Desserts

Earl Grey Basque Cheesecake

A creamy, tea-infused cheesecake that’s too cool for a crust. # 184: Earl Grey Basque Cheesecake

There was a drink you could order at one of the cafes on my college campus called a Duke of Earl. You’d get a mug-full of foamy steamed milk with the subtle earl grey tea aftertaste (basically an earl grey latte), and it was the definition of soothing. This is the cheesecake version! Next time, I’ll use an extra tea bag or two to boost the earl grey flavor, but this was a valiant first attempt.

I found the recipe on Gastronomy Gal’s blog and realized I had all the ingredients for it on hand! Sadly only 1/4 of the cream cheese though, so I quartered the recipe to two mini cheesecakes. (In hindsight, I should’ve put both servings into one tin to get a loftier cake, but as the first time making this kind of cheesecake I decided to play it safe.)

Plus, mini desserts have been my jam during quarantine! Letting me try out new things without using up too many precious ingredients.

One of my friends has a running joke with me that whenever I bake things, it’ll show up on one of the blogs or foodie accounts we follow on Instagram. This bake took it to a whole new level. For context, my mom saves up food articles from her daily copy of the SF chronicle for me and I pick them up when I swing by her house each week. This week, I put my cheesecakes to chill in the fridge and sat down to peruse the articles she’d saved for me and the second one was a full page picture of a basque cheesecake! I was so stunned I had to call her. Small world moments are one my absolute favorite things!

Enough of my rambling; what is a basque cheesecake?? It’s to cheesecake what frittata is to quiche – all the filling with none of the crust. Baked at high heat, it creates a caramelized crust of it’s own, protecting the creamy interior. It originates from the Basque region in Spain, and is deceptively simply with only six ingredients.

Here’s the recipe from La Viña in Spain:

  • 350 grams sugar
  • 2.25 lbs cream cheese, room temperature
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 30 grams all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 400F and line a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper (making it much taller than the pan to allow for growth.) Use a handmixer to combine the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth. Add the salt, then one egg at a time, mixing well after each addition. Whisk in the cream, then sift over the flour and fold it in til incorporated. Bake for 50 minutes, and pull it out of the oven when it’s still jiggly in the center. Let it cool to room temperature and serve!

(I think the texture is better in a full-size cake instead of my mini versions, but I had fun with this bake all the same.)

We have a shocking amount of tea in our cupboard, considering we’re not regular tea drinkers. So it’s always fun to incorporate some of our stash into a bake! Earl grey specifically made another cameo in some fun teabag-shaped shortbread cookies I made last year. Wouldn’t it make a yummy glaze for doughnuts too?

Steep the bags in hot cream to bring out as much flavor as possible, but then let it cool before adding it to the mix. Even temperature is really helpful in getting a smooth batter consistency.

Since it was such a small amount of ingredients, I whipped out my hand mixer!

The only snow you’ll see in August.

A quick dusting of flour to help it thicken! The recipe said that you could substitute cornstarch to make it gluten-free, so my assumption is that it’s for viscosity.

Going for that silky smooth texture.

The silliest little springform pan, ready for action.

And it’s twin!

I sadly didn’t get a picture of it all puffed up! It was about 3 times it’s height when it first came out of the oven, and then collapsed artfully over the next few hours of cooling. (Did I mention this is a start-way-earlier-than-you-think kind of recipe?)

Raided my strawberry stash in the freezer for a pop of color, though it really didn’t need a topping at all. Classy lil slice.

Happy munching!

Recipe from: Gastronomy Gal (wordpress blog!)

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