Dual-Layer Earl Grey Basque Burnt Cheesecake

“Don’t burnt it!” is the general rule to follow when baking or cooking. However, there’s always an exception to rules. The Basque burnt cheesecake, with its blackened top, is probably the only dessert that proudly breaks this rule and yet mind-blowingly delicious. Its rustic and simple look forms a tremendous contrast to those intricately designed desserts on Instagram. This reminds me of a saying — never judge a book by its cover. Therefore, similarly, never judge the deliciousness of food solely by its appearance.

The original Basque burnt cheesecake is believed to be created in 1990 by Chef Santiago Rivera of La Viña in San Sebastian, the Basque region’s capital city. Fundamentally, this custardy cheesecake requires only four ingredients: cream cheese, sugar, eggs and cream. However, do not be fooled by its seemingly simple recipe, because it’s very challenging to get the perfect custardy centre.

The Bloomberg described Basque cheesecake as “an enigma: ugly, yet alluring; burnt, yet undercooked; and easy to make, yet almost impossible to perfect.” Don’t you agree?

Here is a step-by-step video on how to prepare mini Basque burnt cheesecake:

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Ingredients: (yield: 6 muffin size cheesecake)

  • Cream cheese 250g
  • Sugar 70g
  • Large eggs 2 no.
  • Whipping cream (I) 72g
  • Cake flour 5g
  • Whipping cream (II) 72g
  • Earl grey powder 6g

Method:

  1. Preheat oven at 220 degrees Celcius. Prepare a 6-cup muffin pan, and line each cup with parchment paper.

2. Ensure that cream cheese, eggs and whipping cream are return to room temperature.

3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar, and mix well.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well after each addition.

5. Divide the batter into two equal portions. In one of the portions, add whipping cream (I) and followed by sifted cake flour. Mix well.

6. In another portion of the batter, add whipping cream (II) and followed by sifted earl grey powder. Mix well.

7. Divide and pour earl grey cheesecake batter evenly into muffin pan. Then, followed by original flavour cheesecake batter.

8. Bake in preheated oven with top and bottom heat at 220 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes, then turn off the bottom heat. With only top heat, bake for another 3 – 5 minutes, or until the top of cheesecake is nicely charred.

9. Let cheesecake cool down completely and chilled for about 2 hours before serving.

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