What Is Dish?: A Cheesecake from New York, Japan, or Spain

The cheesecake is a timeless dessert. It’s versatility helps it adapt to any environment. Kids eat the Oreo version, chefs make it fancy, and home cooks can do it without baking. You can even use different types of cheese⁠—though the most familiar to us is that made with cream cheese. Even beyond that, different countries have their own version of the cake. We have, for example, the classic dense, graham-crusted New York cheesecake; or the light, fluffy Japanese cheesecake. There’s even more variety in Europe (where the dish is believed to have been created), such as the Swedish ostkaka, the German käsekuchen, and the Russian vatrushka.

“Oooh, burn!”

In 2019, another type of cheesecake caught the eye of bakers far and wide: the Basque burnt cheesecake.  The recipe, which dates back to 1990, originated in La Viña, a pintxos bar in San Sebastián, Spain. Unlike what we’re used to, this version comes out, well… burnt. It’s baked in high heat (400F!), resulting in a singed, caramelized crust and a gooey under-cooked center.

On this episode of What is Dish?, we challenged our culinary director to make the now-trendy cheesecake. (We followed a recipe developed by Molly Baz from Bon Appétit.) *Spoiler alert!* Kimmie figures it out, but it took her some time to get there—keep an eye out for the exact aha moment. There were a few mishaps, so her cheesecake ended up a bit more buttery than we hoped. But at the end of the day, we’d still eat it (and we did!).

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Recipe from Bon Appétit



Serving Size

Active Time

Total Time

  1. Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 400F.
  2. Butter pan, then line with 2 overlapping 16×12″ sheets of parchment, making sure parchment comes at least 2″ above top of pan on all sides. (Pleats and creases are okay!)
  3. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Beat cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-low speed, scraping down sides of bowl, until very smooth, no lumps remain, and sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes.
  5. Increase speed to medium and add eggs one at a time, beating each egg 15 seconds before adding the next.
  6. Scrape down sides of bowl, then reduce mixer speed to medium-low.
  7. Add cream, salt, and vanilla and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.
  8. Turn off mixer and sift flour evenly over cream cheese mixture. Beat on low speed until incorporated, about 15 seconds.
  9. Scrape down sides of bowl again and continue to beat until batter is very smooth, homogenous, and silky, about 10 seconds.
  10. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake cheesecake until deeply golden brown on top and still very jiggly in the center, 60–65 minutes.
  11. Let cool slightly (it will fall drastically as it cools), then unmold.
  12. Let cool completely.
  13. Carefully peel away parchment from sides of cheesecake.
  14. Slice into wedges and serve at room temperature, preferably with a glass of sherry alongside.​

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