Of all the cheesecake recipes I have seen, this is by far the most intriguing! Most recipes play around with fruits, or nuts, or chocolate, even nutella and the occasional mascarpone, which serves more to lighten the cake than adding any flavour. But this, adding Brie to a dessert, is a very bold move indeed. Bold, and if it doesn’t work, a very expensive experiment, considering how expensive Brie is in Singapore. Which is the main reason I have been holding off giving this a try. I just did not want to end up wasting expensive cheese on a potentially fail dessert.
It so happened, during my recent trip to Adelaide, upon the recommendation of my cousins, I came across this wonderful block of Brie at this cheery cheese cellar, Udder Delights. One taste of this rich and creamy Brie and I spent the whole afternoon thinking about it. I was not sure how I can finish off half a wheel of Brie in 3 weeks, but, in the end, I caved, went back to the shop and bought it. Thankfully, it survived the travel back to Singapore and was sitting snugly in my fridge. Even at the bargain I got it for, I had second thoughts about using it in a “potentially fail” dessert. But, seeing I did not get the chance to eat any of it in a whole week, I figure, what the heck, how bad can a cheesecake be. And as it turned out, not bad. Not bad at all. In fact, it was so good, I daresay, it is probably my favourite cheesecake, to date! The slight savoury Brie, accented by the pinch of salt balance the usual cream cheese so wonderfully, leaving a lingering aftertaste that begs you to wonder, “whatever is that”. That pleasant surprise upon the first taste, what wouldn’t I give to experience it over and over again.
Makes a 6-inch round cake
75g Digestive biscuit crumbs
32g unsalted butter, melted
a generous pinch of salt
56g white chocolate couverture, chopped
340g cream cheese, at room temperature
170g Brie cheese, weighed after the rind is removed
75g granulated sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
a generous pinch of salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1) Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 180C.
2) Wrap a 6-inch cake tin with removable bottom into a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil. Lightly butter the pan inside. Line the bottom of the pan with a parchment paper circle, and lightly butter the circle.
3) For the crust, add salt and melted butter to the biscuit crumbs in a food processor and process until well mixed. Pour biscuit mixture into the cake tin and flatten it so you have an even layer at the bottom of the pan.
4) Baked in pre-heated oven for 10 to 12 minutes until crust is lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside,
5) Melt the white chocolate on a bain-marie. Stir until just evenly smooth then allow to cool.
6) In a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Transfer the cheese from the mixing bowl to another bowl and set aside.
7) In the same mixing bowl using the same paddle attachment (no washing necessary), on medium-high speed beat the Brie until completely smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl often with a rubber spatula. It’s crucial to beat the cheeses separately until smooth, and only then combine them in one bowl.
8) With the machine on medium speed, add the cream cheese to the Brie in 3 parts. Blend the cheeses together until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl.
9) Reduce speed to low and slowly add the sugar. Add the salt and vanilla extract, beat until combined.
10) At medium-low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
11) At low speed, pour the melted chocolate into the middle of the bowl. Mix until well blended, smooth, and creamy. The batter will be quite runny.
12) Pour into the prepared pan. Place the springform in a large roasting pan and pour hot water into the roasting pan so that it comes about halfway up the springform pan. Transfer carefully to the oven and bake for about 1 hour. Turn off the oven. Let the cake stand in the oven for another hour. By that time the cake should look set. Transfer the springform pan onto the rack and cool. Cover; chill the cake overnight.
13) Run a thin knife around the edge of the cake to loosen and remove the cake from the pan. Transfer the cake to a serving platter. Bring to room temperature before serving.
The original recipe did not include a crust layer (in fact, strongly advised against having one), but, I really do enjoy the Digestive biscuit crust and I think it helps when you are serving the cake, so I included it in my attempt. I also topped the cake with the hazelnut brittles I made earlier. Now that I know how delicious this cheesecake is, I suspect, even with the stupendous price of Brie in Singapore, I will eventually find myself trudging down the cheese aisle in the supermarket, looking for the appropriate Brie, to make this again. And as with all the other cheesecakes I have made before, this one freezes just as well. So you can stash them in the freezer to make sure you are well stocked with desserts-on-demand. Enjoy!