12 vanilla sandwich cookies (such as Vienna Fingers; 6 1/2 ounces), broken into pieces
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 pounds (three 8 oz. packages) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
4 large eggs
1 (12-oz.) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup frozen cranberry juice cocktail, thawed
1/4 cup water
Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Wrap outside of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with foil. Blend cookies, butter and sugar in processor until crumbs stick together. Press crumbs on bottom and halfway up sides of prepared pan. Bake crust 10 minutes. Set aside. Maintain oven temperature.
Using tip of small sharp knife, scrape seeds from vanilla beans into small saucepan; add beans. Add cream. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Set aside uncovered, and cool to room temperature. Discard beans.
Blend cheese, sugar and salt in processor until very smooth, stopping often to scrape down sides of work bowl. Add vanilla cream and blend. Add eggs; process 5 seconds. Scrape down sides of work bowl; process just until blended, about 5 seconds. Transfer filling to crust.
Bake cake until sides puff slightly and center is just set, about 50 minutes. Place uncovered hot cheesecake directly into refrigerator and chill thoroughly, at least 6 hours or overnight.
Stir all ingredients in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil 3 minutes. Press mixture through sieve set over large bowl, pressing firmly on solids. Spoon warm topping over cold cake; spread evenly. Chill until topping is set, at least 2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.)
Makes 10-12 servings.
Date: August 11, 2002