When Townhouse Detroit reopened last September, it debuted a sleek new interior and updated food and beverage offerings. Among the items on the restaurant’s menu now is the Julia, a layered cheesecake that’s served in a crème brûlée dish.
“At first glance, you would think it was a crème brûlée because we brûlée the top by sprinkling it with sugar and lightly torching it until the sugar caramelizes,” says Townhouse Detroit Pastry Chef Becca Stanley. “Sandwiched between your graham crust and the liquid cheesecake is a fresh and light layer of raspberry rose compote that we gently press into the crust…”
Stanley — who named the dessert after her mother because of her love for cheesecake and raspberry chocolate — shares the recipe for the Julia below so you can give it a try at home.
Townhouse Detroit’s Julia Recipe
Graham Crust Ingredients
3 cups of graham cracker crumbs
¾ cup of melted butter
1 cup of dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon of salt
Raspberry Rose Compote Ingredients
1 ½ cup of raspberries
¼ teaspoon of rose water
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
Liquid Cheesecake Ingredients
6 cups of cream cheese
1 ¾ cup of sugar
¼ cup of flour
3 egg yolks
½ cup and 1 tablespoon of sour cream
Scrapings of 1 vanilla bean
¼ cup of sugar
Mix all Graham Crust ingredients together.
Press the mixture down into dish lightly (you can use multiple small creme brulee dishes or make a large Julia in a pie pan). Don’t pack down so hard that it would be difficult to eat with a spoon.
In a bowl, stir together sugar, lemon, and rose water until sugar starts to dissolve.
Fold raspberries into your sugar/lemon/rose mixture.
Pour raspberry/sugar mixture on top of your graham crust. Then, gently squash your raspberries into the graham crust speckling them through your dish so you get some with every bite.
In a Kitchenaid with a paddle attachment, mix all of your liquid cheesecake base ingredients (except for the vanilla), starting with your cream cheese and then adding your sour cream (basically moving from your firmest ingredients to softest). Scrape down the sides about halfway through, and mix until it is one uniform mixture. It is OK if there are a few lumps because it will be thoroughly blended in final step.
Pour liquid cheesecake in a large baking dish and set it in a larger baking dish in the oven. Then pour hot water into the larger dish to create your water bath. (Stanley recommends pouring your water after the dishes are in the oven.)
Cover the top with tin foil and bake at 275 F for about 1 and a half hours or until the center is set and the center jiggles like Jello.
Once baked, remove from water bath and allow to cool. Then take a stick blender to the mixture and add your vanilla bean scrapings. Blend thoroughly until the mixture is silky smooth and there are no lumps.
Allow your liquid cheesecake mixture to cool fully in refrigerator and then gently spread it into your dish on top of your raspberry compote. Fill your dish to the top so it is easy to brûlée.
To finish, dump the ¼ cup of sugar on top of the Julia and shake/turn the dish until the entire top of the dish is coated in a layer of sugar. Dump excess sugar out onto a separate plate. Then, using a creme brûlée torch, begin your brûlée. You want to hold the torch about 4-6 inches away from the dish, depending on the strength of your torch. Move in small circles starting at the outermost edge of the dish and working your way inward toward the center. You want to brûlée until an amber color is achieved throughout.
Garnish with some fresh raspberries and edible flower petals and enjoy! Stanley says she loves having the dessert with sparking rose at dinner or sometimes at breakfast with a cappuccino.
Townhouse Detroit, 500 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-723-1000; townhousedetroit.com