Matcha Burnt Basque Cheesecake


"If you asked a room full of people to name their favourite dessert, chances are a fair number would say a good cheesecake. I don’t blame them – what’s not to love about the combination of cream, cheese and sugar?

This recipe is a take on the famous Spanish burnt Basque cheesecake, which has a more rustic appearance than the New York version. The first time I made a burnt Basque cheesecake, it was for a first date. We’d agreed to go on a picnic for the occasion and he casually mentioned, as he listed all the things he was going to bring, that he was coeliac.

Coincidentally, I’d been meaning to try this cheesecake recipe for ages, and, of course, I did, and it was a big hit. That summer, I spent many hours perfecting the recipe, because my first few attempts weren’t quite as I’d hoped, but I got there in the end.

So, here I present to you one of my top desserts to make at home, and a matcha version, just because I love all things matcha. The cheesecake is flourless, meaning it’s perfect for coeliacs and those on a gluten-free diet."

[Have You Eaten?: Deliciously Simple Asian Cooking for Every Mood by Verna Gao is published by DK, £20.  Photo credit: Lizzie Mayson]

Ingredients for Matcha Burnt Basque Cheesecake

Method for Matcha Burnt Basque Cheesecake

  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC/200ºC fan/425ºF/Gas 7. Line the base and sides of a deep loose-bottomed 18cm (6in) cake tin with 2 large sheets of baking (parchment) paper, one of the sheets turned at 45 degrees, so the corners point in different directions. Next, press the paper into the tin and fold over any paper protruding above the rim of the cake tin – this will help you lift the cheesecake out after baking. Don’t worry about any creases as they add to the character of the cheesecake.
  2. In a stand mixer or using a hand whisk, manual or electric, combine the cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix together thoroughly.
  3. Next, add the cream and vanilla to the cream-cheese mixture and whisk until everything is well combined, scraping down the sides a few times with a spatula to help.
  4. Mix the cornflour, matcha powder and salt together in a bowl, then gradually sift the mixture into the cream mixture and fold it in making sure there are no lumps and it’s well incorporated.
  5. Matcha powder can be lumpy, so sifting it with the cornflour helps to achieve an ultra-smooth consistency.
  6. Pour the matcha mixture into the prepared cake tin, tap the tin on the work surface to make sure there are no air bubbles and level the top.
  7. Bake the cheesecake for 30–45 minutes, depending on your oven. I always start with 30 minutes to check how much colour there is on top – you want it to look fairly dark and puffed up like a soufflé. Insert a skewer into the centre to check the cheesecake is ready; the middle should be a little runny when fully cooked but not too wet. If you gently shake the tin from side-to-side, the cheesecake should have a slight wobble, but will firm up once cool and continue to set in the refrigerator. Continue to bake the cheesecake for a further 10–15 minutes if it isn’t ready, keeping an eye on it as you go.
  8. Once cooked, remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool in the tin to room temperature. It will collapse slightly in the middle as it cools.
  9. You can eat the cheesecake at this stage when still slightly gooey in the middle, or chill in the fridge for a couple of hours until ready to eat.
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