Burnt Basque-Style Cheesecake

Katie Button

Cúrate and Nightbell, Asheville, NC

This Basque recipe takes all the fuss out of cheesecake: no crust, no water bath. It’s baked in a hot oven until purposefully burnt, leaving it with darkly caramelized edges and a super-creamy center. Topped with a roasted strawberry compote, it’s reminiscent of a classic New York–style cheesecake with a sophisticated twist. 

This is a recipe from our digital cookbook, "A Place at the Table" featuring our Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) program alum. Download the full cookbook.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 5 minutes, plus 7 hours for cooling and chilling


For the cheesecake:

2 2/3 cups (19 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) soft sheep’s milk cheese, preferably MitiCrema brand, or any soft sheep or goat cheese, at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

6 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups heavy cream, at room temperature


For the compote:

1 pound strawberries, hulled, large berries cut in half lengthwise

2 teaspoons grapeseed oil

3/4 cup Tempranillo or other fruity Spanish red wine

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


Make the cheesecake: preheat the oven to 425°F, with the rack in the center position. Spray the entire inside of a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Place a 9-inch parchment paper circle inside the bottom of the pan, and line the sides of the pan with a 4 1⁄2–inch wide strip of parchment. Overlap the ends of the parchment strip by approximately 2 inches on either side, to prevent the batter from leaking, and press the paper against the interior of the pan. This parchment collar will keep the cheesecake from overflowing during baking. Cover the outside of the springform pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil across the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan to prevent the batter from leaking. Place the pan on a rimmed sheet pan and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and sheep’s milk cheese, and beat them together on medium speed until very smooth, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the sugar and salt, and continue to beat on medium-high speed until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is slightly aerated. Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping the bowl often. With the machine running on low speed, sprinkle the flour in 3 to 4 batches, scraping the bowl as needed. Drizzle in the cream, and continue to beat until the batter is smooth and silky, with no lumps.

Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan just before baking, to prevent the batter from leaking excessively. Bake until the cheesecake is deeply browned, about 1 hour. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 1 hour, refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

Make the compote: preheat the oven to 400°F, with the rack in the top third position.

Place the berries on a rimmed sheet pan, blot them with a paper towel, and toss them with the oil. Roast until the strawberries are softened and beginning to darken, about 15 minutes. Change the oven to the broil setting and continue to cook, watching carefully, until the strawberries begin to char all over, about 5 minutes more.

Using a rubber spatula, transfer the strawberries, including the juices and caramelized bits, to a medium saucepan. Stir in the wine, sugar, and lemon juice, and cook over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and simmer until the mixture has thickened to a syrupy consistency and reduced slightly, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the compote to a bowl to cool, it will continue to thicken. The compote can be made in advance and refrigerated in a container up to one week. Bring the compote to room temperature before serving.

Serve each slice of cheesecake with a drizzle of compote.


12 servings