I had a craving for a decadent dessert and decided to make a crème brûlée cheesecake. I was not able to find a recipe for the type of cheesecake I was hoping to make so I followed sections of two recipes, found here and here and made my own modifications. The result is a very rich and creamy cheesecake. I think it is my new favorite recipe. I was so happy to have another reason to use my little kitchen torch.
Crème Brûlée Cheesecake
- 8 oz vanilla wafer cookies
- 3 tbsp sugar (for the crust)
- 7 tbsp butter, melted
- 3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cups sugar (divided into 3/4 cup and 1/2 cup)
- Seeds from 2 vanilla beans
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tbsp sugar for topping
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Wrap a 9 inch springform pan with heavy duty tinfoil in preparation for the water bath.
- In the bowl of your food processor, process the vanilla cookies and sugar into fine crumbs. Pour in the melted butter and process until well incorporated.
- Press the crust into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, until golden brown. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In your mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is smooth with no lumps. Add the flour and table salt while mixing on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl frequently, until very smooth and fluffy. Add 3/4 cups of the sugar and continue beating. Add the whole eggs one at a time and beat until the mixture is well blended and smooth.
- Whisk the egg yolks together in a medium heat resistant bowl. Add the cream and 1/2 cup sugar to a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until it is just about to boil. To temper the egg yolks, add about half of the cream mixture to the heat resistant bowl, while whisking constantly. Pour the tempered egg mixture into the saucepan with the remaining cream and heat on low, whisking until it is just starting to thicken. Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the vanilla seeds. Let the mixture cool slightly before adding it to the cream cheese.
- Pour the custard mixture into the cream cheese mixture while beating on medium speed. Make sure the custard is fully incorporated. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared springform pan. I normally swirl a knife in the batter to remove any air bubbles.
- Place the springform pan into a large roasting pan. Make sure it is well wrapped in the tinfoil so that water will not get into it. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake until it has a jello-like consistency when the pan is nudged, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The center of the cheesecake will look under cooked, that’s okay.
- Remove the roasting pan from the oven and carefully remove the springform pan. Place the springform pan on a cooling rack. After 10 minutes, carefully run a sharp knife around the edges of the cheesecake. Separating the top of the cheesecake from the edge of the springform pan will help prevent the cheesecake from cracking as it cools. Cool the cheesecake for 1 hour. Then, refrigerate uncovered for at least 8 hours.
- Before serving, remove the side of the springform pan and place the cheesecake on your serving plate. Slice the cheesecake with a warm knife. Sprinkle the granulated sugar evenly over the top of the cheesecake slices and slowly pass a hand-held kitchen torch over the sugar until it is melted and caramelized. Be careful not to burn the parts of the cheesecake not covered in sugar. If you don’t add enough sugar the first time around, you can repeat this step and caramelize it again until it reaches your desired appearance.