Cherries, quite possibly, are my favourite fruit. Each year I look forward to cherry season, eating them by the handful and spitting out the stones in an uncouth manner. Usually this is as much as I will do, but from time to time I’ll put in the effort to make pie, soup, compote and sorbet.
This cherry ripple baked cheesecake is a celebration of all things cherry and needs to be made a day in advance, so it can chill thoroughly overnight in the fridge. I love the contrast of fresh cream cheese alongside the sweet and sour cherry cheese mix. For an extra cherry hit, fresh sweet cherries are placed on top, but you could leave them out if you wish.
For the base:
200g dark chocolate Digestive biscuits
75g melted unsalted butter
For the cheesecake mixture:
100g dried sour cherries
4 tbsp amaretto liqueur
720g cream cheese
50g caster sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
450g fresh cherries
25g dark chocolate
Grease a 20cm spring loaded cake tin with butter. Roughly crush the dark chocolate digestive biscuits, pour over the molten butter, mix and press into the bottom of the cake tin. Place the dried sour cherries into a bowl and add just boiled water to cover halfway and then add the amaretto liqueur. Cover and leave for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 150 deg C. Place the cream cheese into a mixing bowl and beat. Add the caster sugar, egg and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Halve the mixture between two separate bowls. Using a stick blender, blend the plump sour cherries into a coarse paste. Add to one of the bowls of cream cheese and mix. Load up the cheesecake base by placing alternate dollops of plain and cherry cheesecake mix -alongside and on top of each other. Press and smooth over using a palette knife, ensuring there are no gaps between the two mixtures.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the outer part is puffed and rising and, the centre remains a little liquid. Leave to cool in the oven and then chill overnight in the fridge.
Remove the cheesecake from the fridge; the edges should have shrunken away from the sides of the tin. Release the cake tin spring and ease away the base using a palette knife and transfer to a serving dish. Halve and stone the fresh cherries and place on top. Just before serving, grate chocolate over the top.