The Cheesecake : Viral La Viña Recipe

photo by Simon Bajada for  Basque Country

photo by Simon Bajada for Basque Country

Forget shortbread with chocolate chips. If ever a recipe deserved to go viral, it is this: the famous cheesecake from La Viña, in San Sebastián’s old town on Calle 31 de Agosto. After all, in real life, this Basque cheesecake already is.

The walls at La Viña, a bar at the end of San Sebastián’s Calle 31 de Agosto, are lined with stack upon stack of cheesecakes, still in their springform pans. They come down gradually as the day goes on: a steady stream of the most famous cheesecake in all of Europe. Cheesecake is an ancient baked good, and this Basque adaptation conquers the hearts and stomachs of foreigners from everywhere, even visiting Manhattanites schooled in the art of cheesecake eating.

This recipe comes from my cookbook, Basque Country, and it’s already making waves across the internet. It’s been featured in several publications, and people across Instagram, Facebook and the blogosphere raving about how it’s turning out. Let’s take this viral people! If you make it, tag me on Instagram and use the hashtag #basquecountrybook.

Somewhere between a New York cheesecake and a flan, La Viña cheesecake sets the gold standard in Basque Country. Part of this dessert’s joy is its abundance. Tall, creamy, and downright sinful, the combination of five simple ingredients is ethereal. This cake needs no crust—the parts of the cake in contact with the pan brown faster, forming a natural crust that transitions gradually into the creamiest of cheese custards. Serve with a glass of sherry.

La Viña Cheesecake / Gazta Tarta

1 3⁄4 cups (350 g) sugar

2 1⁄4 pounds (1 kg) cream cheese, at room temperature

1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt

5 large eggs

2 cups (480 mL) heavy cream

1⁄4 cup (30 g) all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Grease a 10-inch (25 cm) springform pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) overhanging the top of the pan. (You can cut a circle to fit the base and then cut a band of paper to fit neatly around the sides, but the more rustic and simple method is to press an entire sheet into the pan, pleating the paper where it begins to crease.)

In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar and cream cheese until smooth. (This can be done by hand as well—beat with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes.) Add the salt and mix. Incorporate the eggs one by one and stir until fully incorporated. Whisk in the cream. With a sifter, add the flour to the mixture and fold it in gently.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until browned and almost burned-looking on top. This can really vary oven to oven, so it helps to have your eye on the cheesecake from 50 minutes forward. The center will still be quite jiggly, but the cake is ready. Remove from the oven and cool.

Before serving, remove the outer part of the springform and gently tug away the parchment paper. Serve at room temperature.

On egin! (That’s Basque for bon appetit!)

Let’s take this viral people! If you make it, tag me on Instagram and use the hashtag #basquecountrybook.