RECIPE: Basque cheesecake brings taste of Spain to your table

Credit: Sarah Dodge for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Sarah Dodge for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

As a baker, it can be hard to not be an annoyingly reverent Francophile, but my travels to northern Spain this summer made me realize how singular and limiting putting French pastry on a pedestal can be. While croissants and baguettes are glorious, let us not forget the other corners of this world that make amazing and unique bread and pastry.

Located in the northern coast of Spain, the Basque region has a plethora of food influences that deserve all their own marks. The fresh fish and seafood caught and served daily from the Bay of Biscay are enough to make your head explode, but for me, it was the insanely fresh and creamy sheep, cow and goat milk dairy that really turned this Francophile into an Iberophile.

After eating some delicious cheese in San Sebastian, I realized it’s that beautiful full fat, uncut with water or other processing methods, that makes all the difference. That fat makes this cheesecake such a decadent yet simple dessert to pull off. Just a hint of sugar, a pinch of vanilla and citrus, and a sprinkling of flour to bind it all together, and you have an amazing dessert that takes about 15 minutes to put together.

Serve this beautiful rustic cake with macerated peaches, stewed apples or maybe even some warm caramel as the weather starts to turn, and you, too, might start researching your next trip to northern Spain.

Basque Cheesecake

If you want to try something outside of the typical Philadelphia Cream Cheese, head to the newly opened Capella Cheese in Atlanta’s Armour Yards and ask for Catalonian Bauma Madurat. For this recipe, we recommend using 8 ounces Bauma Madurat and 8 ounces of your preferred full-fat American cream cheese.

Sarah Dodge is an Atlanta-based bread baker, pastry chef and baking instructor. She is the owner of Bread is Good, which offers bread subscriptions to the general public and wholesale baked goods to local markets and restaurants.

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