Okay, okay – hear me out. I know what you must be thinking – bacon on a cheesecake? What the what? But just trust me, it works, especially since its beer-candied bacon. I first got this idea for a cheesecake at my favorite place for inspiration, Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats. In the spring months here on Delmarva, they have a restaurant week. If you are a restaurant in the area and would like to participate, you can offer a 3-course meal to your patrons for $30 a person.
We’ve been to a few places, as it’s always fun to try something new, but we always end up back at Dogfish. There’s the amazing beer, obviously. But, the food is always awesome – as well as the service. It’s a great place to go with the kids, with fun activity menus to keep them busy. They even make their own homemade birch beer! They source as many local ingredients as much as possible, displaying the farms proudly on a chalkboard. Sam and his wife Mariah (founders of Dogfish Head) are the nicest people in the world. We’ve seen them in there many evenings where their family was enjoying dinner with friends, or just hanging out – and Sam chatted with Jon about homebrew for a while. They also host our local homebrew chapter, Delmarva United Homebrewers, at the brewpub in the winter months. Which, is just another notch on their lipstick case of coolness in my book. Okay, I digress…let’s just say that I love them, and everything that they stand for.
The cheesecake was on their prix fixe menu that night as a dessert choice. Of course I couldn’t resist, and I’m eternally grateful that I didn’t. They used their Chicory Stout in the batter, which led to a denser cheesecake than I was accustomed to. It definitely stuck in my mind, and I always wanted to recreate it at home. Enter Jackie, who posted a chocolate stout cheesecake on her beer blog a while back. I knew it was going to be the perfect base for this monster. And, it was. I added a bit of the beer-candied bacon to the batter, as well as to the top (along with some hot fudge sauce to make it easier to adhere). Just enough to make you think – Oh, bacon! And the pretzel crust? Insanely good, and seemed to retain a better crunch than your standard graham cracker variety.
Desserts are often overlooked at Super Bowl parties – but this is one that is most definitely notable. Make this, and you’re sure to be the talk of the party. Or with it in hand, will get you into any party you like! Who’s going to turn down a bacon stout chocolate cheesecake with a pretzel crust? #nobody
Bacon Stout Chocolate Cheesecake
For the Crust:
4 standard sized graham crackers
1 cup pretzel rods
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
6 Tbsp butter, melted
For the filling:
7 oz dark chocolate (60%)
1 cup stout (a chocolate stout or coffee stout is lovely)
3 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tbs flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tbs espresso powder
3/4 cup beer-candied bacon, finely chopped
For the topping:
2/3 cup hot fudge sauce
1/2 cup beer-candied bacon, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp granulated sugar
Place one oven rack in the middle position, with one rack below. Preheat oven to 350.
In a food processor add the graham crackers, sugar and the pretzels and process until it’s the consistency of crumbs. Turn the food processor on, and slowly stream in the butter and process until it resembles wet sand.
Spray the inside of a 9-inch spring form pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the processed crumbs into the spring form pan. Using the bottom of a heavy, flat bottom glass, press the crust very well into the bottom of the pan until well compacted.
In a pot over medium high heat, add the beer and the chocolate, stir until melted and remove from heat. Allow to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the cream cheese and the sugar and mix until smooth. One at a time, add the eggs, scraping the bottom of the bowl between additions. Pour the cooled chocolate into the mixer and beat until well combined. Lift the head of the mixer and add flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and bacon over the batter, stir on low speed until just combined.
Pour the batter into the pan over the crust.
Place the pan in the oven in the middle position. Place a baking dish on the rack below the cheesecake, fill with water.
Bake the cheesecake until the center no longer jiggles when you shake the rack, about 45-50 minutes. This isn’t a situation where a tooth pick inserted in the middle should come out clean, you just need the center to set and it will continue to set as it cools. Remove from oven.
For the topping, warm your hot fudge sauce so that it is pourable. Pour onto the center of the cheescake carefully, and allow to sit and solidify for 15 minutes. Top the chocolate with the chopped bacon. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, and continue whipping on high until stiff peaks form. Place in piping bag fitted with a decorative tip (I used Wilton 2D) and pipe border of whipped cream around the edge.
Source: inspired by Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats, base cheesecake recipe from The Beeroness