| This cheesecake is rich, fluffy, subtly spiced, with a hint of beer. However, it is not an easy recipe. Cheesecakes are difficult and time consuming to make, and the addition of beer to this one makes it even more fragile. One must take great care in transporting and serving this cheesecake. Makes two large cheesecakes. Divide ingredients in half to make just one large cheesecake.|
If using spring form pans, make sure they are secure and fairly leak proof. I used spring form pans, and mine are leaky. I'm switching over to regular cake pans using Alton Brown's method of cheesecake removal. Check out the next two links for the video on how to do that (it is not my youtube channel). Back to the spring form method, line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. I fold up parchment paper into a a flattened cone and cut the edges until I get the correct size circle. Alton Brown does it the same way so you can look at the photos below or refer to his video. Make sure you butter the pan liberally on the bottom and sides.
Using aluminum foil, cover the bottom of the spring form pan. I use 4 layers of aluminum foil. Beware that water can leak in and cheesecake filling can leak out with spring forms. Water leaked into my first test batch even with 4 layers of foil. In a teapot or soup pot, warm up some water. I usually let it come to a boil, then turn it off until I need it. You'll also need some large pans or bigger cake pans to use for the bath. For my test batches, I used a large glass baking pan and a large oven safe stainless steel casserole pan.
Alton Brown Cheesecake video one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycxKlc4aYy0
Alton Brown Cheesecake video two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eldnGp4lbGU
Making the crust:
Combine all the crust ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. You can replace the ground walnuts with graham crackers, but the walnuts give it that nutty, rich flavor that graham crackers don't have. I coarsely ground walnuts in my coffee grinder. It is okay if the walnuts aren't perfectly ground. I like little chunks of walnuts in the crust. Press this mixture evenly with a spatula. Alton uses the bottom of a drinking glass, but you can get fairly good results with a spatula because this crust is more wet and has more fat from the walnuts. Set crust aside, and let's move on to the filling.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sour cream and cream cheese. Beat until smooth and scrape down the sides between every 30 seconds of beating. Once mixture is smooth, add the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt,and sugar. Beat for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides, and beat again. Add the pumpkin and beat some more. Now add the eggs and egg yolks, two at a time, and allow the mixture to beat for about 20 seconds before adding more eggs. Make sure you scrape down the sides every few cycles. You can add the cornstarch at this point or leave it out. The cornstarch is just insurance in case the cheesecake cooks at too high of a temperature and cracks. I didn't add it in my test batch. While the mixer is still going, stream in the beer, slowly. You must do this very slowly as it will begin to bubble. The carbonation might get a little out of hand if you pour it too fast. After scraping down the sides, beat the mixture again for 30 seconds. Allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes as you prepare the pans and water bath. You can pour filling into the pans prior to baking, but don't bake just yet. Allowing the carbonation settle out is important for the filling. Start preheating your oven to 350 degrees now.
Using a whipping attachment, whip the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until it forms hard peaks. Keep refrigerated until you are going to use it. You may spoon it over the cheesecake or pipe it on. Either way is fine.
Assembling , baking, and serving:
You should have had your pans lined, buttered, covered with foil if using a spring form pan. Pour the filling into pans now, and place in your water bath containers. Once the batter has settled for 10 minutes, place the pans into the oven. Fill each of your water baths with the previously warmed water to about half way up the sides of the pan. If you are using foil and spring form pans, please beware that if you fill water past the lowest edge of the foil, you might have watery cheesecake or cheesecake soup. Hence, I'm making the switch over to regular pans. Bake these cheesecakes at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 300 degrees and bake for 60 minutes, then lower to 275 degrees and bake for about 45-60 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to sit in the oven for another 60 minutes with the door closed. This method is very low and slow, but with the carbonation of the beer and finicky nature of cheesecake, don't take any chances. Cheesecake baked in the small ramekins should be finished baking after one hour.
After the first two hours of bake time, you can also insert a thermometer into the center. See Cooking for Engineer's instructions. When it registers 150 degrees, turn if off, and leave it in the oven for another hour. The total cooking time will be about 2 hours with the oven on, and 1 hour with the oven off. Chill the cheesecake in the fridge for at least 12 hours. You may also freeze it if you like.
Serve the cheesecake cold with whipped cream or chocolate ganache. The cheesecake needs to remain cold. It may hold well in room temperature, but not in the heat. Remember, the carbonation of the beer makes the texture light and fluffy, but not as heat resistant as a dense cheesecake.
Lining with parchment paper
Filled with crust
Here's a photo with foil, but the cheesecakes are already done.
Mix, mix, mix.
Individual serving cheesecake.
Nom. Nom. Nom.
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