Basque cheesecake with chocolate chip sable crust

Now I have been dying to make Basque cheesecake for quite a while now. For those of you who do not know what these are, they’re basically a Spanish-styled cheesecake which is airy and light at the edges, with a almost blackened, if not burnt top, and a gooey, creamy, and oozy center. They’re basically if somebody tried to make a perfect cheesecake, but burnt the top, panicked, and took the cheesecake out too early. In a way, there is like an art to making something that technically imperfect, because one minute too early, and your cake might just not have enough caramelization, and one minute too late, and you will not have that oozy center. And on top of that, my recipe includes a chocolate chip sable crust. Sable is a French shortbread cookie, and in my cake, I’m using dark chocolate chips and brown sugar in it to invoke the flavors of an American chocolate chip cookie. Between the cookie and that oozy crust, you have cookies and cream, in a new, portable format.

Truthfully, Basque cheesecake sounds a lot more intimidating than it actually is. You just have to remind yourself that the imperfections(namely the burnt top) is welcomed and that is what you’re aiming for. As a bit of a pastry perfectionist, I had to tell myself that during the entire process, just because there was a point where tops were darkening, parchment was burning, and I was worried that they would be overcooked, but they never really got to that point. You just have to let the cheesecake work its magic in that oven. That, and well, don’t set fire to your kitchen.

Makes 4 cheesecakes:
For the crusts:
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 dark chocolate chips
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt until creamed. Fold in your chocolate, then your flour. Refrigerate the dough for at least 15 minutes. Between two floured surfaces, roll out the dough to about 1/8th inch thickness and cut out at least 4 4-inch rounds. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Cool completely.

For the Basque cheesecake:
4 oz cream cheese
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt down the sugar, heavy cream, and cream cheese on a double boiler. Fold in your egg yolk, then vanilla, and salt. Once incorporated, fold in your whole egg last. Line four 4-inch ring molds with parchment, and place your sable into the bottom. Divide your batter into the four ring molds. Bake at 425 degrees F for 17 minutes using the top rack first, then lower the temperature to 300 degrees F and continue cooking for another 8 minutes on a lower rack. Allow the cheesecakes to cool to room temperature and refrigerate until firm and set before removing from the ring mold.

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