Cherry Amaretto Cheesecake

The idea for this cheesecake came to me after making the Almond Tiramisu I posted about last month. I had another package of Amaretti cookies and while the Almond Tiramisu was delicious I didn’t want to make another one so soon and while I could have just eaten the cookies I thought to myself that there had to be something yummy I could make with them. Initially I was thinking raspberries instead of cherries for this cheesecake, but, I thought cherries would be a better complement to the almond flavors in the cheesecake. And I was right! Since cherries aren’t currently in season I opted to use frozen ones, but, with summer just around the corner you could make this with a fresh batch of cherries that are sure to be hitting the produce department of your local supermarkets in no time.

I started off by making the crust. In the bowl of my food processor I processed 7oz. of Amaretti cookies into fine crumbs. I then added in melted butter and pulsed everything together a few times. Finally, I pressed the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish I sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

I set the crust aside and made the filling for the cheesecake. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed, I beat together cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, almond & vanilla extract and Amaretto liqueur until it was well combined. I then added in 2 eggs and continued to beat the mixture until it was smooth. Once the cheesecake mixture was ready I poured it into the prepared crust and placed it in a 325 F preheated oven for about 45 minutes. I knew the cheesecake was done once the center was just about set. I let the cheesecake cool on a wire rack before refrigerating it overnight.

While the cheesecake was cooling on the wire rack I made the cherry topping. In a medium saucepan I whisked together water, cornstarch, lemon juice and sugar (a slurry). I then heated the mixture over medium heat and stirred it until it started to thicken. Once it did, I added in the cherries. I stirred the mixture occasionally. You may think that your cornstarch mixture isn’t enough for the cherries, but, as the cherries cook they will let out their own juices. If you opt to use frozen cherries as I did, do not defrost them beforehand. Once the sauce begins to boil and thickens remove it from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. Make sure to taste the mixture. If your cherries aren’t very sweet you may need to add more sugar to bring out their flavor. Once the mixture was cool, I transferred it to a resealable container and refrigerated it overnight.

The following day, before serving the cheesecake I spooned the cherry mixture over it. This was a hit with everyone who tried it.

And I must say, that it tasted even better a day or two afterwards. I think the almond flavor from the cheesecake seeped into the cherry topping and it really brought all the flavors together!

Cherry Amaretto Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust:

7oz. package Amaretti cookies

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake:

2 8oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur

2 large eggs, at room temperature

Cherry Topping:

3 cups frozen (or fresh) cherries

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar*

*You may need to add additional sugar if your cherries aren’t sweet

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 F.

For the crust: In the bowl of a food processor process the cookies into fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a few times to combine. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish sprayed with non-stick spray.

For the cheesecake: In a large bowl combine the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, almond & vanilla extracts and the Amaretto and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue beating until the mixture is smooth.

Transfer the cheesecake batter to the prepared pie crust and bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

For the cherry topping: While the cheesecake is cooling, whisk together the water, cornstarch, lemon juice and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat and stir until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the cherries and stir occasionally until the sauce begins to boil and has thickened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use. The mixture will continue to thicken as it cools.

To serve, spoon the cherry mixture over the cheesecake and slice. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula

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