Hart Bageri, the newest addition to the Copenhagen bakery scene, opened with lines down the street for its sourdough bread. Now, however, its Basque cheesecake has been drawing a crowd. We’ve seen this Spanish dessert on more and more restaurant menus lately, from Brat in London to Dialogue in Los Angeles, so we wanted to find out what makes this cake so popular. We went to Richard Hart’s bakery on Gammel Kongevej 109 in Copenhagen to find out.
What is Basque Cheesecake?
The Basque-style cheesecake differs from its New York and Japanese cheesecake cousins in that it’s an almost burnt variation of the dessert. Cooked at a high temperature, it has a slightly caramelized, crispy crust, with an inside that’s almost underbaked and raw. With cream cheese as the main ingredient, the center is extremely creamy and gooey. The cheesecake is kept cold, but is served at room temperature to produce that ultimate melt-in-your-mouth creaminess.
La Viña – The Original Basque Cheesecake
La Viña in San Sebastian is the inventor and most famous proprietor of this style of cheesecake – it’s a must-stop for any foodie traveling in Spain. Chef Santiago Rivera decided to add dessert to the menu when he took over his parents’ pintxos bar thirty years ago. He stumbled upon a cheesecake recipe in a cookbook. Wanting to create something exceptionally creamy, he made several adjustments to the recipe and the Basque cheesecake was born. The original recipe is extremely simple, consisting only of five ingredients: Spanish cream cheese, heavy cream, sugar, eggs, and flour. However, many recipes add a sixth ingredient (salt) because Philadelphia cream cheese is slightly less salty than the Spanish cream cheese used at La Viña.
Anders visited La Viña in 2017 and raved that it was the best cheesecake he had ever tasted. You can imagine his joy when he realized that the Basque delicacy had made its way to Scandinavia! We shared a slice between the two of us at Hart Bageri, and enjoyed the rest of our cheesecake for breakfast for a few days to follow. Anders still remembers the original in San Sebastian as the best, but Hart’s version is a good second and maybe as close as you can get to La Viña’s creamy perfection.
Hart Bageri’s Basque cheesecake is available by the slice (40 DKK), as a small cake (100 DKK, serves 4 people), and as a large cake (220 DKK, serves 8 people). The cake can be pre-ordered by calling Hart Bageri at +45 31111850.
Have you tried Basque cheesecake before? Let us know in the comments below.
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Anders Husa & Kaitlin Orr