Jan 11, 2022

Tarta de Queso/Basque-Style Cheesecake

This recipe makes one 9-inch diameter cheesecake, using a round cake pan. Honestly, at first I thought it might be too big for just two of us. After all, in my mind I was thinking about having one big slice of cheesecake everyday can be too much and I should get tired of it soon. Wrong, so wrong. Ended up I was literally eating it with morning cup of tea, again in the afternoon, and usually few more bites after dinner. The cake was gone in no time.

Tarta de queso/Basque-style cheesecake - 

Tarta de queso/Basque style cheesecake

Ingredients (for one 9-inch diameter cake)?

  • 680 grams cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit/260 degrees Celsius. Remove the cream cheese from the fridge in order to soften before use.

Use a 9-inch diameter round cake pan if available, otherwise plus or minus one inch should be fine, but the baking time can differ and need some adjustment accordingly.

Use two sheets of parchment paper. Crumble the paper first then unfold. Line the parchment paper in opposite direction to fully cover the inner side of the pan.

Crumbled parchment paper

Take a big mixing bowl, I simply use the stand mixer bowl. Add in softened cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, vanilla extra, granulated sugar, and salt. Also break in the eggs. Beat till smooth, at least 5 minutes.

Tarta de queso/Basque style cheesecake ingredients

Pour the batter to the cake pan.

Tarta de queso/Basque style cheesecake batter

Into preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Mine took about 27 minutes. During the baking time, remember to check on the cake once a while, you might need to move around the cake pan once a while. The goal is to get evenly browned color on top.

So the top part should look brown, or even slightly burnt. The edge is about to set firm, but the center still slightly wiggly.

Once ready, take out the cake pan and set aside till cool down a little.

Tarta de queso/Basque style cheesecake fresh from the oven

When the cake pan is cool enough to handle by hand, carefully take out the entire cake by grabbing the parchment paper on the side, and set the cake with parchment paper on rack to firm up a bit more.

Cooling cake on rack

However, if the cake seems about to fall down or break apart when you try to remove it from the cake pan, might as well let it cool down completely inside the cake pan. Only remove the pan when the cake firms up and able to hold its shape.

Tarta de queso/Basque style cheesecake

Slice and serve.

Tarta de queso/Basque style cheesecake

For a firmer bite, simply bake the cake a bit longer to reach heartier center. Do remember to keep an eye on the heat and avoid severe burn marks the top.

Other dessert recipes:

Jan 5, 2022

Fish Fillet Packed with Kicking Spices - Blackened Fish

It might not look too pretty, since the fish fillet is fully covered in spices that have been seared and darkened. While some people might shy away from such brown looking food, however, I think it's almost 100% proven that based on my past experiences, darker food tends to be much flavorful and definitely delicious (let's not count the burnt ones in). 

One extra bonus, if you have all the spices required, blackened fish is very easy to assemble, and all you have to do is to sear both sides for few minutes. Within 15 minutes, main dish is ready to serve.

Blackened fish -

Blackened fish with cilantro basmati rice

Ingredients (for 2 medium thickness fillets)?

  • 2 pieces/about 255 grams each swordfish (mekajiki) fillets
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Few lemon or lime wedges
  • Some cilantro basmati rice (optional)

Spice mix:

  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


Remove the fish fillets from the fridge and let them rest under room temperature for about 10 minutes. 

Spice mix for blackened fish

Mix together all the ingredients listed under the "spice mix" section to a plate. Dip and coat both sides of the fish fillets with the spice mix. If there're some spice left, try to coat the sides too.

Spice mix for blackened fish

Prepare a pan, cast iron preferably but not necessarily. Add in 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and turn to medium heat. Once butter melts, transfer the fish over and sear till blackened on one side.

Flip and sear the other side till blackened too. Don't worry if the spices turned dark brown color, that's where the flavor is, also thus the name "blackened" fish.

Making blackened fish

Try to avoid very thick fish fillets, mine was about half inch thick. It'll be much easier to sear and fully cooked-through the meat. 

Transfer the fish fillets to serving plates, also put one or two lemon or lime wedges on the side. To serve alongside the blackened fish, I made some steamed white rice and mixed in some chopped cilantro for extra refreshing aroma. 

Blackened fish with cilantro basmati rice

I was amazed how juicy these two fish fillets turned out. It has to do with the type of fish I selected, but I also think that the spice coating helped sealing the fat within. 

Blackened fish with cilantro basmati rice

Not going to lie, for sure it's my top three favorite fish recipes in 2021.


Other fish recipes: