Warning! You can make cheesecake, cooking to clean up in 1 hour, with 5 minutes of actual work. I should also tell you that clean up really only involves cleaning up one food processor. This recipe is easy enough that you, like me, will find yourself making a few rounds of cheesecake because the rewards are so great for such little effort. Be warned though, I have found that there are 3 truths to this cheesecake.
- It is easy.
- It is amazing. Cheesecake + Pretzels + Beer = Awesome
- It makes you fat.
Shocking, I know. Recently I whipped up a couple of these for eating, entertaining, and freezing only to find that at the end of the week my jeans are just a bit tighter (I should have given away more). But there are no worries here. Life is short, food is good, and I have already registered for a half marathon to keep me motivated to exercise.
This cheesecake is so rich that a little goes a very long way (note to self). Although, I think it could be more decadent if the cake was made with duck eggs. The cheesecake has a traditional vanilla flavor which sets off the awesome pretzel crust. I love the sweet-salty juxtaposition so much that this might be my new ‘go-to’ cookie crust.
Make this happiness cake a day in advance for maximum gluttonous enjoyment.
Beer Glazed Cheesecake on a Pretzel Cookie Crust
For the pretzel shortbread crust:
- 4 oz pretzels, this is approximately 1 cup of chopped pretzels or 3 cups whole
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- 1T flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1ts salt
For the cheesecake:
- 2 pounds (4 [8-ounce] packages) cream cheese
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 ts vanilla
- Pinch of kosher salt
Top with: Potlicker Beer Jelly
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in middle.
Choose your baking pan:
- 2- 6” round spring form pans. Great size for sharing and freezing.
- 1 large spring form pan. Large enough for a crowd
- 1- 9×9” square baking dish. Best to be cut into bars for finger food.
Line the baking dish with parchment or aluminum foil, leaving a few inches of overhang on each side.
Next, begin by pulsing the whole pretzels into ¼” pieces in your food processor. Add the butter, flour, sugar, and salt, and pulse until the mixture is well combined and it resembles coarse corn meal. Press the mixture into the bottom of the spring form pan and bake until golden brown on the edges, about 20 minutes. While the crust is baking, make the filling.
Using the same ‘dirty’ bowl for the food processor tap out any large crumbs left over from the crust. Combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of the food processor and blend until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs and the yolk one at a time, pulsing after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and salt, and pulse until well blended.
Pour the mixture over the freshly-baked pretzel shortbread crust and continue to bake in the oven until a toothpick comes out clean or the center of the cheesecake is just set and stops jiggling, about 40 minutes. Turn off the oven, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the cheesecake cool in the oven for 20 minutes.
Leaving cheesecake in the oven to cool for 20 minutes is very important. If you forget to let it cool slowly (which I occasionally do) then a large crack will form in the center of the cake because the outside cooled faster than the inside. It will still taste yummy.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to finish cooling completely (at least 1 hour). At this point your options are to top it with beer jelly glaze and serve within 24 hours, to cover the cake and stash it in the fridge to top later, or wrap well and place in the freezer for long term storage. Cheesecake stores very well for a number of months in the freezer. It also defrosts quickly making it a great option for unexpected guests.
Plan to top the cake with jelly at least an hour before you serve it. The jelly needs time to ‘set’ or gel completely or else it will be runny and not as pretty. To create the top layer of beer jelly, begin by melting 3-4oz of jelly in a small sauce pan. Whisk beer jelly until smooth and bring to a rapid boil. Boil for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat allow to cool for 1 minute. Carefully pour the liquid into the center of the cheesecake, allowing the jelly puddle and spread.
Once topped, return the cheesecake to the fridge until time to serve. When cutting cheese cake keep a bowl of hot water and a towel next to you so that you can dip the knife when the cake start to stick.
For the finishing touch top with a small pretzel or a pinch of smoked sea salt.
*A few notes: Cheesecake is best made at least a day ahead of time but begins to dry out if made more than 3 days in advance. Do not try to freeze the cake with jelly on it, the jelly will stick to wrap and slides off when the cake is defrosted. The cheesecake recipe was inspired by this Pin.