Baked cheesecake with chocolate and cherries

Baked cheesecake with chocolate and cherries

The first of the season’s cherries are in! It’s one of my colleagues’ birthday on the weekend. I was pretty sure I wanted to make a cherry cheesecake for her. This is what I came up with, and I’m pretty happy with it. I hope she liked it too. The cake uses some classic flavour combinations: dark chocolate and cherries, almonds and vanilla (the Galliano). I used the great fresh ricotta I picked up from Country Valley Dairy at the Capital Region Farmers Market on the weekend.

Please use Fair Trade chocolate. It’s really important to know that no child labour was used in the cocoa harvest and that third-world producers receiving a fair wage for their efforts. I use Green and Black’s chocolate, it’s fair trade certified, and very high quality. It was easy to make this a gluten free recipe by using almond meal (for texture and flavour) in the base, and a little gluten free flour to hold in the butter. It was a great base.

Base

1 cup blanched almonds
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 cup raw caster sugar
3/4 cup gluten free flour
80 grams butter, cubed, chilled

Filling

500 grams ricotta cheese
500 grams cream cheese
1/2 cup raw caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons Galliano
100 grams dark, fair trade chocolate
400 gram tin of black cherries, pitted
250 grams fresh cherries

To make the base, whiz the almonds in a food processor to make a fine crumb. Add the cocoa powder, sugar and flour and whiz till combined. Gradually add the butter cubes till the mixture comes together.

Line the bottom and sides of a spring form cake tin. Press the base mixture evenly into the bottom of the tin and refrigerate. Preheat the oven to 150oC.

To make the filling, beat the ricotta and cream cheese till smooth, well combined and light. Beat in the sugar. Add the eggs and Galliano and combine. Finely chop the chocolate and fold through till just combined. Remove the base from the refrigerator and spread a small amount of filling across the base. Drain the can of cherries, reserving the liquid. Arrange the cherries across the base. Dollop on the remaining filling and spread it evenly across the cake. Bake for two hours at 150oC till golden on top. Allow to cool in the tin before removing. Chill till serving.

Pour the liquid from the tin of cherries in a small saucepan and simmer till reduced to a thick syrup.

Arrange the cherries atop the cake. Serve with the cherry syrup.

Baked cheesecake with chocolate and cherries

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