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Beer Glazed Cheesecake on a Pretzel Cookie Crust

Warning! This cheesecake is super simple to make and may result in a dangerous cheesecake habit.

For the pretzel shortbread crust:
4 oz pretzels (approximately 1 cup of chopped pretzels or 3 cups whole)
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

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 pan with parchment or aluminum foil, leaving a few inches of overhang on each side. Preheat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in middle.

Pulse 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 resembles coarse cornmeal. Press the mixture into the bottom of the springform pan and bake until golden brown on the edges, about 20 minutes. While the crust is baking, make the filling.

For the cheesecake:
2 pounds (4 8-ounce packages) cream cheese
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of kosher salt
Beer Jelly for topping-- great with sweet wine jelly too

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, a large

crack may 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 you can: top it with beer jelly glaze and serve within 24 hours, 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. 

Beer jelly glaze: 

Melt 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 to spread.

Once topped, return the cheesecake to the fridge until time to serve. When cutting cheesecake, dip the knife in hot water before each cut to ensure clean, beautiful edges.

For the finishing touch top with a small pretzel or a pinch of smoked sea salt.

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.