Mini Chocolate Stout Cheesecakes with Pretzel Crust and Sour Cream Pearls

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I like to know how to do things.  Not everything, but I am naturally curious, which leads me to want to know how to do things.  I like being capable, even when I don’t have to be.   The pure challenge of mastering a new skill is one of the many reasons I enjoy cooking.  I will tackle a recipe that has an interesting technique or ingredient combination even if it isn’t something I might want to eat, simply because I want to know how to do it. 

Last week was the perfect storm of ideas that were begging to be tested.   First, my molecular gastronomy starter kit from  Molecule-R  arrived on Monday, so I was primed to geek out on some food science.  Then, on Wednesday, I happened to spot this recipe from The Beeroness on Foodgawker.  Beer, chocolate, pretzels, all in one dessert?  You had me at beer!

I was obsessing all week on this recipe, but was hesitating because I am not really a big fan of cheesecake.  It isn’t that I don’t like a bite of cheesecake, but a whole slice just really isn’t that appealing to me.  My solution was to turn this recipe into mini cheesecake bites and then to top it off with sour cream pearls.  The perfect opportunity to give the recipe a whirl and try out my molecular gastronomy kit!

Jackie at The Beeroness did a fabulous job developing this recipe, but I did tweak it a bit to fit my perception of how I wanted it to turn out.  Since I was making a much smaller version, I cut the filling ingredients in half.  One of the other major changes I made was to the crust, reversing the proportion of pretzel to graham cracker to give the crust a saltier bite.  Finally, I skipped the sour cream topping in the recipe and made my sour cream “pearls” instead. 

The beer I selected was Rogue Chocolate Stout which has a nice deep flavor with no lingering after-taste.  The original called for Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot, which I was actually able to find, but I preferred the smoothness of the Rogue Chocolate Stout.  The end result has a hint of beer, but really, it simply amps up the depth of flavor created by the dark chocolate and espresso powder.  When I first read the recipe, I hadn’t noticed the espresso powder and had made a mental note to add it.  Great minds must think alike!

Making the sour cream pearls was super simple and fun with the help of a dip in a sodium alginate bath.  My lack of patience got the better of me in this process, because everything indicated that I should let the bath sit for about 2 hours before creating the pearls and I only waited about 45 minutes so they didn’t set up as well as they should have.  The final result was not only beautiful to look at, also created a burst of freshness on the tongue which was a welcome contrast to the richness of the cheesecake. 

If you aren’t feeling like putting on your science hat, you can skip the pearls and simply serve each cheesecake with a dollop of the sour cream topping.  It is equally delicious. 

Now go buy some beer and start baking!


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12 Responses to “Mini Chocolate Stout Cheesecakes with Pretzel Crust and Sour Cream Pearls”

  1. Sebbie

    Thanks for using the beer with my image on the label and since I blog about Rogue Chocolate Stout I’d love to add your post & recipe to my blog & fb page. Cheers!!

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  4. Demi

    I was wondering how many eggs are needed for the cheesecake? I noticed it didn’t specify. The recipe looks fabulous, can’t wait to try it.

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