Basque cheesecake


Basque cheesecake

Basque cheesecake

Basque cheesecake

Fool-proof baked cheesecake without cookie crumb or water bath? Sign me up!

When I first read about this recipe, I couldn’t believe how simple and straight forward it is. Could it truly produce glorious results like so many others? Can it be close to the original, by Chef Santiago Rivera of La Viña in San Sebastian, Spain?

My version is done in two small 6 inch wide, 3 inch tall* cake pans instead of a single springform pan. All because I prefer small cakes. One to eat and one to shoot, or to give away. Feel free to bake this in a 10 inch pan if that’s what you’ve got. Because I had lined the pans with two pieces of baking paper, it was sturdy enough for me to lift the cakes out. October 2021: I also tested baking this in a cast iron pan and it turned out nicely, if not better!

One tip – serve this with vanilla ice cream for the ultimate sweet/savoury hit. It’s now the one dessert I can’t resist having. Creamy cheese flavours, fragrant vanilla and oh so simple to throw together. I also found that when honey is added, it gave the cheesecake an interesting flavour dimension, so give that a go if you don’t want to use vanilla.

Shortly after photographing this, J ate a wedge (the cut wedge ) with vanilla ice cream on the side.

I don’t usually eat a whole portion of desserts I make, so took a bite out of her plate, and it blew my mind!

The caramel taste, creamy texture, salty and sweet combo had me wanting more.

This reminds me of the Portuguese custard tarts I had as a child when visiting Macau.
Lately my food cravings all have a link to a childhood memory – all the things happening the world over has an effect on everyone, regardless of who we are. Subconsciously I searched for comfort and calmness, and my heart took me back to a more peaceful time in my life. I also miss my parents who live in a different country, so perhaps all of that was tugging at my heart.

If you make this, tag me in your photos so I can share the happiness. Me encanta la tarta de queso vasco!

*Note: as my baking pans are deeper than normal (3 inch tall), it meant that I needed more baking time for it to be cooked through. If you are using a wider sized pan but not increasing the batter volume, adjust your baking time to 35-40 mins.

Ingredients

  • 500g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 180g eggs (3 eggs, size 7)
  • 250ml double cream, I use Lewis Road Creamery
  • 15g honey (I used raw Waimete) or
  • 5g (1/2 tsp) vanilla paste (I use Heilala)
  • 2g (1/4 tsp) salt
  • 24g plain flour

Instructions

1. Oil two 6 inch cake pans. Push a large piece of baking paper into each pan, allowing the paper to naturally crease and fold, overlapping around the pan. Push a second piece of baking paper in, again allowing it to mould and pleat. Make sure there is at least 2 cm of paper rising up from the rim of the pan, as the batter will double in height during baking.

2. Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan bake mode.

3. In a mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until completely smooth and the sugar has dissolved. Add eggs, one at a time, careful to scrape down the bowl after each addition.

4. Add the cream, honey or vanilla and salt and beat on low to combine *I pulse the machine slowly first to avoid covering my front with the batter, and that’s speaking from experience*. Sift in flour and beat again for about 30 seconds until just combined.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake on the lower third shelf of the oven for 40-45 minutes until the top is nicely brown and the centre has puffed up – there should still be a wobble when you gently jiggle the pans. Remove from the oven and leave on kitchen bench to cool completely in the pans, about 40 mins. Don’t worry when you see it drop in height after a while – it’s meant to.

6. Carefully lift the cakes out of the pans by the paper. Gently lift (with your hands or a large cake spatula) the cakes off the baking paper and place on a cake plate. Slice into wedges to serve.

7. Best served with vanilla ice cream and fresh berries.

Basque cheesecake

Basque cheesecake

Basque cheesecake

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