Chocolate Covered Pretzel Cheesecake
One sip of the Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout and I knew this beer was a baker's dream. Based off one of the main premises in baking, this beer shows that a little pinch of salt can enhance the chocolaty sweetness of this beer just like a good batch of chocolate chip cookies. Pondering over the beautiful bouquet of baker's chocolate and rich dark malts, one thing came to mind to balance this strong, rich, sultry beverage...cheesecake. Cheesecake matches the richness of this beer with the richness of the sweet custard-like base. Playing of the sweet vs. salty contrast of the beer, a pretzel crust will satisfy that sweet and salty craving. Of course this cheesecake could not be complete without the addition of chocolate. Dark chocolate is added at two separate times in this recipe, just like the addition of chocolate malt in the brewery and addition of cocoa powder after fermentation. This beer has arrived just in time for the celebration of the holidays, so why not pair it with the celebration of a cheesecake?
Chocolate Covered Pretzel Cheesecake
2.4 cups pretzels crushed
3.6 tbsp brown sugar
6 tbsp melted butter
12 oz. dark chocolate
5 packages cream cheese
3/4 cup of sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp vanilla
2/3 c sweetened condensed milk
1 c sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout (optional)
One bag semi-sweet morsels
Handful of crushed pretzels for garnish
Preheat oven to 300°. Move the oven rack to the second lowest position. Use a food processor or the old fashioned way to crush the pretzels to a loose gravel like consistency. Blend in brown sugar and then the butter until the mixture is moist. Then take the pretzel mixture and dump it into the base of a greased 10” springform pan. Press the crumbs into a compact layer on the bottom of the pan, and about an inch up the side walls. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. While the crust is baking, take your dark chocolate and break it into chunks and put it in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave the chocolate, stirring every 30 seconds until the chocolate is fully melted. Remove the crust after 10 minutes of baking and top with melted chocolate. Refrigerate for at least 5 minutes.
Lower oven to 250°. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and cornstarch on medium speed until very smooth and creamy, scrape down the bowl as necessary. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and sour cream until well blended and slightly frothy. At a low speed, mix in the egg mixture with the cream cheese mixture until there is a consistent texture. Remove the crust from the fridge and pour filling in. Wrap the springform pan in tinfoil to keep it water tight. A couple of pan taps on the counter will help level out the mixture. Fold a clean kitchen towel to place in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Set the springform pan on top of the towel in the roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it reaches about an inch high on the outside of the springform pan. Bake for 70 minutes. Do not open the oven door or turn on the light to avoid temperature fluctuations. After 70 minutes you can open the door to peek and allow some heat to escape. Turn off the oven. The sides should look set and the center should still look a little soupy. Not to worry, it is not done cooking just yet. Close the oven door and allow the cheesecake to remain in the oven for an additional 60 minutes. At the end of the 60 minutes, remove the cheesecake from the oven and place the springform pan on a wire cooling rack. Take the tinfoil off the pain to make sure no water is still on the springform pan. The cheesecake may still look jiggly, but it will continue to set as it cools. Allow the cheesecake to cool for one hour on the rack. After the hour, run a knife around the edge of the springform pan to ensure that the cheesecake isn’t sticking to the sides. Put the pan in the refrigerator to cool overnight; do not cover the cheesecake.
Remove cheesecake from the refrigerator and remove sides of the springform pan. Place on cake plate. Combine whipping cream, stout and chocolate in microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between. When mixture becomes a shiny and dark brown pour on to top of the cheesecake and garnish with crushed pretzels. Cut and serve cheesecake with a side of Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout in a pristine globe glass to release full flavors and aromas experience.