6 hours before serving.