When you look up the history of famous dishes, it usually turns out that they were invented hundreds of years ago. Preferably as a gesture for a king, emperor or prima ballerina. And the very story of the creation of the court often includes a funny point like “the apprentice made a strange mistake in the kitchen, and the result was surprisingly good”.
But there are exceptions. Exceptions that can make anyone dream of creating a world hit in the kitchen and enjoying the fame of their own life. The dish of the week is such an exception. This cake is a real novelty, invented by chef Santiago Rivera at La Viña restaurant in San Sebastian in the 1990s. Rivera is today, thanks to his “burnt” Basque cheesecake, become a living legend. His cake is a modern classic, known all over the planet.
The fact that cakes significantly younger than sarah bernard and tarte tatin can have such an impact is, to say the least, inspiring for anyone creating recipes themselves. Here it must be thought out and cooked!
But back to the cheesecake. These are strong cases, akin to the American variety of baked cheesecake. But where the American version often has a lid of sour cream, added a bit of citrus that gives freshness, the Basque cheesecake plays on other strings. Here there is a caramelized surface that ensures an exciting break in taste: the slightly burnt, sour and bitter in contrast to the oily. The cake also looks very good, and we eat with our eyes as well.
In this recipe, you can use white goat cheese if you wish. Personally, I think it gets a little too heavy, so I prefer plain cream cheese.
Berries or fruits
Accessories should be fresh and tangy. Here I used brewed forest blueberries. Another proposal, also completely seasonal this fall, is Norwegian winter apple compote, cooked with a cinnamon stick. In early summer you can make glazed rhubarb porridge, in midsummer it can be fresh strawberries and hot chocolate sauce.
And if you want to ditch the accessories altogether, and maybe just serve something nice in the glass or mug alongside, that works great too. This world famous cake stands firmly on its own two feet.
Basque cheesecake with brewed berries
Ingredients (2 people)
- 350g sugar
- 1 kg cream cheese (tempered)
- A quarter of a teaspoon of salt
- 5 eggs
- 4.8 dl of cream
- 30g wheat flour
- 200g Kornmo biscuits
- 6 tablespoons of sugar
- 8 tablespoons melted butter
- 150 g blueberries (preferably frozen wild blueberries)
- sugar (flavored)
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Grease a springform pan and line it with parchment paper that sticks out 6 to 8 inches above the edge of the pan.
- Pass the Kornmo cookies into a finely crushed mass in a food processor. Mix the melted butter and sugar, then mix with the biscuit mass. Press the mass evenly into the springform pan, so that you get a biscuit base of about 0.5 centimeters. (NB: The original recipe does not have a biscuit base.)
- Whip cream cheese and sugar together into a smooth cream. Add the salt and quickly whip the cream. Add one egg at a time, whisking constantly. Dilute with the whipped cream, and finally sift the wheat flour before whipping everything well and evenly.
- Pour the batter into the springform pan and bake the cake for 50 minutes. While hot it will move a bit in the middle and look unfinished, but it sets up nicely when it cools.
- Serve the cake at room temperature, with stirred berries on the side.
The drink is moldy and the selection is meager. But you world how good it is!
By Knut-Espen Misje, sommelier, course leader and co-author of several cookbooks / NTB
Pairing wine and food is not always easy. The classic Basque cheesecake with stirred blueberries falls into the difficult category. We can read the reason, as strange as it may seem, on the colors.
Side dishes and beer
Let me explain: The cake is slightly golden, with a caramelized exterior that is usually associated with noble sweet white wines. Blueberries, on the other hand, have a color and taste that we associate with dark red wines. Don’t get me wrong, cake and berries taste great together, but finding a wine that works for both is a bit of a loot.
One solution is of course to drink something completely different. An apple tree with blueberries or black currants will be lovely, as will a fruit with dark berries. The new fashionable fruit beer with dark berries can also be excellent.
In the world of wine, on the other hand, there are few wines that combine the qualities we need. If you’re lucky enough to come across a cute Austrian Schilcher, it’ll be fine, but those wines aren’t that available. So I opted for a compromise and selected a tawny port. This strong wine from Portugal happens to give associations to both caramel, nuts, citrus fruits and red and black berries, and is thus the answer to the dilemma of the senses. Graham’s 10 Years Old Tawny (item no 5482004, order pick, NOK 89.90) tastes like a ten year old tawny. It is blended with the most common red grapes from the Douro Valley. Because it’s suitably sweet, a little strong, and made from both younger, fruity red wines and older, more oxidized wines, it tastes just right for both cake and blueberries. Note that the recommended bottle only offers 20 centilitres, which is equivalent to two small glasses. If you like to take big sips, you should probably choose a larger bottle.
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