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Crème Brûlée Cheesecake

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Serves ten to twelve.

  • by Abigail Johnson Dodge from Fine Cooking
    Issue 104

Why choose between crème brûlée and cheesecake when you can combine them into one decadent dessert? The crackly burnt sugar topping provides a wonderful textural contrast to the creamy filling. Create your own customized cheesecake recipe with our Recipe Maker.

  • 8 oz. vanilla wafers, finely crushed (2 cups of crumbs)
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 7 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 oz. mascarpone
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • Table salt
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the vanilla wafer crumbs and 3 Tbs. granulated sugar. Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moist and clump together slightly. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the pan (to press, use plastic wrap or a flat-bottom measuring cup). Bake until the crust is fragrant and slightly darkened, 9 to 12 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack. Lower the oven temperature to 300°F.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone, flour, and a pinch of table salt on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle frequently, until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Make sure the cheese has no lumps. Add the 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar and continue beating until well blended and smooth.

Add the vanilla and beat until blended, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until blended. (Don’t overbeat once the eggs have been added or the cheesecake will puff too much and crack as it cools.) Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top.

Bake at 300°F until the center jiggles like Jell-O when nudged, 55 to 65 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed around the edges, and the center will still look moist. Set on a rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. The cake can also be frozen at this point for up to 1 month (see make-ahead tip, below).

Unclasp and remove the side of the springform pan and run a long, thin metal spatula under the bottom crust of the cheesecake. Carefully slide the cake onto a flat serving plate. Sprinkle the 2 Tbs. granulated sugar evenly over the top of the cheesecake and slowly pass a hand-held kitchen torch over the sugar until melted and caramelized.

To cut, run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut the cake into slices, heating and wiping the knife after every slice.

Make Ahead Tips

To freeze, put the unmolded, cooled cake on a rimmed baking sheet in the freezer, uncovered, until the top is cold and firm; then wrap it in two layers of plastic and one layer of foil. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 550; Fat (g): 40; Fat Calories (kcal): 350; Saturated Fat (g): 21; Protein (g): 8; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): 45; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): 310; Cholesterol (mg): 180; Fiber (g): 1;

Photo: Thomas Allen

Absolutely delicious! Best cheesecake I have ever eaten.

Great recipe! Very nice cheese cake. I have made tis recipe 3 or 4 times and it's just the right amount of impressive, EVERYTIME! I love this recipe nd I love the results! ******************** (I have tweaked ingredints with 2 extra egg yolk and 1 tblsp increase in flour and a couple tblsp heavy whipping cream. The ingrediant additions give deeper brulee/custard texture and stretches the filling for a larger cake or cheese filling for other uses.)

made this cake today but substituted with vegan cream cheese and added more of the cream cheese with a tbsp of lemon juice to make up for the marscapone. The cake was absolutely the best ever...yum yum yum

This cheesecake is amazing!!!. I have now made it twice in the last 3 weeks and will be making it again for my husband to take to the office. it is super easy to make. The only thing to plan for is the time to chill so be sure to make it well in advance. I baked this cake for my son's school auction and there was a bidding war over it! Someone actually paid $180 for it! It IS that good. I used graham crackers instead of the wafer cookies.

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