Vanilla Cheesecake with Cherry Topping

Photo: Oxmoor House

We use the entire vanilla bean, so none of it is wasted: The seeds flavor the cheesecake, and the bean halves flavor the topping.

Up to two months ahead: Both the cheesecake and the topping can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored separately in the refrigerator. Or make the cheesecake up to 2 months ahead and freeze. Before freezing, chill the cooled cheesecake in the pan for 2 hours; then wrap pan in a heavy-duty plastic wrap. Thaw the cheesecake in the refrigerator.

Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 slice cheesecake and about 2 tablespoons topping)
Recipe from Cooking Light

More From Cooking Light

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 324
  • Calories from fat: 30%
  • Fat: 10.7g
  • Saturated fat: 6.1g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 3.2g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.7g
  • Protein: 12.2g
  • Carbohydrate: 42.8g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 83mg
  • Iron: 0.8mg
  • Sodium: 458mg
  • Calcium: 134mg

Ingredients

  • Crust:
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • Cooking spray
  • Filling:
  • 3 (8-ounce) blocks fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 2 (8-ounce) blocks 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8-ounce) carton fat-free sour cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • Topping:
  • 2/3 cup tawny port or other sweet red wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 (10-ounce) bags frozen pitted dark sweet cherries
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 teaspoons water

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. To prepare crust, combine first 3 ingredients, tossing with a fork. Add 2 teaspoons water; toss with a fork until moist and crumbly. Gently press mixture into bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes; cool on a wire rack.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
  4. To prepare filling, beat cheeses with a mixer at high speed until smooth. Combine 1 cup sugar, flour, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Add to cheese mixture; beat well. Add sour cream; beat well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; stir seeds into cheese mixture, reserving bean halves.
  5. Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan; bake at 325° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cheesecake center barely moves when pan is touched. Remove cheesecake from oven; run a knife around outside edge. Cool to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.
  6. To prepare topping, combine port, 1/2 cup sugar, cherries, and reserved vanilla bean halves in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until cherries are thawed and mixture is syrupy. Remove vanilla bean halves; discard.
  7. Combine juice, cornstarch, and 4 teaspoons water, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Stir cornstarch mixture into cherry mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 3 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened and shiny. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Cover and chill. Serve over cheesecake.
Also featured in: Cooking Light Lighten Up, America!, Oxmoor House, 2013
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