I can't remember where I saw the inspiration for this cheesecake but instantly thought it would be great to combine the custard from my recipe for Flan Pâtissier with my Baked New York Cheesecake,and boy is it good. Plus, who doesn't love to play with a blowtorch in the kitchen (safety first, mind). Guaranteed to impress when you serve it, the only question you need to ask is "Who wants to hold the spoon?".
Serves The Golden Girls or 12-16
Hands-on Time 30 minutes
Cooking Time 10 minutes
Baking Time 205 minutes
5 Eggs, medium
2 Egg yolks, medium
30g Light brown sugar
250g plus 3 1/2 tbsp Caster sugar
400ml Full-fat milk
170ml Single cream
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp Vanilla extract (or seeds from 1 1/2 vanilla pods)
130g Unsalted butter (softened)
600g Cream cheese (room temperature)
200ml Sour cream
1 Large bowl
Hand whisk (silicone if possible)
20cm Springform tin
Extra-wide tin foil
Large deep-sided roasting tin
1 Kettle of water
Whisk together 2 whole eggs and 2 yolks, the light brown sugar and 100 grams of caster sugar, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl until light and foamy.
Add 50 grams of cornflour and whisk again until thick.
Add the milk, cream, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (or the seeds from 1 pod), and 20 grams of butter to the saucepan and place over a medium-high heat.
Stir the milk mixture with a spatula until the butter has melted and it’s gently bubbling.
Remove for the heat.
Whilst whisking the egg mixture slowly add the heated milk.
Continue whisking after the milk has been incorporated.
You are looking to have a very thick wobbly custard, so add the mixture back to the pan and place over a low heat. Stir continuously until it thickens up. The key thing is to keep stirring so you don’t get any lumps. Remove the pan from the heat once thick enough and transfer back into the bowl.
Place the clingfilm directly over the top of the custard to stop a skin from forming and leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C(Fan)/350°F/Gas mark 4.
Add the digestives to the food processor bowl along with 1 tablespoon of sugar and a pinch of salt.
Blitz until you have a fine powder.
Add 90 grams of butter to a small microwaveable bowl and pop into the microwave for a couple of seconds until melted. Don’t let it run for more than 30 seconds at a time otherwise it may spit!
Whilst the food processor is running, slowly pour in melted butter.
Switch off the processor and remove the lid, you should have what looks like wet sand.
Using the spatula, tip the mixture into the tin and press down until level. I find it’s best to press down using my hands.
Pop the tin onto the middle shelf of the oven for 10 minutes.
Once the time is up, remove the tin from the oven and turn the temperature down to 160°C/140°C(Fan)/325°F/Gas mark 3.
Now to get on with making a filling.
Add the cream cheese along with 20 grams of butter to a large mixing bowl and whisk on a medium-high speed for up to 5 minutes until you have a lightly whipped mixture.
Add a pinch of salt, 150 grams of caster sugar, and 40 grams cornflour to the mixture and beat until combined.
Add the remaining 3 whole eggs to the mixture and again give a quick whisk.
Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (or the seeds from 1/2 a pod) and the sour cream and give a whisk.
Finally add half of the custard and give one last whisk.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a clean spatula so that everything is combined.
Take a large square of foil and place the tin onto the centre of it. Fold the sides up so they are firmly hugging the tin. You want to make sure that there are no rips or gaps so that water can get in!
Clean the microwaveable bowl and add the remaining 10g of butter to it. Pop into the microwave for a few seconds until melted.
Brush the insides of the tin with the melted butter. Try not to dislodge the base and get crumbs stuck on the side.
Take the remaining custard and dollop it onto the centre of the base, try and shape it into a somewhat dome.
Carefully pour the cheesecake mixture over the top of the custard.
Give the tin a few taps on the worktop to remove any visible large bubbles.
Place the tin onto the roasting tin and put onto the middle shelf of the oven. With the door still open, carefully and quickly pour the kettle of boiled water into the roasting tin.
Close the oven door and leave to bake for 75 minutes.
When the time is up, turn the oven off and leave the cake to sit in the oven for a further 2 hours. You could always leave the cake to sit overnight if you’re baking this late in the day.
Once the time has passed and the oven is cool, remove the roasting tin.
You may need to place the foil cladded tin onto a tea towel to dry the bottom.
Peel away the foil from the sides and lift the cake tin out. You may find a little water found its way between the foil and the cake tin from the steam. Do not worry.
You may need to run a palette knife around the edge of the cake to remove it from the pan. Best to do this before you spring the tin open and rip the cake apart.
It’s best to keep the cheesecake in the fridge until you are ready to eat it.
Just before you are ready to serve the cake sprinkle 2 and a half tablespoons of caster sugar over the top of the cake.
Using a blowtorch melt the sugar until golden, if you don’t have one you can always pop the cake under the grill. Do be careful as the sugar can go from granular to burnt within seconds, so do keep a close eye on it.
Once the sugar has melted leave it to harden and cool for a few minutes.
If you want to add a little dramatic effect when serving you can crack the caramel using the back of a spoon.