Basque cheesecake was created in 1990 in San Sebastian, Spain. Unlike classic New York cheesecake, Basque cheesecake is crustless and isn't smooth or dense; instead, it is finished baking in half the time compared to regular cheesecake but at a higher temperature to achieve that rich, lightly scorched surface, yet the center of the cheesecake is still jiggly.
Here is my interpretation of the Basque cheesecake – the heavy cream is subbed for pastry cream.. The result has exceeded my expectations!.
Basque cheesecake can be flavored with lemon zest, orange zest, vanilla, almond extra etc...
This recipe calls for a 9-inch/23 cm ø springform cheesecake mold. Use 2 baking trays if using a 8-inch/20 cm ø charlotte cake ring. Grease and line mold with parchment paper.
In the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the room temp cream cheese along with the sugar, vanilla and lemon zest on medium speed. Let it run for as long as it needs. When the cream cheese mixture is perfectly smooth, add egg whites and continue to mix until ready to use.
In a medium size saucepan, heat up milk with vanilla, sugar and salt. Meanwhile, beat egg yolks with the egg and remaining sugar together. Add starches and set aside. When milk is boiling, temper the egg mixture and bring to a boil; cook for 2 minutes whisking constantly on medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the chilled cream cheese (200g) and blend well using an immersion blender. Swap the cream cheese mixture with the pastry cream and let the mixer run until the custard is at room temperature ≈77ºF/25ºC. Then incorporate cream cheese mixture with the pastry cream.
If using a springform mold, do not use any baking tray underneath. However, if using a charlotte cake ring, plate it over 2 baking trays.
*Preheat oven to 550ºF/290ºC. Lower oven temp to 500ºF/260ºC if using a fan oven.
*Note that oven temp may vary so keep an eye on your cake especially the 5 first minutes of baking. For ultimate results, preheat oven with a pizza stone. Bake basque cheesecake for about 25 to 30 minutes depending on the oven. Once your cheesecake achieves a dark surface on top, immediately take it out of the oven. Give the cake a jiggle to test: it should still be wobbly in the middle. Let it cool for 3 hours. Then remove the charlotte cake ring or the sides of the springform pan and refrigerate a few hours prior to cut into portions. The cake can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Serve basque cheesecake at room temperature. Enjoy!