Burnt Basque cheesecake recipe

Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy introduces us to a traditional burnt Basque cheesecake recipe that is sure to make your mouth water

Recently, my wife’s friend Sari brought home for her birthday the best Basque baked cheesecake I have ever tried. It was so good, it inspired me. I thought I needed to make one as good or better, and discovered on social media that there is some real competition for making the best cheesecake in Spain. All the top chefs and home cooks are baking them at the moment, and posting them online.  

This recipe is very simple but the result is stunning! Just keep an eye on how long it spends in the oven, and take it out when you think it’s undercooked, otherwise your instinct will tell you to leave in the oven a bit longer. I would like to add that if you change a quarter of the total weight of the Manchego cheese for blue cheese or a smoked cheese, it makes it very distinctive and special.

Burnt Basque cheesecake

Your cake may look a little burnt, but don't worry—it's meant to look like this!

Ingredients

For the base

  • 135g digestive biscuits

  • 70g butter 

Main ingredients

  • 600g Philadelphia cheese 

  • 200g caster sugar 

  • 400ml whipping cream 

  • 100g Parmesan cheese 

  • 5 eggs (300g) 

  • 1 tsp vanilla essence 

  • 1 tbsp plain flour 

Method

  1. For the base: melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat until slightly toasted and pour over the crumbled digestive biscuits. Mix with a spoon until combined.

  2. Place the 26cm springform mould over a baking tray lined with a wet and scrunched baking paper. Fill the base with the biscuit mix, applying some pressure with a spoon (especially in the corners), and making sure that it's flat throughout. Place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes while preparing the cheesecake mixture. 

  3. For the cheesecake: finely grate the Parmesan cheese and place all the ingredients in a jug blender. Blitz for about 2 minutes, or until smooth. You can mix it with a whisk as well, or use a hand blender.

  4. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the mould carefully, and bake in a preheated oven at 190 degrees for about 40 minutes. The centre of the cake should feel runny and undercooked. Carefully remove from the oven, and let it rest at room temperature for 3 hours. It's best enjoyed at room temperature without keeping it in the fridge, so that you can appreciate the creamy heart of the cake and flavours.

Wine pairing

Red wine being poured into glass against pink background

Barón De Ley Varietales Graciano 2018  (abv 14%) is available in Co-op at £12 

Barón De Ley Varietales Graciano is a single varietal wine. Graciano is a native and minority grape in Rioja which has character and structure, while maintaining an incredible freshness and finesse, clean aromas and dense and velvety palate. The complexity of the grape means it can pair with some pretty interesting and less obvious dishes, like this Basque burnt cheesecake. The dessert's intense texture blends into this full-bodied wine, while the vanilla flavour from the cheesecake’s burnt, caramelised top allows the wine's fruit to pop. 

You can find more recipes from Omar Allibhoy here.

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