I was born in Manila, and as a chef, I wish I could say that I cook amazing Filipino food, but I’ve mostly cooked Western food my entire life. One thing I could say is, I have tried to incorporate Filipino flavours especially in baking. Although sometimes, that feels a little bit like taking the easy way out. I am proud of my heritage, and maybe someday I would go back and learn more about native ingredients and incorporate them in my cooking as well.
Here, I’m sharing with you my ube cheesecake recipe La Viña style. What is it? You know how a crustless, burnt cheesecake have been trending for a few years? One that is more commonly know as Basque Cheesecake? Well, this is the ube version, with homemade ube jam as well. I call it La Viña cheesecake because that’s the name of the restaurant in San Sebastian where people flock to have a taste of the original version. It is a crustless cheesecake that is caramelised outside and soft in the middle.
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If you want the original recipe as per the video above, I published my easy to follow recipe here. Just remember whichever version you are making, start with room temperature ingredients so the batter incorporates quickly and you will not get a lumps. The idea is to get a caramelised outside that serves as your crust, so this entails baking at a very high temperature. I preheat my oven to 220C and line a 23cm or 9in springform with baking paper and ensure there is an overhang. The overhang protects the cheesecake from getting too burnt too fast, and it also supports the cheesecake when it puffs up, which prevents overflowing.
Now with the ube version, it is also straightforward to make with the addition of making your own ube jam. Why would you want to make an ube version? Because my recipe of this is absolutely delicious and the natural purple colour of ube gives this (and basically most ube desserts) a really pretty purple hue. Ube jam is basically cooked ube, pureed and mixed with milk and sugar and cooked until its thick like peanut butter or Nutella. Let your ube jam cool to room temperature before using it for the cheesecake. I use all the ube jam yield in this recipe, but feel free to double the batch because it is really nice on warm bread rolls with a touch of butter.
To make the cheesecake, combine the ube jam, cream cheese, eggs, cream and sugar in a large bowl. Mix until smooth then sift over flour and fold in until incorporated. Pour the batter in your lined springform and bake for 1 hour. The cheesecake will still be jiggly in the centre. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for at least 2 hours. Serve at room temperature to retain that soft, custardy texture. If you have leftovers, you can eat it as is or reheat in the microwave for 10sec per slice to get that softness back.
The detailed recipe is below for you to try. I would love to see your finished products, so tag me on your social media posts @mrs.fancypants.recipes or use #mrsfancypantsrecipes. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. ???? Happy baking!
Ube Cheesecake à la La Viña
Makes 1 x 23cm springform
My ube variation of the famed Basque burnt cheesecake!
For the ube jam (halaya)
- For the cheesecake
First make the ube jam:
- Place ube and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, lower heat to a simmer, and cover. Simmer until ube most of the water has evaporated.
- Remove from the pan and transfer to a large bowl. Use a masher to finely mash the ube, or if using grated ube, this step shouldn't be necessary. Push through a fine sieve for a really smooth texture, optional.
- Mix together mashed ube, milk, and sugar then transfer to a frying pan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning for 30 minutes uncovered. Add butter cubes and continue cooking until the ube has a deep purple colour and very thick consistency similar to peanut butter spread. Cool down to room temperature. Make the cheesecake
- Start with room temperature ingredients. Preheat oven to 220C. Line a 9” springform with baking paper, make sure you have an overhang of at least 5cm.
- Mix cream cheese, ube, sugar and cream. Add eggs one by one, fully incorporating after each addition. Sift flour into the batter and mix just until the flour is incorporated. Do not over mix.
- Pour into the pan and bake for 60 minutes. The top should be caramelised but cheesecake should be jiggly.
- Take out of the oven and rest for at least 2 hours at room temperature. Serve warm, consume immediately. (see notes if making ahead)
- Note on UBE: This can be purchased from Asian/Filipino stores. If fresh ube is unavailable, you can use grated ube.
- Note on milk: I use jersey cow milk because there's no carabao milk available in Australia. But you can use normal full cream milk from the supermarket. Light or skim milk doesn't give the same richness to the ube jam.
- For leftovers: If you have leftovers, you can eat it as is or reheat in the microwave for 10sec per slice to get that softness back.
- Update on sweetness: To make the cheesecake less sweet, you can reduce the sugar in the ube jam by 50g.