1 cup graham cracker crumbs (from about 8 whole crackers)
1 tablespoon sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and kept warm
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (I use Knox brand)
2/3 cup sugar
1 lb cream cheese, cut in to 1-inch chunks and softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
pinch of salt
For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Stir graham cracker crumbs and sugar together in medium bowl, then add butter and stir well with fork until mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer crumbs to 9-inch springform pan and use bottom of measuring cup to firmly press crumbs into even layer over bottom of pan. Bake crust until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 13 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack, at least 30 minutes.
For the filling: Pour 1/4 cup heavy cream into microwave-safe measuring cup. Add gelatin and whisk to combine. Let stand until gelatin is softened, about 5 minutes, then microwave on high power for about 30 seconds, or until cream is bubbling and gelatin is completely dissolved. Set aside.
Using electric mixer, beat remaining 1 1/4 cups heavy cream and sugar in large bowl at medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute (a few coffee bean-sized lumps may remain). Scrape bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula.
Add vanilla and salt and continue to beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl again. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is smooth, about 3 minutes. Add dissolved gelatin mixture continue to beat at medium-high until smooth and airy, about 2 minutes.
Pour filling into cooled crust and, using offset or icing spatula dipped in hot water, spread filling out evenly. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, but for best results refrigerate overnight. To serve, wrap hot, damp kitchen towel around springform pan. Unlock pan and carefully lift off sides. Slip thin metal spatula under crust and carefully slide cheesecake onto serving platter.