Preschool is back in session! And to kick off the school year, our preschool is hosting an Upscale Bake Sale this weekend. How fun! Being “upscale,” I had to pause for a minute. What to make?! We decided to turn to a recent family favorite that gives us all the fall feels for our bake sale submission: Crème Brûlée Cheesecake!
One of my favorite things about this upscale treat: it’s really not hard to make, but looks amazing. I made this for the first time this summer for a Father’s Day dinner, combining two of my husband’s favorite desserts. It was also my first EVER cheese cake. That’s right. I am 32 years old and my maid of honor put a springform pan on my wedding registry nine years ago, and I finally used it. A couple months ago. Now I want to make ALL the cheesecakes! Another great thing about this recipe is how much my oldest can help me make it. We’re making it for the third time and she’s got it down. They keep getting better and better. I really hope these recipes and memories stick with her, as does her love for baking.
So here it goes!
Aside from the ingredients listed, you will need a springform pan, roasting pan (or other deep pan), aluminum foil, and a torch for the crunchy sugar topping.
Addie had two favorite steps, both at the beginning. She had a blast crushing all of the graham crackers for the crust and opening the cream cheese packets. After the cake went in the oven I let her lick the cream cheese wrappers, and honestly THAT was probably her favorite part of the whole experience. Maybe even more so than eating the cheesecake! You COULD opt for boxed graham cracker crumbs for the crust, but letting your kids take over this task is so much fun AND the inconsistency of texture gives the crust a great homemade touch.
To save yourself a little time, make the crust first and then start a pot of boiling water before starting on the filling. I have an electric kettle which heats up fast and holds 1 liter of water and it’s still not QUITE enough to surround my cake pan in my roasting pan, so I opted for a big pot of boiling water this time. There’s a reason waiting for water to boil is in so many unpleasant expressions. It definitely takes a good bit of time. Once you make your filling and pour over that sweet, sweet crust…stick it in the oven and sit back and relax. For an hour and a half your home will smell like warm vanilla, and even on an August day that will get you in the mood for all the fall things soon to come.
One of the reasons I loved this recipe when I came across it was the cool/chill time. For a cheesecake, it’s a pretty quick bake! Cool for 1 hour at room temp before sticking in the fridge. It will still feel warm, and you can cool for longer, but it really isn’t necessary. After a minimum of 5 hours (or overnight if you can wait that long), remove cake from the fridge and add your topping.
When it’s time to add the classic crème brûlée crust, let your kids watch instead of assist. Sprinkle sugar (course decorating sugar or regular table sugar) evenly on top and start torching. It’s pretty fun. Make sure to keep the torch moving so you don’t scorch your cheese cake! Then dive right in, the mix of a cold cake and warm topping just adds to the autumn perfection. (Tip: Goes great with coffee!)
Try it? Love it? Do it differently? Let us know! We hope to continue to share some of the favorite recipes from our kitchens from time to time, especially as the holidays get ever closer.
XOXO, Elizabeth & Kate