Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake


If you plan on working with cherries, I highly recommend buying a cherry pitter. A few years ago when I worked at Target, I bought OXO’s cherry picker, and they have made pitting cherries a breeze. Even if you only use it a few times a year, the investment is worth it. Did you know it took OXO two years to design the splash shield with the correct length and angle? It reduces the amount of juice flying everywhere when you pit. It also works great for olives.

In honor of their awesome cherry pitter, OXO is hosting a Cherry Recipe Contest! I’m entering this decadent Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake because you can’t resist a slice. Imagine chocolate, cherry, AND cheesecake in one blissful bite. It is an Oreo cookie crust filled with creamy cheesecake and sweet cherry pie filling then topped with semisweet ganache.



This Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake is based on those chocolate covered cherries you get in the box. First part is the Oreo cookie crust. It is then filled with a layer of cheesecake followed by a layer of cherry pie filling then finished with another layer of cheesecake. Then after it is baked and cooled, you drown it in ganache and top with a little more pie filling.



The original recipe called for canned cherry pie filling. I’m an overachiever, so I opted for the Homemade Cherry Pie Filling I posted last week. That recipe is reflected in the recipe posted below so you can conveniently have both recipes in one location. If you don’t want to make your own, substitute a 21 ounce can of cherry pie filling.



Pay attention to pan size. You must use a 10-inch springform pan, not a 9-inch pan. After filling my pan, I noticed the filling was dangerously close to the top. That’s when I realized I used a smaller pan than what the recipe called for. This is a pretty good indicator that the top will be cracked because the filling rises above the rim a few good inches. When it cools, it shrinks back down, resulting in an unwelcome crack. Fortunately with this recipe, just drown the top in ganache, and nobody will ever know.



Also, when baking, put the springform pan on a cookie sheet. My pan leaked all over the bottom of my oven. Not entirely sure why, but it was probably a combination of butter in the crust that may have leaked through or the filling overflowed up top and cherry liquid may have dripped down.



Ganache is pretty much chocolate melted into whipping cream. When it cools, it hardens. The best way I found to cover the cheesecake is put the cheesecake onto parchment paper (or wax or aluminum foil) then pour the ganache all over the top and sides. Lift the paper with the cheesecake still on it (it’ll be heavy!), put it onto a sturdy plate or carrier bottom, then place it all in the refrigerator (covered if you have a carrier lid). You should be able to peel the paper from underneath after the cheesecake sits overnight.



I love cheesecake, don’t you?


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Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake
 
Make sure your pan is 10-inch, not 9-inch. I highly recommend using a stand mixer because the batter is thick and may wear out your hand mixer. Feel free to use canned cherry pie filling if you do not want to make your own.
Serves: one 10-inch cheesecake
Ingredients
  • Crust:
  • 2 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • Cherry Pie Filling:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 Tbsp cherry juice (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract
  • Few drops of red food coloring
  • 2 1/2 cups sour cherries, pitted (if using sweet, change cherry juice to lemon juice)
  • Cheesecake Filling:
  • 32 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • Ganache:
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. For the crust: In a medium bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs and butter. Press into the bottom and 1 inch up the side of an ungreased 10-inch springform pan and place onto a cookie sheet.
  3. For the cherry pie fililng: In a large saucepan, combine water, juice, sugar, and cornstarch. Stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook for 2 minutes, constantly stirring. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract and food coloring. Stir in pitted cherries. Cool while you finish prepping the cheesecake.
  4. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after adding each one. Add sugar and almond extract; beat until smooth. It is critical that you beat the batter for a few minutes to break up any lumps because they will not disappear during baking. Add whipping cream and beat for another minute.
  5. Spoon 3 1/2 cups cream cheese batter into the springform pan, spreading evenly. Reserve 1/2 cup of cherry pie filling for topping. Spoon the rest on top of the cream cheese batter, spreading evenly. Spoon remaining batter on top of cherry filling. Spread evenly and smooth out the top.
  6. Bake for 65-75 minutes or until the center is almost set. This means the cheesecake will still wiggle when shaken, but the top is firm when you touch it. Cool in its pan on a wire rack for an hour.
  7. For the ganache: In a small saucepan, bring the whipping cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips until melted.
  8. After the cheesecake has cooled for an hour, carefully remove the pan side. Line a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper. Place the cheesecake on top of the paper. Pour the ganache all over the top and sides of the cheesecake and spread it around. Refrigerate overnight. When serving, top with the reserved pie filling.

Source: Adapted from Pillsbury Holiday Baking, November 2002

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Comments

  1. What a beautiful cheesecake! My mom loves cherries and chocolate and cheesecake so I will have to make this one for her some time.

  2. Yes, I love cheesecake too. My friend Carla says I have to make one. This one looks good. :D

  3. My wife has wanted to bake a cheesecake for a while now and now that I just showed it to her, I think she will be baking it soon!

  4. I don’t think one bite or one look would ever be enough, this is stunning :D

    Cheers
    CCU

  5. So this is diet, right? Yeah, I thought so. I just went into a sugar coma. :-)

  6. Carla,

    Love this recipe. Good luck in the contest.

    Btw, I pit my cherries directly into a large plastic bag wearing rubber gloves, while using my OXO pitter. It may look odd, but my hands don’t get stained and any flying juice stays in the plastic bag.

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