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.
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.