Basque Matcha Cheesecake
With the addition of one single component, Japanese Matcha Green Tea Powder, the now-famous cheesecake has morphed into something completely different. Here, the cake has a gorgeous striking green color, and the flavor has also changed dramatically. The recipe brings together ingredients from Basque and Japanese cultures for a novel fusion dessert.
We’ve made Basque BURNT Cheesecake several times, and it is always a big hit. With no fruit topping, no crust and five simple ingredients – cream cheese, sugar, salt, eggs, and cream – it is astonishing how absolutely fabulous the original cheesecake actually is…it is baked in a very hot oven so the top and bottom caramelize where the insides remain soft and luxurious.
The cheesecake recipe was originally developed by Santiago Rivera, Chef of La Viña in San Sebastian, Spain. The Chef says, “Its popularity amongst our clients have become La Viña Restaurant’s Cheese Cream Cake a great classic of the San Sebastian cuisine.”
Matcha Green Tea has an intense and complex flavor profile with vegetal grassy flavors, a unique sweet nuttiness, and savory umami notes.
The vibrant green hue is due to the high concentration of chlorophyll in the leaves, a result of the bushes being covered up in shade for about 3 weeks before harvesting. The whole leaves are steamed, dried, and then finally stone ground to a fine powder.
Basque Matcha Cheesecake Recipe
3/4 cup (170g) heavy cream
5 t. high quality matcha green tea powder
three 8-ounce packages (681g) cream cheese (We like Philadelphia brand)
1 1/2 cups (297g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
Unwrap cream cheese and let sit on the counter to soften.
Place rack in center of oven. Pre-heat the oven very well to 475°F.
Crumple 2 sheets of 16X12 parchment paper. Un-crumple the parchment and overlap in a 9″ springform pan, completely covering the bottom and sides.
Place cream and matcha in the bowl of a large food processor, blend briefly to disperse the matcha. Add remaining ingredients and blend until completely smooth, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides half-way through.
Pour batter into pan in the center of the parchment. Fold parchment down and away from the batter.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is a deep-dark brown. The center will still be jiggly when taken out of the oven.
Cool on a rack until the cake completely reaches room temperature. This will take about 2 hours or more. Serve cheesecake at room temperature or refrigerate and serve chilled. Edible flowers for garnish are optional.
Basic cheesecake recipe adapted from King Arthur Baking.
Japanese tea and /or Japanese whisky make great after dinner accompaniments.
Toki is a blended whisky from Suntory’s three distilleries in Japan. This is a round and sweet blend with a refreshing citrus character and a spicy finish. Serve the whisky neat; or on the rocks; or over ice with cold soda water and a citrus peel.
Suntory Toki Tasting Notes from the Producer
Nose: Basil, green apple, honey.
Palate: Grapefruit, green grapes, peppermint, thyme.
Finish: Subtly sweet and spicy finish with a hint of vanilla oak, white pepper and ginger.
More Basque Cooking
Basque Burnt Cheesecake here
Basque Pumpkin Cheesecake here
Read about a fabulous Basque dinner here
More Japanese Flavors
Black Cod over Fresh Fettuccine in Dashi Broth here
Kabocha Shooters, Candied Pepitas here
Crab Avocado Rice Bowl here
Panko Crusted Halibut over Baby Bok Choy in a Miso Broth here
Grilled Corn, Soy-Mirin Glaze, Wasabi Goat Butter here