This cheesecake flouts the rules in the most delicious way
Born 30 years ago in La Viña, a bar in San Sebastián, Spain, this cheesecake flouts all the rules. It isn’t pretty. It’s burnt and cracked when it emerges from a 400 F oven. It’s toasted on all sides, yet it still oozes at its center. The list of ingredients is shockingly short — cream cheese, sugar, eggs, cream and, depending on who you ask, flour.
This cheesecake is served at room temperature with a nice Spanish sherry. Basque Burnt Cheesecake is an enigma. Ugly, yet alluring. Burnt, but undercooked. Still, it’s easy to make, so turn up your ovens, grab your forks and forget everything you knew about cheesecake.
Basque Burnt Cheesecake
Unsalted butter for pan
2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1½ cups sugar
6 large eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
Sherry (for serving; optional)
Place rack in the middle of oven, preheat to 400 F. Butter 10-inch springform pan, then line with two overlapping 16-by-12 sheets of parchment, making sure parchment comes at least 2 inches above top of pan on all sides. Because the parchment needs to be pleated and creased in some areas to fit in pan, you won’t end up with a clean, smooth outer edge to the cake. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
Beat cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-low speed, scraping down sides of bowl, until very smooth, no lumps remain and sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes.
Increase speed to medium and add eggs one at a time, beating each egg 15 seconds before adding the next. Scrape down sides of bowl, then reduce mixer speed to medium-low. Add cream, salt and vanilla and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.
Turn off mixer and sift flour evenly over cream cheese mixture. Beat on low speed until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue to beat until batter is very smooth, homogeneous and silky, about 10 seconds.
Pour batter into prepared ban. Bake cheesecake until deeply golden brown on top and still very jiggly in the center, 60-65 minutes.
Let cool slightly — it will fall drastically as it cools — then unfold. Let cool completely. Carefully peel away the parchment from the sides of the cheesecake. Slice into wedges and serve at room temperature.
Phil Newton is a Galveston baker/cook. He’s the owner/operator of Stiglich Corner with partner Cindy Roberts.