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Recipes

Asha's Moringa Vanilla Basque Cheesecake

Recipe By: Asha Loupy

Serves: 8 to 10

Asha's Moringa Vanilla Basque Cheesecake
Photo by:  

Melati Citrawireja

Basque cheesecake — made popular at the restaurant La Viña in the Gipuzkoa region of Spanish Basque Country — is the anti-cheesecake. No crust, no water bath, baked at a high temperature until burnished and (gasp!) cracked, it’s the cheesecake for people who love cheesecake, but are a little intimidated to make one at home. But, reader, I promise, you can do it! It only takes one bowl, one pan, and some patience while it cools (honestly, the waiting is the hardest part!).

Flavored with Kudligi Nuggekai (Moringa) and Kerala Vanilla beans as well as a generous pour of vanilla extract, this cheesecake is straight up dreamy. Both the vanilla and the cream cheese amp up the white chocolate notes of the moringa, while heavy whipping cream and eggs bind the cheesecake into an ethereal slice. The center of the cheesecake should be the consistency of just melted ice cream, firming up in texture as you move to the outer, burnished edges of the cake. 

There are two key steps to getting this sought-after texture: 1) Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature, that means the cream cheese, eggs, and the heavy whipping cream 2) trust the timing of this recipe. Your cheesecake is going to look very jiggly after 41 to 43 minutes in the oven, but don’t worry, it’s fully cooked! Once it cools, you will have a cheesecake so good, people will be licking their plates (or, at least having a strong urge to).

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Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 1½ pounds full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 pod Kerala Vanilla, split and seeds scraped out (reserve the leftover pod for another use!)
  • 2 teaspoon homemade or store-bought vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (we used Diamond Crystal)
  • 1⅓ cups heavy whipping cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Kudligi Nuggekai (Moringa)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Special equipment
  • 8-inch springform pan
  • Parchment paper

Methods

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Generously grease an 8-inch springform pan with the butter. Cut two large pieces of parchment paper. Take one piece of parchment paper, lining up the long edge of the paper with the center of the pan. Press the paper in, creasing the sides, if necessary so it is lining half the the bottom and sides of the pan. Repeat with the remaining piece of parchment paper, slightly overlapping it over the first pieces, so the entire pan is lined with a couple inches of overhang on the sides of the pan. (This will create those burnished creases on the sides that Basque cheesecake is known for.) Set the pan aside.
  2. Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, this process can be done in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer.) Beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed, stopping occasionally to scrape down the paddle, sides, and bottom of the bowl, until the sugar is fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. If you can rub a little bit of the cream cheese between your fingers and don’t feel any sugary grittiness, you’re there! (Don’t beat any higher than medium speed — you don’t want to whip too much air into the batter.)
  3. Add the whole eggs and egg yolk one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. I like to scrape down the bowl after adding two eggs and after adding the final egg yolk. Add in the vanilla bean scrapings, vanilla extract, and salt and beat for 1 minute to combine.
  4. Slowly drizzle in the heavy whipping cream until it is fully incorporated. Stop and scrape down the bowl and the paddle completely. Sift in the moringa and the flour, turn the mixer back on to medium low and mix until the moringa and flour are fully incorporated, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Carefully pour the cheesecake batter into your prepared springform pan and tap the pan a couple times on the counter to remove any air pockets. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake until burnished around the edges and some spots in the middle and jiggly (it will be so jiggly, you might not think it is done, but once it cools, you’ll be golden), about 41 to 43 minutes for a creamy, just set center and 44 to 46 minutes for an evenly set, dense texture.
  6. Remove the baked cheesecake from the oven, transfer the whole springform pan to a baking rack, and allow to cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Refrigerate in the pan until fully cooled, about another 2 to 3 hours, but ideally overnight.
  7. Remove from the refrigerator 15 to 20 minutes before serving. To serve, unlatch the springform pan, remove the cheesecake, and transfer, paper and all, to a larger serving plate. To cut, gently pull down the parchment paper and slice the cheesecake using a warm, dry knife (run the knife under hot water or dip in boiling water and then dry with a towel). Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 5 days.
     
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