Mix crushed cookies and melted butter in a medium bowl. Press into an even layer in the bottom of a spring form pan. Place into refrigerator. Pre-heat oven to 325°F.
Crumble half of the blue cheese in the bowl of stand mixer. Add cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream. Starting on medium-low speed, blend with the paddle attachment until all ingredients are combined (small lumps are okay). Remain on medium-low speed, and add eggs one at a time, allowing each to become fully incorporated before adding the next. Add lemon juice, vermouth, vanilla, and flour. Mix until well combined. With a spatula, fold in remaining crumbled blue cheese. Spread cheese mixture in an even layer over prepared cookie crust. Bake at 325°F for 50 minutes. Turn heat off, leaving the cake in the oven to cool gradually for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cake cool for another hour. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
Run a butter knife around the edge of the cake a few times before unmolding from the spring form pan. Serve with wild plum preserves, walnuts or Barleywine Fig Compote (see below).
Time to dig deep into your beer cellar or that of your local bottle shop. The sweet, dark fruit complexity of an aged barleywine is the perfect complement to this cake. Lift Bridge Commander barleywine is an especially intriguing pairing, any vintage.
Barleywine Fig Compote
1 lb dried organic Mission figs, stems removed
1½ cup barleywine
2 Tbsp local honey
1 tsp salt
juice of ½ lemon
1 cinnamon stick
Place figs, cinnamon, and honey into a sealable container with at least 2 inches of space from the top of the figs. Add lemon juice, barleywine, and enough water to cover the figs. Cover and refrigerate for 3–5 days.
Strain figs, reserving liquid. Discard cinnamon stick. In a food processor, process figs, adding just enough of the barleywine liquid to create a thin paste. Adjust the amount of liquid based on your preferred consistency. Use as a topping for Big Woods Blue Cheesecake, as part of a holiday cheese plate, or with roasted pork, duck, or goose.
Reserved braising liquid from Stout Braised Chuck Roast, fat skimmed and discarded (2½–3 cups)
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
2 oz stout (optional)
1 tsp freshly chopped thyme
to taste salt and pepper
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk together until fully combined. Continue whisking and allow mixture to cook for about 2 minutes until a very light golden color develops. Slowly add about 1 cup of the braising liquid, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
As gravy thickens, continue to add braising liquid until your preferred thickness is reached. If desired, add stout close to the end of cooking time but before the gravy is fully thickened. Do not over reduce stout as this will make the gravy bitter. Remove from heat.
Gravy will continue to thicken slightly as it cools. Add additional braising liquid or beer to thin out as necessary. Stir in thyme and season to taste.