Norwegian brunost. It looks like fudge and it slightly tastes like fudge but with a sweet/salty taste.
Brunost is made from goat’s milk whey and boiled until it caramelizes and becomes a sticky sludge that is then cooled down. It’s a very basic description of the method so in reality it is not really a cheese, but rather a product made from the by-products in the cheese making process.
Norwegians have this for breakfast, lunch and tea. On a slice toast, a waffle, a sauce and even ice cream. It is really not that weird when you think about it? Who doesn’t love a salted caramel ice cream? Bingo! Once you get your head around the concept, the possibilities are endless!
So, I had quite a bit of brunost left from my birthday party and I am not the kind of person who likes to see food go to waste. A brunost cheesecake is not a new invention; it has been tried and tested many times. This one however is my own invention because silly me only had 1 packet of cream cheese and a lot of brunost in the fridge.
This recipe is light and airy. I have to warn you though; there is no getting around that it is very rich and decadent! Even though I have reduced the sugar and the amount of cream cheese, the brunost is right up there with flavor. You do not want a hint of brunost, you want to be slapped in the face with the taste of brunost!
ps : Now I am gifting the cake to my neighbours as a weekend treat. It is only me, so having this all to myself over weekend is slightly overindulgent!
- • For the crust
- 165g digestive biscuits
- 90g butter, melted over low heat
- ½ tsp ginger powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
- • For the filling
- 400g full-fat cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
- 150g grated brunost plus extra for the topping (I used HeidalsOst but use your favourite kind)
- ½ cup cream
- ½ cup sugar (It´s not a problem to use light brown sugar)
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup creme fraiche
- 4 large eggs
- Butter to prepare the baking tin
- For the crust, preheat you oven to 180°C. Prepare a 20 or 23cm springform tin by placing a square piece of parchment paper on the bottom tray and close the outer ring over it. (You will have the 4 corners sticking out at the bottom)
- Place the biscuits in a large ziplock bag, grab the roller and bash away until you have a fine consistency. (You can also use your food processor but this is so quick and easy and a lot less washing up afterwards!)
- Place the crumbs in a bowl with the ginger and cinnamon, mix and then pour over your melted butter and stir until well combined.
- Press the crumbs into an even layer on the the bottom of the prepared tin.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove the tin from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack.
- Increase your oven temperature to 220°C/200°C for fan.
- Add the grated brunost and cream to a small saucepan and on medium heat start melting the cheese, whisking every now and then to get a lump free, smooth consistency. (Be careful here, the cheese can burn very quickly at the bottom of your pan)
- Set aside to cool slightly whilst you get on with the rest of the filling.
- Beat 200g cream cheese at medium-low speed until creamy.
- Gradually add the sugar and 3 Tbsp plain flour.
- Next, add 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Add the melted brunost, blend and start adding 4 large eggs, one at a time.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add 1 cup of creme fraiche. Blend in but do not over-beat.
- The batter should be smooth, light and somewhat airy.
- Now, go back to your crust which would have cooled down by now and smear the sides of the tin with butter.
- Pour the batter on top of the crust and bake at 220°C/200°C for fan for 10 minutes.
- Decrease the oven temperature to 110°C/100°C for fan for a further 45 minutes.
- The filling should be slightly wobbly in the centre still.
- Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 2 hours to cool. If you want a creamy centre, leave the oven door slightly open, if you want a drier texture, leave the door closed. (I have opted for a drier filling)
- Once cooled, cover loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Run a knife around the sides of the tin to loosen any stuck edges. Unlock the side, slide the cheesecake off the bottom of the tin onto a plate, then slide the parchment paper out from underneath.
- Decorating the cheesecake is really up to you. Leave as is, dust with icing sugar or what I have done was a dusting of 100% cocoa powder and freshly grated brunost.