One of the year’s biggest baking trends is turning out to be the Basque burnt cheesecake in all its charred, custardy glory. Said to originate from Spanish restaurant La Viña in San Sebastian some 30 years ago, this rustic take on cheesecake has been replicated by home bakers and chefs of MICHELIN star restaurants alike.
And while most baking comes down to science and exact measurements, the Basque burnt cheesecake is surprisingly easy and forgiving. Tweaking the amount of ingredients and baking time yields slightly different flavours and textures, but the results are almost never disappointing when the main goal is to burn it.
Developed by sous chef of restaurant Alma in Singapore, Ng Jun Kai, the MICHELIN star Spanish restaurant’s final recipe comes down to just four core ingredients: cheese, sugar, eggs and cream. A glaring omission? Flour. “We wanted the interior texture to be soft and velvety and after trying seven or eight times, I realised that we could get that result if we didn’t use any kind of flour at all because cream cheese already has some amount of gelatin,” he explains.
Alma’s rendition also calls for a mixture of creamy brie or camembert and a touch of mild blue cheese for a more complex flavour profile. Patience is key when it comes to baking and enjoying a Basque burnt cheesecake. Ng recommends letting it set overnight in the fridge and leaving it at room temperature for five to eight minutes to take the chill off before tucking in.
Alma’s Basque Burnt Cheesecake
210g cream cheese
85g Brie or Camembert
100g caster sugar
5 egg yolks
1 whole egg
410ml cooking cream
1. Pre-heat oven to 190°C.
2. Using a Thermomix or blender, blend the three kinds of cheeses and sugar at medium speed until the mixture is smooth.
3. Reduce the speed and add in the egg and yolks one by one until they are well incorporated into the mixture.
4. Add in the cream and blend it at high speed for 30 seconds. After that, strain mixture into a jug for easy pouring.
5. Prepare a 6-inch cake mould lined with baking parchment. Pour in the strained cheesecake mixture into the mould.
6. Rest for 2 hours in the chiller to make sure it is chilled evenly before baking.
7. Bake the cheesecake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
7. Once done, rest your cheesecake in the oven for 5 minutes, then bring it out and set aside until room temperature.
8. Keep in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight for it to totally set before eating.