Burnt Basque Cheesecake

Score another win for Nigella Lawson!

This cheesecake is so very good, and so very easy to – literally – toss in the mixer, and then a springform pan and and bake; I can totally see why she has said in interviews that she makes it at least once a week.

One note about that “burnt” bit…

Think “burnt” as in the top of crème brûlée, not as in the nasty stuff on the bottom of the pan when you’ve forgotten the tomato sauce.

If you go to da google for Burnt Basque Cheesecake, you will find a fair number of recipes showing kinda blackened tops; but I am really loving this golden brown bit of crisp over the creamy cheesecake.

•3 (8-oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
•1 cup sugar
•1 tbsp vanilla
•1 tsp coarse sea salt
•3 eggs
•1-1/2 cup heavy cream
(half & half will work, too)
•1/3 cup flour
•Butter, softened

Preheat your oven to 400°.

Brush a nine inch springform pan evenly with the softened butter, then line the pan with first one strip of parchment paper – you will want it to overhang the sides of the pan.

Next, add another strip of parchment crosswise over the first – also leaving a couple of inches of overhang.

Use a pot lid to weight down the parchment strips, not worrying about any folds and pleats in the paper. As Nigella says, those are all a part of “the look.”

Beat the softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle until nicely smooth.

Hold one tablespoon of the sugar back for later, then beat the rest into the cream cheese, along with the vanilla and salt.

Beat the eggs in one at a time, then the cream, and, lastly, the flour; beating until everything is smooth and well blended. You may need to scrape the bowl a time or two.

Remove the pot lid from the springform pan and pour in the batter.

Scatter that held back tablespoon of sugar more or less evenly over the top.

Place the springform pan on a larger rimmed baking pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is nicely golden brown. You might want to rotate the pan after 20 minutes, but no worries if you don’t.

Note: the cheesecake may feel a bit jiggly in the center, that is not a big deal.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for at least one hour.

When ready to serve, unlatch the springform pan and, using those overhanging parchment bits as handles, lift transfer the cheesecake off of the pan base and (apparently, this is traditional) to a board for serving.

This is lovely by itself at room temperature, but my husband prefers his cold, so I stashed ours in the fridge on a covered plate, and served it with whipped cream and cherries on the side.

I think the Golden Girls would be pleased.

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