By: Yelena Keselman
Any great cook knows that a pantry is never complete without the essentials; pepper, salt, oil, and of coarse a bottle or two of a good craft beer. A collection of natural ingredients and savory flavors, beer adds a uniquely delectable taste to almost any satisfying meal. With its affluent constancy it can easily serve as cooking agent for anything from meats to greens. I decided to focus my efforts towards my particularly favorite meal of the day DESSERT.
Warning: This recipe is not for the dieters, calories counters, or “healthy snackers”. The Chocolate Stout Cheesecake is a confection designed for any chocolate loving individual who doesn’t mind a little rich indulgence in their life. This recipe is inspired from the Beeroness, a fellow blogger representing the beer-drinking woman of the world with her delicious brew incorporated recipes. I tweaked some of the proportions and added a few ingredients due to personal preferences, but either way it’s a delightful yet manageable recipe to execute even with limited cooking experience.
The icing on the cake for this tasty treat, literally, is of coarse the beer. I decided to go with Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Company. Although Rasputin is not my favorite historical Russian character, us soviets we stick together. My deep obsession for dark chocolate also makes this a clear choice due to its semi-sweet yet mostly bitter flavor. The initial sip is like biting into a dark chocolate Hershey bar while simultaneously drinking a cup of freshly brewed coffee, making it a wonderful post dinner drink.
What you will need:
5 Standard honey graham crackers
1 cup of pretzels
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons of butter (Softened)
7 ounces of Bakers dark chocolate
1 cup of Old Rasputin Stout
6 ounces of whipped cream cheese
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
½ tablespoon salt
6.5 ounce can of Redi-Whip
6-7 strawberries (stemmed)
8-9 Inch metal pie tin
1 electric mixer
1 large mixing bowl
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Gently Blend the Graham crackers and pretzels for one minute or until they are crumbs.
Add 3 tablespoons of the butter (leaving 1 tablespoon for later) to the blender and start again until the butter, crackers, and pretzels are fairly mixed and begin to stick
Coat the Pie Tin with the remaining butter. Pour the blended ingredients into the pie tin and using a spoon, cover the entire tin (including the sides) with about ¼ of a centimeter to make the crust. There should be no metal showing. Then put this to the side.
Meanwhile in a medium sized pot bring the chocolate and beer to a gentle boil. Heat until the contents are melted then turn off to cool.
In a large mixing bowl mix cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer. One by one add the eggs.
Pour ¾ of the liquid chocolate into the mix ( put the remaining ¼ off to the side, we will use that later for the icing) make sure the cheese and chocolate are mixed very well. There should be no chunks. This can take up to 3-5 minutes of consecutive mixing.
Continue on to add the flour, coco powder to the batter and mix slowly.
Pour the batter evenly into the crusted pie tin
Place the cheesecake into he oven and bake for 45-50 minutes (until the middle no longer jiggles)
(The Beeroness suggests putting an oven friendly bowl filled with water on a rack below the cake to moisten the crust and I found that to be extremely helpful)
Once the cheesecake is out of the oven pour the remaining melted chocolate over the top. Once this is refrigerated it will harden to form a chocolate shell/icing.
Slice the strawberries vertically and arrange on the top of the cake.
Refrigerate the cake for about 2-2.5 hours. Serve with a helping of chilled Redi-whip on the side
There is definitely room to play around with different stout varieties for this recipe. The heavy amount of sugars and cream cheese give the cake its traditionally thick texture and taste so I like that the old Rasputin is not overly sweet or malty, it offsets some of the other more prominent ingredients. Feel free to interchange toppings and get creative!