I wanted to create a special dessert in her honor, so I came up with this cheesecake--Creme Brûlée. It takes two of my favorite desserts and combines it into one. Creme Brûlée is a rich custard topped with a hard caramel. The earliest known date of this dessert is actually 1691 in a French cookbook, "Cuisine royal et bourgeois" and was called "burnt cream." It disappeared from cookbooks until the 1980s. This cheesecake is rich with egg yolks and a burnt sugar topping.
Creme Brûlée Cheesecake
2 cups firmly packed Digestive cookies, vanilla wafer, or shortbread crumbs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 T unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg white
Preheat oven to 300F-degrees. In a small bowl, stir together the crumbs, sugar, melted butter and egg white.
Press crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 1/2-inch springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes.
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 vanilla beans, scraped or 1 T vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
2 T King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 cup sour cream
For the filling, place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and use either the whisk or paddle attachment to cream. Slowly add the sugar and vanilla beans and beat at medium speed until creamy. Scrape down the sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer running, add the yolks, one at a time. Add the flour, beating just until combined. Stir in the sour cream. Spoon bater into prepared crust.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn oven off and leave cheesecake in oven with door closed for 4 hours. Remove cheesecake from oven and run a knife around edges of the cheesecake to release the sides. Let cool completely, then cover and refrigerator for 8 hours.
To serve--sprinkle 1/4 cup of granulated or Turbinado sugar on top of cheesecake. Using a handheld kitchen torch, carefully caramelize sugar until melted. Remove sides of pan. Garnish with raspberries, if desired. Enjoy!
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