Posted 4 months ago

Called “the hottest dessert of the year” by Bloomberg in 2019, you don’t have to worry about burning this famous San Sebastian region cheesecake.

Although the name makes it sound like it has a long history, Basque Cheesecake was actually only developed in 1990 by Chef Santiago Rivera of La Viña. As the story goes, Chef Rivera was looking to add a dessert menu to his Pintxos restaurant after taking it over from his parents and settled on a cheesecake. What he developed was a “burnt” crustless cheesecake cooked at very high heat, that manages to be simultaneously burnt and undercooked, sweet but bitter, and fancy yet rustic.

Like Chef Rivera’s 5-ingredient original, Chef Ramon Simarro’s version omits the precisely portioned ingredients we are accustomed to using when making a cake, like salt, vanilla and baking powder. What sets Chef Ramon’s apart is Idiazabal is a cheese from the Basque Country — it’s lightly smoked and adds a real depth of flavour.

CHEF RAMON SIMARRO'S BASQUE CHEESECAKE

INGREDIENTS

450 g (just less than 2 cups) cream cheese

200 ml (approx. ¾ cup) 35% cream

¾ sugar3 whole free-run eggs

80 g (just less than 1 cup grated) Idiazábal cheese, grated (if you can’t find Idiazábal cheese, manchego cheese will work well as a substitute)

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


METHOD

Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F.

In a deep bowl, whisk cream cheese, eggs and sugar until smooth. Add cream and whisk until combined. While continuing to whisk, add flour and grated cheese. Once smooth, pour batter into a parchment-lined round cake pan.

Bake until cheesecake until deeply golden brown on top and still very jiggly in the center, about 40 minutes.

Once done baking, from the oven and let rest at room temperature for an hour and then transfer to the fridge to cool for at least 4 more hours.

Once completely cooled, carefully unmold the cake and peel away the parchment from sides of cheesecake. Portion into wedges and serve at room temperature, optionally with a glass of sherry alongside!


(PHOTO CREDIT: Wonho Frank Lee for the Los Angeles Times)

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