Crème Brûlée Cheesecake

Two of the best desserts known to man, combined in one. It’s a thick, custard-y, vanilla-y cheesecake with a gingersnap crust and a crunchy, not-quite-burnt caramel shell on top, just like Crème Brûlée. This is the best cheesecake I’ve ever made. 

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake from The Food Charlatan

So the other day I saw my 8-year-old nephew Landon, and we exchanged an epic high five. It hurt WAY more than a high five with an 8-year-old should, and I was feeling like a total wuss. But then I looked down and saw that my palm was BLEEDING.

Who high-fives while holding an EXTREMELY SHARP number 2 pencil?? Watch out for those nephews, guys. They have no mercy.

I have been double checking every high five since that day. No sharp pencil? Okay, we’re good, let’s high five.

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake from The Food Charlatan

Are you guys ready? For 2 desserts in one? After I made this cheesecake for the second time, I asked my cousin Lani to come over and try it. She is my official taste-tester because she is not afraid to tell me if a recipe sucks. (True friends are hard to come by. You’re the best Lani. Thanks for eating my food. I know it’s a rough job.)

She took one bite and said, Karen, I think this is the best thing you have ever made.

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake from The Food Charlatan

Yep, count ’em, 10 yolks. It’s what makes this cheesecake so custard-y.

Then we got really excited with the torch and tried to caramelize the outer edges of the cheesecake. It sorta worked.

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake from The Food Charlatan

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake from The Food Charlatan

(If you want to try this, the best method is to wet your hands and moisten the side of the cheesecake, then use your other hand or a spoon to press sugar onto the wet part. Then torch. But probably none of you are as desperate for caramelized sugar as we are.)

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake from The Food Charlatan

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake from The Food Charlatan

After our fire-fun, Lani went home, but I got this text from her several hours later, “All I can think about is that cheesecake! Best dessert I think I have ever had.” I think she liked it.

The idea for this cheesecake has been floating around in my head for a few years now. The first hurdle was getting a kitchen torch, because this recipe is impossible to make without it. Someone gave me a torch for Christmas last year, but I had no fuel (If you don’t have a kitchen torch, here’s a affiliate link to one with great reviews). Finally got some butane at Home Depot a few weeks ago, and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t do this sooner, because oh. my. gosh. This cheesecake. Guys.

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake from The Food Charlatan

The photos don’t do it justice. We need audio. If you could hear the crack of that caramelized topping when you tap your fork into it. Oh man. I’m telling you.

You can tell from the photo above that it’s a little softer than a regular cheesecake. It still holds it’s shape and everything, just as a cheesecake should, but it’s meant to be a little more soft and custard-y, like crème brûlée.

If you are stumped for what to get your special someone for Valentine’s Day this year, I say just make them this. No one is going to argue with this cheesecake. Skip dinner and eat the whole thing. I can’t think of anything more romantic.

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake from The Food Charlatan

If you make this cheesecake, snap a photo and share on Instagram using #TheFoodCharlatan. I would be so happy to see it!!

(If you don’t have a kitchen torch, here’s an affiliate link to one with great reviews on Amazon.)

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Crème Brûlée Cheesecake

Yield: Serves 8-10

Recipe by The Food Charlatan

Ingredients

    For the crust:
  • 35 gingersnaps* (1 and 3/4 cup crumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • For the cheesecake:
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 and 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste**
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 10 large egg yolks
  • 2-3 tablespoons superfine sugar,**** for torching
  • raspberries, to garnish

