If you’ve never been to San Sebastian then put it on your list – nowhere else covers my 2 favourite hobbies of eating and drinking quite so perfectly.
One of the highlights is the ‘burnt cheesecake’ sold by a small bar in a backroad of the Old Town. La Viña is so famous for these that cooling cakes adorn every available shelf in the place. You can stand there with a nice glass of wine and watch them peddle slice after slice to the locals and tourists – they wouldn’t tell me how many full cakes they get through of an evening, but I reckon it has to be 100+.
The dish itself is basically a barely cooked, baseless cheesecake. Sounds easy – but getting it right takes a little practice. The final outcome needs to be a rich dark brown around the edges and the top, but ideally still very slightly runny through the middle. Figuring out the temperature and cooking duration for your oven is really the hardest bit of this.
This video pretty much sums it up: cheesecake heaven
I’m not sure what their secret is, they are obviously not telling anyone. I’m sure the real thing is still better but this is about as close as I can get…
- Preheat your oven to 220°C
- In a large bowl, beat the cheese with the sugar until it is a smooth creamy consistency, add the flour and mix it through
- Then, adding one egg at a time, blend each into the mix before adding the next, take care to not over whisk here because too much air will result in the end product having more of a soufflé sort of texture
- When all 6 are added, mix in the cream and have a quick blast with an electric mixer or a few seconds of vigorous action with a whisk
- Melt a little butter and coat the bottom and sides of a 23cm (9 inch) spring form cake tin
- Line the tin with 2 sheets of baking paper, one left to right and one front to back. Coat the bottom and sides of each sheet after adding it.
- The goal here is to have enough paper popping up out of the top of the tin to keep the cake mix encased as it rises in the oven. It’s a little fiddly at first, but try to be as neat as possible, folding in any bits of the side that are creating large gaps, and trimming the top when done to around 6cm (3 inches) about the rim.
- Pour the mix into the tin, it will likely be perilously close to overflow, but you did such a good job lining that tin then that’s fine 🙂
- Now bake it – the duration may take one or two attempts to get right. I find 50 minutes will result in a lovely cheesecake that is just set all the way through.
- Take it out of the oven – it should have a very jelly like wobble to it – and leave it to cool and collapse onto itself for at least an hour, preferably 2 or 3
Authentic Sloppiness...If you want that ‘authentic’ unset centre that is true to the La Viña cheesecakes, then you have options. I am still experimenting and will update here asap.
The obvious option is to increase the oven temperature and reduce the cook time. However, adding more cheese/cream to the mix would reduce the overall egg ratio and may also help keep the cake from fully setting.