For this dessert planned for the soon-to-open Bar Spero in Washington, D.C., chef Johnny Spero draws inspiration from one of his favorite desserts when living in the Basque country, where the cheesecake was “burnt and caramelized on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside.”
He starts by dusting a layer of cream cheese with sugar and then caramelizes it with a torch. Then he mixes that into his ice cream base, cools it, spins it into ice cream and freezes it in cylindrical molds.
Separately he makes a sweetened cream cheese mousse and pipes that into a silicone mold. He inserts a cylinder of ice cream into that, covers it with more mousse and freezes it.
He then dusts the top with a combination of sugar and isomalt and torches it so it looks like a cheesecake. It’s served on a large roasted sheet of brique dough with a slice cut out so guests can see layers of the mousse, ice cream and roasted sugar.