This cheesecake is based on the super famous cheesecake from La Vina in San Sebastian, in the Basque region of Spain. It has few ingredients, is really unassuming, and seems to break all the cheesecake rules; no crust, no water bath, just crank up the oven and burn the heck out of it. My version is flavoured with blood orange and vanilla, a combination I love, think orange creamsicle without the brain freeze! It will appear burnt yet panic inducingly underbaked when you take it out of the oven, it will set as it cools, the exterior stiff enough to hold its shape, leaving the centre soft and creamy, just barely set. The burnt crust gives the beautiful famed caramel flavour, a perfect contrast to the delicate centre. This is not a cheesecake for neat freaks, it should not hold firm slices, that middle section will ooze in the most delightful way, so use the fennel perfumed oven, candied orange, slices as edible scoops, maybe abandon the cutlery all together…
Blood Orange Basque Style Cheesecake
- 500g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 200g caster sugar
- finely grated zest of 1 blood orange
- ½ tsp vanilla paste
- pinch salt
- 3 jumbo eggs, cracked weight 180g, at room temp
- 100ml thickened cream
- 10g cornflour
- preheat your oven to 250ºC fan, this seems alarmingly high, but that’s what we’re looking for
- grease a 7inch deep cake tin and line with a sheet of baking paper, the paper will naturally form creases as you press it to the sides of the tin, you want the paper to extend about 5 cm past the top to the tin, you may need to use a second piece of paper at right angles to the first to completely line the tin, if you do, grease the first sheet to help the second sheet hold in place
- in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy, regularly scraping the bowl and paddle with a spatula to capture any lumps, take your time here, the mixture should be smooth and lump free
- add the blood orange zest, vanilla, and salt, mix until combined
- add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl and paddle after each addition, ensure each egg is well incorporated before adding the next
- add the cream, mix to combine
- remove the bowl from the stand mixer, sift the cornflour over the batter, fold through using a large metal spoon
- pour the mixture into the tin, bake in the centre of the oven for approximately 25 minutes, the top should be very dark, and when you gently shake the tin the cheesecake will be very jiggly, more than a wobble, as if the crust is floating on a very liquid centre.
- leave the cheesecake to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- carefully release the springform ring, and using the baking paper, gently lift the cheesecake onto your serving plate.
- use a hot knife to cut slices, cleaning between each cut if you like your slices as neat as possible. The centre should be just barely set.
- enjoy as is, or with fresh berries, even oven candied orange slices if you’re feeling extra!
- store any leftovers in the fridge, for up to 4 days
Oven Candied Blood Orange Slices with fennel
- 1 blood orange
- 25g icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- set your oven to 90ºC fan, no need to preheat
- line a baking tray with baking paper
- lightly crush the fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle
- slice the orange into very thin slices, use a mandolin if you have one, arrange in a single layer on the tray, sift the icing sugar over the slices, and sprinkle with fennel seeds
- bake the slices until they are dry and translucent, 2 to 2 ½ hours, time will vary depending on the juiciness of the oranges, and thickness of the slices
- when cool, store in an airtight container; I’ve read these slices will keep for a year, an untested theory in our house!
Sally aka Simmer and Boyle is a recipe developer, food stylist, photographer, and somewhat infrequent blogger. Originally from the UK, she now lives in Sydney with her family, her beautiful wheaten terrier, and far too many houseplants! Sally loves to cook and share images of her efforts on Instagram @simmerandboyle and recipes on her blog at www.simmerandboyle.com, be prepared for cake, there’s lots of cake…