“The meal’s surprising coda will be a Basque Cheesecake based on a recipe he learned in Spain. As if reading the recipe in the canopy of maple leaves overhead, he recalled ‘a savory cheesecake with goat cheese, blue cheese, mascarpone and cream cheese…We’ll garnish it with prunes soaked in sweet, thick bourbon tea!’ Seemingly shocked by his own epiphany, he added, ‘Oh! Write that down! I might not remember it.’” –Excerpt from the feature “Newman’s Own Feast” by Steve Coomes
(1 day out)
- 2 pounds cream cheese, room temp
- 4 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temp
- 2 ounces goat cheese chevre
- 2 ounces Kenny’s Blue Cheese, finely shredded on the pointed side of hand grater
- 1 ½ cups white sugar
- 6 large eggs (farm-fresh eggs preferred)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- 6 ounces dried prunes, for garnish
- Sweet Tea Syrup, for garnish, recipe following
In a stand mixer, blend all cheeses except blue on medium speed until mixture appears like softened butter (sticking to the sides of the bowl). Add sugar one-half cup at a time until fully incorporated. Stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl.
Restart mixer at low speed and add eggs, one at a time, and blend until each is fully incorporated before adding another. Add cream, salt, and vanilla, and blend until smooth. Turn mixer off, add sifted flour, then mix on low speed until incorporated. Finally, gently fold in grated blue cheese.
In an assembled springform pan, spray inside with neutral spray oil and line with parchment paper. The paper needn’t be perfectly trimmed, so allow to extend over the pan’s edge if it does. Pour cake batter into pan and bake at 450 degrees for 40 minutes. The cake’s top will be deeply caramelized and jiggle slightly in the center. Remove from oven and allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
- Once cooled, cut and serve cake, or cool another hour to firm it slightly for easier cutting. Don’t overcool, however, since a properly prepared Basque cheesecake is creamy and almost liquid at the center.
- Note: If preparing this cheesecake one day out, refrigerate overnight, then remove from fridge and let warm 3 hours prior to cutting and serving
FOR THE SWEET TEA SYRUP
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup white sugar
- 2 regular tea bags
- 6 ounces dried prunes
- In a small pot, create simple syrup by blending water and sugar and bringing mixture to a simmer.
- Remove from heat, add tea bags and let steep 12 minutes.
- Remove tea bags and add prunes and allow to hydrate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Note: This syrup can be prepared in advance and can be stored in the refrigerator for future cocktails.
Over each slice of cheesecake, add at least 1 tablespoon of syrup (more if desired) and two prunes, then serve.