Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake is a good choice any time of the year.
I happened to have a lot of homemade cream cheese in the house from several recent classes. One portion was firmer than the other, more like what one would get when buying a brick of cream cheese. The other had not drained quite as long and was softer so mixing both together worked for me. Three packages of Philidelphia will be a good substitute and the cherries will probably stay higher on the finished cake.
A can of cherry pie filling that was also something from a past class was taking up space and a bar of dark chocolate I knew has seen some heat needed some reworking, so all in all a reasonable solution. I found space in the kitchen, things that have a shelf life were used up and others received an unexpected treat.
You will need:
1 cup flour
1/4 – 1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. orange peel
1/2 cup butter, melted
750 grams cream cheese ( what can I say, living in Canada. I think they come in 8 oz. packages in the U.S. which means an extra 10% cheese and no need to adjust anything else. )
2 tsp. orange peel
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1 can cherry pie filling, drained
100 gram/3.5 oz. chocolate bar
I will start by saying that if you have Oreo crumbs at home or prefer a Graham wafer crust bottom please feel free to substitute. I was using what was handy in my kitchen at the time.
This recipe was a good example of holding gratitude while preparing. It is a lovely bonus to make something delightful out of items I really just wanted to clear away and in the end I was able to gift the finished cakes and not have all that temptation in the house. Win, win, win. So beginning with thankfulness that the ingredients were available to me, I gathered the components of my plan while inviting the compassionate spirits to join me in the kitchen. I washed my hands and grabbed my apron, using those actions to shift my focus and bring my attention into the present moment before beginning.
Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.
You can see that there is white on the outside of the chocolate pieces. This is the cocoa butter that separated from the chocolate mass due to poor storage conditions. There is nothing that will make this bar unuseable once melted and stirred so the cocoa butter is incorporated again.
Every producer of chocolate produces a different formula and unless you know the ingredient list it is not always easy to know for sure how hard the chocolate will be once the cheesecake is baked and cooled. One way of ensuring that chocolate made with palm oil remains softer is to add in a teaspoon or two of melted butter, once the pieces are melted and it won’t hurt of it is not.
Open the can of cherry pie filling and place in a sieve to separate the fruit. It always amazes me how much “goop” there is in purchased pie filling. How is one supposed to cut the pie and serve it with all the sauce spilling out?..a question for another day.
Cherry pie filling is made with sour cherries and if you happen to have some handy, opening a jar or taking a cup out of the freezer will work as well. Too much liquid will turn the cheesecake a dirty gray kind of colour so drain well and don’t stir too much.
Melt the butter and pour into the dry ingredients.
Mix until moist throughout.
If you have read any of my other posts about baking cakes, you will know that I often make a mini 4 inch cake with a bit of the batter so that something small and whole can easily be given away. There is enough of the crust mixture to do that with these amounts when using 1/3 cup cocoa.
Press the mixture into the bottom of the springform pan and using a glass or a spoon press the mixture together and flatten, creating an even covering of the bottom and edges of the springform.
Bake for about 10 minutes before removing from the oven.
Beat well until smooth and pour on top of the crust.
With a small spoon, transfer the cherries and chocolate to the top of the cheesecake. I placed mine in twelve positions over the top in alternating positions.
Using a knitting needle, knife or toothpick run through the spots of cherries and chocolate, creating lines of pattern on top of the cake.
Do not over mix.
Bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until the cheesecake is firm and still jiggles.
As I was using homemade cream cheese and mixed the firm and the not so firm together to use up the last of it, this particular cake took a little longer to bake. The cheesecake was a little softer than normal, hense the added colour on top.
The lightness also meant that the cherries and chocolate were easily covered by the cheesecake as it rose.
Do not open the springform but allow the cake to cool in the form.
Once cool, run a knife around the outside to loosen the cake from the form and then gently open the springfrom, checking for any places still attached.
Remove the cake from the bottom of the springform and transfer to a cake plate for serving. I find a metal spatula works best as the cold crust will be firm. Allow the cake to warm up a little before enjoying. It will make the bottom crust easier to slice.
Cheese is a special part of Imbolc celebrates in January, so even though cheesecake is thought of as a year round option these days, consider making something like this next January to celebrate the arrival of spring and life returning to the land.
If you decided to keep the sauce from the cherry pie filling, adding a little to the plate before serving is an option.
Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake from My Kitchen Wand