Burnt (Thai) Tea Cheesecake

Makes one 9” cake

This cake can be made with any loose leaf tea you’d like. I love the warm spiced flavor of Thai

tea, but it would also be bangin’ with chai or earl grey. Pick your favorite type of tea, and run with it. If you do want to seek out Thai tea mix for this recipe, this is the brand I usually use, though I encourage you to look for it at a local market before resorting to Amazon. It’s pretty widely available. A note on the jiggly nature of this cake--the cheesecake will emerge from the oven burnished and yet still very jiggly, which will make you think it is not cooked. Fear not. If your oven is calibrated properly (throw a thermometer in there to check) and you follow the directions, it will be cooked through, but custardy and smooth. The cake falls as it cools and compacts, thus eliminating the jiggle.

Active Time: 30 Mins

Total Time: 1 hr 15 min + Cooling

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Produce

  • ½ cup loose leaf tea (Thai, Earl Grey, Chai, etc)
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • Flaky sea salt, for serving

Pantry

  • unsalted butter, room temperature, for greasing
  • 1½ pounds cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1¾ cups heavy cream

Special Equipment

  • 9” spring form pan
  • Parchment paper

1. Do some prep:

  • Preheat the oven to 450.
  • Generously butter the sides and bottom of a 9” spring form pan. Line the pan with 2 overlapping sheets of parchment paper, being sure the parchment rises up at least 2” above the rim of the pan and fully covers the bottom. You’ll need to crinkle it a bit to get it in there, it will not be flush, but those folds and pleats will give the  outside of the cake that ribbony effect. Set aside.

2. Make the batter:

  • In a small saucepan, bring 1¾ cups heavy cream and ½ cup loose leaf tea to a simmer over medium-low heat (this should take 3-5 minutes).
  • Keep an eye on it and, once it simmers, immediately turn off the heat and let it sit and steep as it cools--you don’t want it to reduce at all. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer), beat 1½ pounds cream cheese and 1¼ cups granulated sugar on medium, until very smooth and the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes.
    Working one at a time, beat in 4 eggs, making sure each has been fully incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and beat once more.
  • Strain the cooled tea-steeped cream through a fine mesh strainer, right into the cream cheese mixture, pressing firmly on the tea leaves with a spatula to drive out as much of the cream as possible. Add 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon salt and beat on medium until the batter is very smooth and homogeneous, 30 seconds.
    Sprinkle ¼ cup of flour over the batter, beat on low just to combine, 30 seconds.

3. Bake:

  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the cheesecake in the oven and immediately drop the temp to 400. Bake until very puffed and jiggly, but not yet totally burnished/brown, 35 minutes. After 35 minutes, crank the oven temperature up to 500, and continue to cook until deeply burnished on the top, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cheesecake cool fully in the pan. The cheesecake will fall drastically as it cools and compact into a thick, custardy cake. Unmold the springform pan and remove the parchment, as best as possible. You may need to cut away the parchment from the cake, leaving a round of it underneath.
  • Cut into wedges and serve at room temperature, with a glass of amaro on the side, and a sprinkle of flaky salt, if you know what’s good for ya.

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