This Crème Brûlée Cheesecake is these cheesecake of your dreams. The creamy, luscious and delicately flavored crème patisserie cheesecake filling contrasts beautifully with the thin, crispy caramelized sugar topping, making this cheesecake an incredible combination of flavors and textures. And more importantly, this is a no-fuss, simple recipe that anyone can conquer!
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WHAT IS CREME BRULEE?
Crème Brûlée is a popular French dessert, and translates to "burnt cream". At the core, it is a velvety smooth custard made from egg yolks, cream, and sugar, subtly infused with vanilla. What makes it different is its signature crispy caramelized sugar topping, achieved by torching or broiling a thin layer of sugar until it forms a delicate crust.
WHY YOU SHOULD TRY THIS RECIPE
If the name alone isn't enough to convince you, here are a few reasons you NEED to try this recipe:
- I make the best cheesecakes. Seriously! I don't gloat easily, but I do gloat about my cheesecakes. My New York Cheesecake recipe has been tried and loved by hundreds, if not thousands, of people, with rave reviews. And this cheesecake is in the same league
- Crème Brûlée and Cheesecake are a match made in heaven. I am usually a purist when it comes to cheesecake, and like it plain. But this Crème Brûlée version blew me away. The crispy caramel coating works beautifully with the silky cheesecake, and adds an unmatched depth of flavor
- This is a simple, no fuss recipe. Just like my Vanilla Crème Brûlée, this recipe doesn't have any fluff or frills, and can be made easily by anyone
Here is a quick video tutorial for this Crème Brûlée Cheesecake:
PROCESS WITH PHOTOS
You can find the detailed recipe in the recipe card at the end of this post, but let's quickly go over the process with photos which will help you visualize each step.
First, make a simple Crème Patisserie base by whisking eggs, sugar and vanilla, and stirring in hot cream:
While that cools, make the crust. Crumb the Nilla wafers with butter, and press down tightly in the cheesecake pan. Bake for a few minutes:
Now, it's time to make the cheesecake filling. Whip the cream cheese with sugar and salt until creamy:
Then slowly stir in the cooled down Crème Patisserie base, along with the cornstarch and lemon juice:
Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan with the baked crust, and bake in a water bath:
Cool the cheesecake overnight, then sprinkle over sugar in thin layers and brulee using a blow torch:
And with that, you're ready to slice up and enjoy!!
TIPS TO MAKE THE BEST CHEESECAKE
I strongly recommend reading my blog post on the BEST Cheesecake Recipe, as I've shared detailed tips on how to perfect cheesecake in that. Here is a summary:
- Use high quality, full-fat ingredients - especially heavy cream and cream cheese
- Bring all ingredients to room temperature. This will allow mixing everything without lumps
- Scrape the cheesecake bowl while mixing to ensure there aren't any cream cheese lumps in it. You can also strain the batter!
- Pack the crust tightly - this will ensure it remains crispy
- Wrap 2-3 large sheets of foil tightly outside the springform pan to ensure water does not leak in from the water bath (I use this pan)
- Keep the cheesecake slightly underdone! I find that most cheesecakes are overbaked, making their texture more eggy than creamy. The secret to an ultra creamy cheesecake is to take it out of the oven when it's still quite jiggly (but set around the edges)
- Cool down thoroughly. Don't rush the cooling process, as the cheesecake will not set fully otherwise
- Blowtorch the sugar in thin layers. This is quicker than trying to do it all at once, and will also give you a uniform color
WHAT TO DO IF YOU DON'T HAVE A BLOWTORCH
I highly recommend getting an inexpensive blowtorch for best results - this is the one I use. However, if you can't get your hands on one, don't worry; there are a few alternatives:
- Use the broiler. Sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on the cheesecake, and place in the top rack of your oven with the broiler on (using a heat-safe pan). You will need to watch closely, and potentially rotate the cheesecake slowly so the sugar gets torched evenly. However, with this method you do risk the cheesecake getting warm
- Use a hot spoon. For this method, sprinkle the sugar on the cheesecake in a thin layer. Then heat the back of a spoon on your stove, directly on the flame, and gently press onto the sugar. The heat from the spoon will melt and caramelize the sugar, but this will take a while and you will have to go back and forth
- Make a caramel instead. This is a bit more involved, but you can also make a wet caramel (see the one I made in my Creme Brulee donuts) and carefully pour onto the cheesecake while it is still inside the pan. Spread into a thin layer by tilting the pan in different directions. This method works best when the cheesecake is very cold but the caramel is hot, and the thinner the caramel layer, the better!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You can use any plain vanilla biscuits, or Graham Crackers.
Cheesecakes crack due to sudden temperature changes. To prevent this, make sure you don't open your oven door until 70 minutes, and let the cheesecake cool first at room temperature before transferring to the fridge.
The cheesecake will have a solid layer on top (i.e., not wet), and when you shake the pan lightly, it will jiggle in the middle but feel firm towards the edges. That's when you know it's done.
Yes, you can prepare the cheesecake 1-2 days in advance and keep covered in the fridge. However, do not add the caramelized sugar layer until you are ready to serve, as it loses its crispiness and becomes chewy over time.
Keep the cheesecake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. If you don't intent to serve the cheesecake in one go, it is best to brulee one slice at a time as the coating loses its crispiness in a few hours.
Read the blog post above for 3 different options if you don't have a blowtorch.