chocolate cherry cheesecake

Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake

I love this time of year. Every spring, without fail, I’m surprised by all of the gorgeous fruit coming into its’ prime all at the same time. Strawberries are always first, and then rhubarb, and although I love them both dearly, they wear out there welcome within about 2 months. It’s not long before all I can think about is blackberries and summer stone fruit, and long for the days that we can be together, frolicking through my kitchen , hand in hand…I’m getting all worked up just writing about it. Pardon me, I’m gonna go slip into something a little more comfortable…

That said, you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon cherries at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago. After tasting my way through the three varieties that were being offered (Rainier, Brooks, and Burlat), I opted to go with the Brooks because I’d never used them before. These cherries are a brighter, lighter shade of red than the more common Bing cherry. They’re a hybrid of the Rainier and Burlat cherries and have a good balance of sweetness and acidity. They’re also pretty firm, so I knew they’d be good for what I had in store for them.

burlat cherries

As much as I love cherries, I hate pitting them. In fact, this time around I posted up on my couch watching So You Think You Can Dance, so that I wouldn’t focus on my hatred for the task at hand. I have the cherry stains to prove it. Yeah, don’t be fooled by their light color; these little bastards still have the power to stain a dark blue couch. Because I was adding these cherries into the batter, I roasted them first, so that they could release all of their extra juices, and I could make those juices into a light sauce for serving with the cheesecake later.

Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake

Makes 1 deep 9” cheesecake

  • 30 cherries, pitted and halved
  • ¼ cup sugar or ¼ cup vanilla sugar, if you have it
  • ½ vanilla bean scraped

Toss cherries with sugar and vanilla bean seeds. Spread in an even layer in a pyrex dish or something similar. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes or until juices have been released and cherries are still firm. Let cool. Drain cooled cherries and reserve juice for serving. Pat cherries dry, set aside.

For the crust:

  • 1 ½ cups crushed chocolate wafer cookies, or chocolate graham crackers
  • 6 Tbsp (3 oz) unsalted butter, melted
  • pinch salt

Crush the cookies in a food processor, or if like me you don’t have one, put them in a freezer bag and use a rolling pin or wine bottle to crush them. Using a fork, mix the crumbs with the melted butter until evenly distributed. With the palm of your hand or a rounded glass, press the crust into the bottom of a 9” springform pan. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes. Let cool completely. Spray sides of pan before pouring in cheesecake batter.

For Cheesecake:

  • 1 ½ pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¾ sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ Tbsp flour, sifted
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Reserved cherries from above, tossed in 1 tbsp cornstarch

Chocolate Ganache Glaze

  • 4 oz 55% or higher chocolate
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • 1tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp corn syrup

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or (god bless you) by hand, begin by creaming the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add vanilla, and then the eggs one at a time, scraping down sides as necessary. Add flour, and then sour cream. Mix until completely incorporated being careful not to over mix. Turn the mixer off and fold in the cherries by hand . Pour batter over the crust and place in a waterbath about ½ way up the sides of the pan. If you are afraid that the water may get into the pan, wrap the pan in foil before pouring the batter in. Bake at 350 for an hour, or until the center jiggles ever so slightly. Turn off the oven and allow cake to set for another hour. Chill cake at least 3 hours, or preferably overnight.

To make ganache: Bring cream, butter and corn syrup to just under a boil, pour over chocolate. Stir until smooth. Glaze cake with chocolate ganache ,chill to set. Makes 12 servings.

64 Responses to “Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake”

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