Cracking the Eggless Basque (Burnt) Cheesecake!


It all started with a Joshua Weissman video where he made the Basque cheesecake. He pretty much called it a cheesecake which anyone can make in their sleep and just when I was getting very excited he went and put 6 eggs and a yolk in it.

There went my cheesecake dreams down the drain. But then I started to think about it - what if we could make it eggless. It would be a challenge for sure but think of the payout - the yummy, flavorful, out-of-the-world cheesecake which has never been made eggless before!

That's it. We were making that cheesecake - come hell or high water.

Replacing the eggs

Usually, my go to egg replacer is flaxegg which I have used in multiple recipes like Banana Bread & Brownies. But here flaxseeds would have given a grainy textured look to our cheesecake unlike the original one which looks nice super smooth and creamy from inside.

So flaxseeds were out.

For cakes, I use buttermilk but it has a tangy consistency and not to mention the acidity of the buttermilk could have lead to spitting of the cheese while mixing so that was out as well.

The eggs in this cheesecake bind all the cheese together and form the body of the cheesecake when it's cooked. Therefore I decided to go for Condensed Milk as my choice of egg replacement for this one.

Condensed milk is a perfect choice here because it has a creamy consistency, there would be no color variation in the final dish and it has the binding capability needed to keep this cheesecake together.

The only complication this adds is the sugar adjustment that we would have to do because the condensed milk also contains sugar.

Baking dish

Typically, this cheesecake is made in a springform pan lined with lots of baking paper lining high on the sides. The reason is that it puffs up quite a lot while baking and then comes back down after it has cooled down completely. The tall baking sheet on the sides gives the cheesecake support as it rises.

We have used a removable base baking tin instead of a springform pan and it works fine. But you won't be able to use a baking pan which does not have a removable base.

Our baking tin is 6 inches in diameter and 3 inches tall.

Trial 1

We carefully measured out the ingredients listed by Joshua, replaced the eggs with condensed milk and baked it in the oven for 35 mins till the top layer was fully burnt black and we could see the sides forming a blackish crust too.

The cheesecake looked amazing as it came out of the oven. It had risen a lot and was jiggly from the middle as it was supposed to be. And it cooled down it slowly settled back down as well. And once it was completely cooled, we had our taste test.

The Good

  • The cheesecake was really one of a kind with slightly crispy burnt crust and a soft, moist, gooey body.
  • Super easy to make, one bowl mixing and it was ready to be baked.
  • Perfectly sweet, the flavor of the cheese was balancing the sweetness making the cheesecake not too sweet on the palate.

The Bad

  • After cooling, the cheesecake was not as firm as it should have been.
  • It was holding up on its own but a small slice cut from the cake was falling apart.
  • The cheesecake was also greasy from the bottom and sides after cooling down.

Trial Conclusion

  • Since the protein from the eggs was missing, our cheesecake lacked in a good firm body and was softer than the ideal.
  • Probably the batter was overmixed and hence was excreting oils.
  • The binding agent was not enough since the cake was falling apart.

Trial 2

It was 80% done. The flavors and textures were almost there. We just had to make a few tweaks and hopefully, our cheesecake would be done!

We increased the amount of flour in our mixture and made it a point to not over-mix the batter. And last but not the least, we added another ingredient to the texture and firmness of the cheesecake. This last secret ingredient was according to us the game changer and making this cheesecake eggless was not possible without this one thing.

Without further suspense - this last ingredient was Whey Protein.

Whey protein is a dairy-based protein powder that we have used to provide structure and body to our cheesecake. It works beautifully because it has no flavor of its own, blends well with the cheesecake and provides a much-needed binding to the cheesecake.

And true to our belief, the second round of cheesecake was much better, texture and shape-wise while keeping the frenzy of flavors intact. All in all, it was the best goddam cheesecake I have ever tried!

Cheesecake

 

Yield - 6 inch round cheesecake (~ 500 g) - 8 Slices (~60 g each)

Baking tin - 6-inch Diameter x 3-inch Height round pan with a removable base

Total time - 2 hrs

Baking time - 35 min Prep time - 30 min Cooling time - ~1 hrs.

Ingredients

Cream Cheese - 226 g

Mascarpone Cheese - 75 g

Sugar - 50 g

Condensed Milk - 100 g

Heavy Cream - 90 g

Sea Salt - 1/4 tsp

Vanilla Extract - 2 g

All-purpose flour - 30 g

Whey Protein - 10 g

Method

Step 1: Measure and keep all the ingredients allowing them to come to room temperature.

Step 2: Line the baking tin with 2 large pieces of parchment paper. Smoothen out the folds in the paper by pressing it firmly against the walls of the baking tin.

Step 3: In a stand mixer (you can also use a hand mixer), add the cream cheese (226 g), mascarpone (75 g) and the sugar (50g) and mix until the sugar is dissolved completely. To check for this, you can touch the mixture with your fingers and if you can't feel any grit then it's dissolved (takes about 90 secs).

Step 4: Add the condensed milk (100 g) and mix for 30-40 secs more.

Step 5: Add the heavy cream (90 g), sea salt (1/4 tsp) and vanilla extract (2 g) and mix for 30 secs.

Step 6: Sift in the all-purpose flour (30 g) and whey protein (10 g). Mix well for 60 secs. Please note that it is very important to sift the dry ingredients here so that there are no flour pockets in our batter.

Step 7: Pour the batter into the baking tin and set it to bake at 200℃ for 35 min or till the top and the sides have a burnt crust.

Once it comes out of the oven, let it rest on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before removing the sides. After that let the cheesecake come down to room temperature and then only try to remove the parchment paper and cut it.

And the beautiful cheesecake is ready to be devoured! 


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