Anyway, it wasn’t a milestone, but since he was still overseas for his birthday last year, I was super excited to make the whole day special for him this year.
It started out with homemade breakfast, included bowling, beer, and corn dogs for lunch, and finished up with his very favorite homemade dinner, more beer, and cheesecake birthday cake…his favorite. Which also had beer in it. Oh, and there were presents, too…but no beer there.
He always asks for cheesecake for his birthday, so when he asked for it again this year I wasn’t surprised. He always insists on plain, classic New York cheesecake, though.
Which is fine, I guess, but there are so many options for cheesecake, I really wanted to try something new, so I vetoed him.
I had a sneaking suspicion he’d be okay with it.
When it came down to deciding on flavors, I knew two things going into it:
1. The beer would be a stout. I chose stout mostly because that’s his favorite, but also because it is such a rich, creamy, flavorful beer, I knew it would be able to stand up to the strong flavor of cream cheese.
2. The crust would have pretzels in it. Because beer and pretzels. Obvs. Hubs decided that cinnamon pretzels would be just the ticket. One of my favorite snacks is Pretzel Crisps Cinnamon Toast pretzels with Nutella, so he asked if I could use those. I decided he was brilliant, and went with it. We make a good team.
Then I got to thinking about how chocolate goes so great with stout, so how about adding chocolate, too…… Except, the Hubster didn’t want chocolate cheesecake. I’m telling you, he’s a purist. Instead, I decided to add the chocolate to the crust.
As for the raspberry, that was a simple matter of the Hubster seeing Widmer Brothers’ Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout, and wanting that to be his cheesecake beer.
As I’ve said, the Hubster is a purist when it comes to his cheesecake, so I chose to omit any further additions, like fresh raspberries or raspberry purée in the cake, but you could easily stir some in. A quarter or half cup of fresh berries, or a drizzle of purée gently stirred in would not only taste incredible, but it would also look gorgeous.
Hubs does highly recommend a side of fresh berries with your cake, though, whether you add some to the cake before baking or not.
This cake turned out absolutely beautiful! It’s perfectly smooth, and creamy, fragrant, and delicious. It’s a classic cheesecake with the dark richness of stout, and a light hint of raspberry flavor. And the chocolate pretzel crust was the perfect compliment of rich, sweet, spicy, and salty. I think this was a homerun cake. The Hubster and I collaborate pretty great together.
Enjoy, my friends!
Raspberry Stout Cheesecake
with Chocolate Cinnamon Pretzel Crust
Makes 1 9-inch cheesecake
FOR THE CRUST
**For a gluten free crust, omit the cookies and pretzels, and substitute 1 sleeve GF chocolate or plain graham crackers (about 9 crackers)**
10 chocolate wafer cookies, crushed to fine crumbs
3 ounces cinnamon toast pretzel, crushed to fine crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
FOR THE FILLING
4 – 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened and cut into chunks
good pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 egg yolks
6 whole eggs
1 cup raspberry stout, or any stout beer of your choice (be sure to select a GF beer for gluten free alternative)
Fresh raspberries for garnish, optional
To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Brush about 1/2 tablespoon melted butter in a 9-inch springform pan, especially the bottom.
In a small bowl, mix in the sugar, cookie crumbs, and pretzels, then use a fork to stir in the melted butter. The mixture should look like wet sand after it’s mixed. Press the pretzel mixture firmly across the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until fragrant, for 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely before adding the cake batter.
For the cake: Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese for about a minute or so, until it’s smooth and creamy. Add the salt and continue mixing while you slowly add the sugar. Beat for another minute or so, then thoroughly scrape the bowl and beater. Add the sour cream and vanilla, and beat for another minute or so, until all of the ingredients are incorporated, then add the egg yolks and mix well for about a minute. Scrape everything down again and begin adding the eggs, one at a time, beating each one in for about 30 to 45 seconds before adding the next. Scrape the bowl and beater after every two eggs. Slowly add the beer, mixing until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape the bowl and give it a final hand stir to make sure everything is incorporated.
Brush another half tablespoon of butter around the sides of the pan and place it in the center of a rimmed baking sheet. Pour in the cake batter and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue baking for about an hour and a half. Don’t open the oven door until you have to check the temperature of the cake. The center of the cheesecake should be about 150 degrees. Place the cheesecake on a wire cooling rack and allow to cool for about three hours, then run a paring knife around the edge of the cake. Cover the cake (still in the pan) with plastic wrap and chill for at least three hours before serving. To serve, remove the sides of the pan (transfer to a plate or serve from the bottom of the pan) and slice with a sharp knife.
Recipe by Darla