My first taste of burnt Basque cheesecake was many years ago while on vacation in Spain. I visited the world famous La Viña restaurant in San Sebastian, and since then I have been on a quest to make my own version as close to their original as possible. I believe after many attempts I've nailed it, and now I’m sharing my simple recipe with you. The secret: timing the bake is key.
Step One: Let all your ingredients get to room temperature. This makes mixing easier. The traditional way, and the way I do it, is to mix by hand. I use a strong metal serving spoon. You can use a hand mixer, but don’t over mix. Mix just enough to combine all ingredients. You don’t want it soupy. When cooked properly the cheesecake is a lovely, deep brown color. This not only looks great but brings out some remarkable nutty flavors.
Step Two: Get a 9” springform pan and spray with cooking spray or rub with butter. Then line the greased pan with parchment paper. Use one large sheet and get it in there. Yes, the paper fits oddly and will have wrinkled sides, but that is the charm of the cake. If the paper is over 2” of excess, trim it down. You do want some overhang as the cake will puff during baking. Next pour in the batter and give it a slight bump up and down on the counter to get the air bubbles out.
Preheat your oven at 400 F. Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until puffed and well browned. For a little more color, you can turn the oven up to 425 or 450 F. for the last 10 minutes.
The baking time varies based on your preference. For a runny center, bake 35 minutes. For creamy, try 40. For fully baked through, cook for 50 - 55 minutes. Just keep an eye on it. You want it burned, hence the name, but not scorched.
If the top isn’t brown enough when the bake time is up, turn on the broiler and cook it for a few minutes. But keep an eye on it, as it can get away from you.
When it's done cooking let the cake cool fully before taking it out of the springform pan. When cooled the cake will settle and collapse a bit. I suggest making this a day or two before you want to eat it. The more time in the fridge, the better it sets. I make mine four days ahead and it's nice and tight when you slice it. You can eat it by itself or add berries, chocolate sauce, whatever you desire. Enjoy!
Ingredients: 9-inch cake pan (8-10 Portions)
24 ounces soft Philly Cream Cheese
1 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (it is all I ever bake with)
3 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
4 Extra Large Eggs (or 5 Large Eggs)
1 1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream