Lightly grease or spray with baking spray the bottom and sides of mini springform pans (or regular cake pans, if using).
Line each pan with a 10-inch square piece of parchment, smoothing the paper onto the bottom and up the sides, ensuring that it extends past the rim of the pan. Fold and crease the parchment paper to keep the sides as flat as possible. If there are empty spots, lightly grease the 1st parchment and line with another piece of parchment, filling in those “gaps”.
Move the oven rack to the upper third of the oven, making sure that there is enough room to fit the springform pans and that the parchment extending from the pans does not touch the heating elements. Preheat oven to 525°F (274°C). (See Chef’s Tips about preheating the oven).
Place the cubed cream cheese into a large bowl. Using a large spatula or metal spoon, cream the cream cheese by pressing and spreading the cheese along the bottom and sides of the bowl until smooth.
Sprinkle the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar and salt over the cream cheese and fold in until fully incorporated. Let sit for at least 5 minutes at room temperature. This helps the brown sugar draw moisture from the cheese and “soften,” making it dissolve more easily. After sitting, repeat the above process, rubbing the mixture against the bowl’s bottom and sides. Scrape down the sides to ensure everything is fully creamed, and no lumps remain.
In a small bowl, whisk together well the egg, yolk, and vanilla extract. Add to the cream cheese mixture in 3 parts. Gently fold into the cream cheese until fully incorporated before adding more. Repeat process until all the egg mixture is combined. Ensure mixture is completely smooth.
Gradually pour in the heavy cream while slowly stirring until fully mixed. Cover and place into the fridge to chill; at least 30 minutes.
Pour and divide batter into the prepared pans filling them ¾ full (if using a scale, approximately 240 grams per pan). Tap the pans several times on a flat work surface to eliminate any air bubbles.
Place pans onto a baking sheet and into the preheated oven, closing the door immediately to prevent the heat from escaping. Bake for 5 minutes at 525°F (274°C). After 5 minutes, reduce the temperature to 500°F (260°C). Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. At the 10 minute mark, check through the oven door window to see if the top is puffing up. Keep the door closed and watch closely. At 12 minutes, quickly open the oven door and gently nudge the baking sheet. If the top is still pale and wet, close the door and leave in for another 2 to 3 more minutes. The top should be set and golden brown (possibly burnt in places), edges should begin to pull away from the sides, but the cake should be quite wobbly and undulate when shaken; do not overbake (even if the tops are just golden brown).
Remove from oven and remove pans from the baking sheet and onto a wire cooling rack. Cool to room temperature. For a softer, custard-like centre, serve at room temperature. For a creamy but set texture, place cooled cheesecakes into the fridge, uncovered; 4 hours or overnight. If not serving immediately, after 4 hours in the fridge, cover chilled cheesecakes.
To serve, release the sides of the springform pans (if using cake pans, you may need to run a small offset spatula around the edge of the pan and the parchment. Using the parchment overhangs, carefully pull the parchment straight up to remove cakes). With the help of the parchment, slide cakes onto a cutting board, or plate if serving whole. Gently peel back the parchment from the sides of the cakes. If not serving whole, with a sharp chef’s knife dipped in hot water and dried on a clean kitchen towel, slice into halves or quarters. Dip and dry off the knife after every cut. Ideally, let cakes stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Store covered or in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.
*Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature or even slightly warmer before proceeding with the recipe. Take ingredients out of the fridge about an hour before making the cakes. Ingredients will blend better, and the results will be smoother.
*Trim or fold down the parchment paper if the parchment paper touches the elements on the top of the oven.
*Preheat the oven for at least 30 minutes before starting the recipe for the cheesecakes. This ensures that the oven is fully heated and at the correct temperature. Use an oven thermometer and adjust temperature accordingly.
*Mixing the ingredients by hand prevents the batter from being overmixed, which can result in the fats separating when baked. If desired, use a small food processor with the blade attachment and pulse the ingredients together.
*If any air bubbles refuse to pop, use a skewer to pop any bubbles that rise to the surface and/or slowly run the skewer through the batter, being careful not to tear the parchment bottom.
*Redpath® Golden Yellow Sugar can be used in place of the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, though the resulting cheesecake will have a more subtle caramel undertone and lighter colour.
*Basque cheesecake is traditionally served with a glass of Pedro Ximénez sherry. Alternatively, a sweet Marsala wine or Port wine will work too. Strong black coffee or tea would also pair nicely with this cheesecake.