Instructions

    For the crust:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan. Tear off an 18-inch square of heavy duty aluminum foil. (Reynolds is best) Set the pan in the center of the square and carefully wrap the foil up over the edges of the pan, crimping at the top so that it is secure. Repeat with a second sheet of foil. Be very gentle so it doesn't tear. Repeat again with a 3rd sheet of foil.**
  2. Use a food processor to pulse the gingersnaps into fine crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 5 tablespoons melted butter and combine.
  3. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan. Use the bottom of a glass to press it into an even layer. Don't do a side crust. (I'm usually very pro-side-crust, but it's hard to keep it from burning when you are torching the sugar later.)
  4. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Be careful not to tear the foil.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool while you make the filling.
  6. For the cheesecake:
  7. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
  8. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese for 4 minutes, making sure to scrape the sides.
  9. Add 1 and 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla bean paste, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and beat for another 4 minutes, scraping sides.
  10. Meanwhile, add the cream to a small pot on the stove. Heat over medium low heat until it is warm. You don't want it to bowl.
  11. While that is heating up, crack 10 egg yolks into a mixing bowl. (Save the egg whites for something else!)
  12. Beat the egg yolks for about 2 minutes, until they are pale.
  13. Pour the heated cream through a fine mesh strainer into a large pourable glass measuring cup (or anything that pours).
  14. While the beaters in the egg yolks are on, slowly add the warm cream. If you are not mixing while you do this, the eggs will curdle. Enlist help if you can. Don't try to take a photo during this step. I'm just watching out for you.
  15. Once all of the hot cream has been incorporated with the egg yolks, it's time to slowly pour that into the cream cheese mixture. I find this is easiest to do from a pourable measuring cup, but if you are dexterous enough to do it from the mixing bowl then go for it.
  16. Beat the cream cheese and slowly pour in the egg-cream mixture. Make sure you scrape the sides and get out all the lumps. The batter will be pretty thin.
  17. Transfer the foil-wrapped crust into a large high-sided skillet, or a roasting pan.
  18. Pour the batter into the gingersnap crust, forming an even layer on top.
  19. Fill the skillet or roasting pan with HOT water from the tap. You want the water to go at least halfway up the pan of the cheesecake.
  20. Carefully transfer the water bath to the oven.
  21. Bake at 325 for about 1 hour and 35 minutes. You will know it is done when it is mostly set in the center and doesn't jiggle too much when you shake it. (some movement is ok--it will continue to set as it cools. It just shouldn't be liquidy.) If the cheesecake starts to brown, turn off the oven.
  22. At this point you can either crack the door of the oven and let the cheesecake come to room temperature inside the oven. I removed the cheesecake but left it in the water bath for a couple hours so that there wasn't a drastic change in temperature.
  23. When the cheesecake is mostly cool, remove from the water bath, and remove the foil. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.
  24. When you are ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap and carefully loosen the sides of the pan. I didn't use a knife, just release the spring very slowly.
  25. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons superfine sugar all over the top of the cheesecake. (Or just the portion you plan to eat. Once the crunchy topping is refrigerated, it doesn't stay hard)
  26. Use the torch to caramelize the sugar. See photos. This can take several minuets if you are doing the whole cheesecake. Keep the torch moving at all times. The sugar is caramelized when it just starts to bubble and smoke.
  27. Let sit for a minute for the sugar to harden.
  28. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

Notes

*You don't have to use gingersnaps! You can use 1 and 3/4 cup graham crackers crumbs or Nilla Wafer crumbs.

**You can also use 1 vanilla bean. Scrape the pod and add it to the cream cheese mixture. Throw the remaining bean in with the cream when you cook it, so that you soak up all the flavor.

***The foil is to keep your cheesecake dry since it will be baked in a water bath. I know 3 layers may seem excessive, but talk to me when you spend half a day making your precious cheesecake and you end up with a soggy crust. Trust me, it's worth the cost of the foil!

****You don't have to buy special sugar, you can just throw some regular sugar into the blender or food processor for 30 seconds or so. Smaller granules help the sugar melt faster when you are torching it. Regular sugar will still work fine though. I've tried both.

http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2016/02/02/creme-brulee-cheesecake-recipe/

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake from The Food Charlatan

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake from The Food Charlatan

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake from The Food Charlatan

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake from The Food Charlatan

Here are some of my other favorite cheesecakes!

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar: <<this is great for parties! Self-serve. Love this stuff.

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar from TheFoodCharlatan.com

Oreo Cheesecake Bars:

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

No Bake Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with Caramelized Peaches: this one’s for you guys in Australia. I can only dream of fresh peaches right now.

No Bake Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with Caramelized Peaches

Berry Cheesecake Baklava:

Berry Cheesecake Baklava from The Food Charlatan

More recipes from bloggers I love!

Crème Brûlée from The Pioneer Woman << the classic.
Perfect Cheesecake from Simply Recipes << this recipe is originally from Dorie Greenspan
(I sort of combined the two recipes above to create my Crème Brûlée Cheesecake)
Crème Brûlée Cheesecake Bars from Cooking Classy << I want to try them as bars next!

Comments

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Comments

  1. Stefanie says

    YUM! I need this cheesecake in my life! I do not have a torch, and am not really in the mood to go buy yet another kitchen appliance, so is there anyway to caramelize the top without it (sorry if that is a stupid question)? Will I just have to make it without the topping (tear)?

    • says

      Stefanie I am so sad to break this news to you, but YES, you really do need a torch for this cheesecake. But they are only like $20 or $30 bucks!! Save those pennies!! It’s worth it!! The only other option is to broil, and I just think it would end up getting the cheesecake too hot and ruining it. :(

  2. Myra Panther says

    I’m dying to make this but I have a question, does it matter what type of torch you use? Can it be a small one or does it have to be the the size you were using? Thanks for sharing

    • says

      Hey Myra! I think any size will do! I mean probably not like a full on blow torch… but any size kitchen torch should do. Mine isn’t very big, maybe 8 inches long or so? Hope you enjoy the cheesecake!

  3. Trisha says

    Yes, it probably is the best cheesecake I’ve ever made, and I have made quite a few. I served this today to my family and they all loved it, including my husband who is not much of a cheesecake eater. 3 extra slices went home with my son-in-law. And if I wasn’t so stuffed I would be eating another piece. I followed your recipe exactly and it came out perfect. It’s definitely worth the extra effort and I can never pass up a chance to use my kitchen torch. Thank you so much for sharing this. I will be posting a picture on Instagram.

    • says

      That is awesome to hear Trisha!! That is exactly how I always feel after eating this cheesecake: if I weren’t so stuffed I would be eating more. haha! Thank you for the positive review! I am off to check Instagram!

  4. Georgia says

    I question 10 egg yolks? Most cheesecake recipes call for up to 4 eggs. Should the cream be increased to accomodate 10 yolks? I want to make this but am reluctant to spend that many eggs on a recipe!

  5. Mun Kit says

    This cake looks so delicious! Love to try to make one but do you have the ingredients in grams instead? Thanks for sharing😊

    • says

      Hey Min Kit! I’m so glad you are thinking of trying it out! I don’t cook in grams and I would just be googling a cups to grams calculator. So I recommend trying that! There are lots of them out there, it shouldn’t be too hard :)

  6. Jussie says

    I’m so happy that I found this recipe. My hubby and I tried a banana creme brulee cheesecake last night and it was wonderful! I haven’t been able to find a recipe for that but I think yours is the closest to it. Do you think I could use your recipe as is and add maybe 1 or 2 mashed ripe bananas?

    • says

      Oh my goodness BANANA!!! That sounds so good!! Bananas have such strong flavor you probably wouldn’t need more than 2. Use VERY ripe ones. I’m not sure how much it will mess with the recipe. If you try it out definitely let me know how it goes!!!

      • Jussie says

        Thanks for your quick response! I think I’m going to try your recipe as is first because it looks so delicious! I hope mine turns out as beautiful as yours!

  7. Georgia says

    I made 3 (yes, Three!) yesterday….two for a family birthday party today and one for a luncheon in two days, as well as two minis for my husband and me to enjoy last evening. Amazing! Very rich!

    This recipe was a special request by our son for his birthday dessert after he saw it posted on Facebook. I had hesitations because of the number of egg yolks, but it came out beautifully. I have only 2 hints: 1) I used hot water in the Bain Marie (there was no specification in the instructions) as that is what my training has taught me to do, which also shortened the baking time about about 20-25 minutes (on a convection oven); and, 2) using an instant read thermometer, I assured that the centers were sufficient cooked when they tested at 150 degrees (something I read years ago in Cooks Illustrated).

    These beauties are presently “chilling out” in the fridge, awaiting their crowning glory of the burnished sugar just before serving!

    • says

      Wow, 3!! I’m so glad you tried it out Georgia! Thank you for the tips, I DID use hot water in my bath and I forgot to put that on the recipe instructions. Thank you for catching that! I will go change it now. I’ve never tried using a thermometer to know if a cheesecake is done, that is brilliant! Great tips!

  8. says

    OMG. I am blown away by this recipe. It made my eyes roll back in my head. The only thing I did differently was the crust, and I didn’t have a torch so I didn’t brule it. But the flavor and even the moist texture are to die for. I topped mine with a bit of the crumb mixture from the crust as well as a small handful of raw sugar. It is the best cheesecake I’ve ever made…heck, ever had. It’s the best, period! Thanks for sharing!

    I followed the recipe to a T, including the 10 egg yolks. I can’t stop raving about this cheesecake!

    • says

      I’m glad you liked the cheesecake so much Angel! But I’m really sad you missed out on the brulee part. You HAVE to get yourself a kitchen torch!! It’s worth it! :) Thanks for the review I’m happy you loved it!

  9. Lillian says

    Made this today, it was absolutley beautiful, from top to bottom, the crackly sweet top, creamy cheesecake and ginger crumb, it was perfect! Best cheesecake I’ve ever eaten. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

    • says

      Hey Suzy! That is awesome! You’ve inspired me. I think we are making this again today! nothing like some post-thanksgiving cheesecake to round out our over indulgence right? :) Thanks for the review!

  10. says

    Have you tried this recipe in cupcake form? I specialize in mini desserts and would love to try this in mini cupcake pans, I thought it would work until I read about the foil, any suggestions?

  11. says

    Hi Karen. I am so excited about this dessert. My daughter and I made it this evening for a dessert party we are hosting this weekend. Thanks for sharing!!!!

  12. Anne says

    I would like to make this in an 11 in springform as I have a larger group of guests. Do you have suggestions about recipe adjustments for that ? Thanks!!

  13. says

    Karen here! I got this helpful email from Jay, who said I could publish here:

    “Hi Karen,

    A neighbor sent me your creme brulee cheesecake recipe and I had to try it. It came out wonderfully. Other recipes I’d found were pretty much just cheesecake recipes but this was a custard.

    I have a couple of comments that you might consider.

    I added vanilla paste to the cream and well as directly to the batter to emphasize the vanilla.

    I assembled on the oven rack so I wasn’t lifting the whole weight. I placed the roasting pan on the rack, set the springform with the batter in the pan, then added the hot water into the pan right on the rack. I reversed the procedure after cooking so once again I wasn’t lifting the whole think out of the oven.

    I had gingersnap lumps so I sifted them out giving me nice even granules to work with.

    I make creme brulee fairly frequently, and to ensure an even coating of sugar on top, I pour an excessive amount of sugar into each dish, tilt and rotate until I get an even coating then pour off the excess. I applied that basic idea to this. I left the springform on, using just granulated sugar, poured in a little extra (about 1/4 cup), tilted and swirled it around until I had an even coating (the springform gave me a handle). Then removed the springform before torching the sugar.

    So those were my comments, thanks again for the recipe.

    Jay

  14. Adreane says

    I made this for Christmas Eve this year and it is the BEST! I made two tonight for our friends Valentine’s party! The only problem I had was it was hard to cut. Any suggestions on how you cut yours to get nice slices? Mine were ugly but delicious.

    • says

      Yay! I’m so glad you love it enough to make it twice Adreane! I made this twice over the holidays this year. I had all 20 egg whites in a tupperware in my fridge, and kept thinking I was going to use them and I never did. Aaaaahhh! Don’t be like me!

      Anyway. Slicing. The best way to get clean lines is to get a super sharp knife, heat it up in a glass of hot water, take it out and dry it on a tea towel, then make a slice. Then clean off the knife, heat it again for a second, wipe, slice, repeat. You want a hot dry knife to get clean lines.

      This recipe does not set up as much as normal cheesecake, plus you have the crackly top that is tough to get a straight line on, so it is a tricky one to make look perfect. But it’s worth it right??

  15. Kristin says

    I’m SO excited with how well this turned out, that I had to let you know right away! So, I must confess, I’ve only tried a couple recipes from your blog, and it takes a while for me to trust people when it comes to food. I’ve made MANY cheesecakes in my life, and I loved the idea of a creme brulee cheesecake, but I was nervous this might not be a good recipe. Anyway, this cheesecake is de-LISH! My cheesecake was done by 75 minutes. I took it out of the oven, and allowed it to cool sitting in the water bath for a while. I was most nervous about bruleeing the cheesecake and then slicing it, OR slicing and then bruleeing. What would work best? I decided to slice the cheesecake, and brulee individual slices, since I didn’t want that sugar layer to crack. It worked really well to brulee individual pieces. I sprinkled about 1/2 tsp of superfine sugar over each slice. To garnish, I drizzled salted caramel sauce on the plate, topped it with a slice of cheesecake, then garnished with a small dollop of whipped cream, a white chocolate heart (sprinkled with valentine nonpareils), and a single raspberry. I actually really liked the salted caramel paired with the cheesecake. I will also say that it’s true that the bruleed layer does not stay hard for long. I did an experimental piece early in the day, and by dinner time, it had softened. Oh, and for the crust, I just used graham cracker crumbs. This is absolutely delicious, and it is getting added to my cheesecake repertoire! Thank you so much for another delicious recipe! I’ll have to check more of your recipes out.

  16. Erin says

    Absolutely delicious! I am completely in love with the texture of this cheesecake, not to mention the delicate sweetness of the vanilla beans throughout! Pure decadence:) Definitely saving this recipe and excited to browse the rest of your recipes! Thanks again!

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