Cheesecake - is it a pie, a cake, or something else entirely? A tart? Well, when you make it with stout beer and fresh cranberries, it's definitely a delicious treat! This pie-cake-tart is a mouth-watering blend of rich chocolate, smooth and creamy filling, and just the right amount of sweet zest to make you yearn for more.
Place rinsed cranberries, sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. The cranberry topping will be used between the crust and filling, and as a topping drizzle.
Preheat oven to 350.
Finely crush graham crackers into a large mixing bowl. Stir in melted butter, sugar and salt. Blend well. The texture should be similar to damp sand.
Lightly spray inside of 9" spring-form baking pan with cooking oil, then dust with flour. Press the crust mixture smoothly into the bottom of the pan. Bake crust for 15 minutes, then set aside and allow it to completely cool before adding pie mixture.
You'll want your cream cheese to be at room temperature before blending filling. Here's a few useful tips for warming up cream cheese.
45 minute method: remove cream cheese from fridge, leave in packaging and allow to warm up slowly for about 45 minutes.
20 minute method: remove cream cheese from packaging and cut into small cubes. Separate the cubes on a plate(s) and set aside for 15-20 minutes.
10 minute method: remove cream cheese from cardboard outer box, but leave in sealed foil wrapper. Submerse wrapped cream cheese in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes.
1-2 minute method: remove cream cheese from all packaging. Microwave in 10 second bursts, stirring after each burst. Can take 3-4 bursts per 8 oz block.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Allow cream cheese to come to room temperature. Beat cream cheese in a large bowl for about a minute, until smooth. Continue to mix while slowly adding salt and sugar. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down edges of bowl as needed to incorporate all ingredients. Once smooth, blend in sour cream and vanilla. Mix for another couple minutes. Add in the 2 egg yolks and mix for another minute.
One at a time, add in remaining eggs. Blending about 30 seconds between each egg, and scraping down bowl edges every couple eggs. Slowly mix in stout beer, and give everything a final minute of blending until it's all smooth and creamy.
Spoon a ring of cranberry filling on top of outer edges of pie crust. Use about 3/4 of the filling, leaving remaining 1/4 of filling for drizzling on top after cooking.
Pour in filling mixture over crust. Bake for 10 minutes at 500 degrees, then reduce oven to 200 degrees and continue baking for another 90 minutes. Gently check the cheesecake center and bake further until the cake center reaches 150 degrees. Set the cheesecake on a wire cooling rack to cool for several hours. Open the spring-form pan wall, and gently separate from cake. Then cover with cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours.
Drizzle cranberry filling over sliced cheesecake when serving.