Brie White-Chocolate Cheesecake
When one of my staff bakers couldn’t stop raving about a Brie cheesecake she had tasted on a vacation trip, I became obsessed. After working on the recipe for weeks and bringing in far too many cheesecakes, I finally hit it—this white-chocolate version of a French cheesecake. (She later told me that it far surpassed the cake that she remembered.) It went on to become a favorite at Fran’s. It has a more complex flavor than most cheesecakes because it uses two cheeses and the texture is pure lightness. The trick is to whip each cheese separately, until they are of equal texture, and then blend.
All of your cheesecakes should start with totally softened cream cheese. You can even let the cheese sit overnight. If you must start with cheese right out of the refrigerator, break into pieces and, about 10 to 15 minutes before beginning the recipe, beat with the paddle until soft and smooth.
Sometimes, no matter how diligently you beat, a few hardened bits of cheese will cling to the sides of the bowl. Avoid the temptation to scrape them down into the batter at the last moment. Better to lift them out with your fingers and toss them away, since those stubborn little bits are never going to dissolve in baking.
If your cheesecakes get messy when serving, just remember to drag your warm, dry knife along the bottom of the board when cutting rather than pulling the knife (and all that cheese) back up through the cake.
Total Timeunder 4 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionFormal Dinner Party
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturechocolatey, rich, sweet
Type of Dishcheesecake
- 4 ounces white chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1½ pounds cream cheese, room temperature
- 12 ounces ripe Brie cheese, room temperature (preferably 40% butterfat), weighed after the rind is removed
- ¾ cup sugar
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F.
Lightly butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Line bottom with a lightly buttered parchment paper circle.
In a double boiler melt the white chocolate over low heat. Remove the top of the boiler when the chocolate is nearly melted and stir until completely smooth. Set aside to cool.
In a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium-high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Transfer the cheese from the mixing bowl to another bowl and set aside.
In the same mixing bowl using the paddle attachment, on medium-high speed beat the Brie until completely smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl often with a rubber spatula.
With the machine on medium speed, add the cream cheese to the Brie in 3 parts. Blend the cheeses together until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Reduce speed to low and slowly add the sugar.
At medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
On low speed, pour the melted white chocolate into the middle of the bowl. Mix until well blended, smooth, and creamy.
Pour into the prepared pan. Place pan on a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet and place on the rack in the oven. Pour about ½ inch of simmering water into the baking sheet to form a bain-marie.
Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden brown and puffed. The center should no longer jiggle when the pan is moved.
Let cool in pan for 2 to 4 hours.
To remove the cake, run a thin blade around the edges to loosen. Place a piece of parchment or waxed paper over the top of the cake and invert it onto a plate. Peel the parchment paper round from the bottom and turn the cake onto its serving plate. Remove the top parchment paper. Serve with seasonal berries or raspberry sauce. May be stored in the refrigerator for as long as 1 week.
2004 Fran Bigelow and Helene Siegel