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<strong>Dark Chocolate Cherry Cheescake </strong></p>

From "Cooking Thin with Chef Kathleen" by Kathleen Daelemans
/ Source: TODAY

Makes 12 servings


For the crust

  • 1 1/4 cups fine cookie crumbs (graham cracker or chocolate wafer cookies)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon water

For the filling

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cup brewed espresso or strong coffee
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350F.

Prepare Crust: In a medium mixing bowl, combine crumbs and sugar. Stir until combined. Add melted butter and water; mix until completely incorporated. Pour crumb mixture into an 8-inch springform pan. Using fingertips, press evenly onto pan bottom and 1/2 inch up sides. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until crust hardens slightly. Set aside to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300F. Place a 9-inch cake pan filled with water on bottom oven rack (this will add moisture to oven so cake will be creamy and dense, not dried out).

Prepare The Filling: In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat chocolate chips and coffee over lowest heat, stirring often, until chocolate is completely melted, 7 to 9 minutes. Cool.

In a mixing bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add sugar and salt. Beat on medium speed 1 minute. Scrape down sides and add eggs, one at a time, beating on medium for 30 seconds and scraping down sides of bowl between each addition. Add melted chocolate mixture and vanilla to bowl, scrape down sides once more, and beat on medium 1 minute. Pour batter into crust. Bake on middle rack for 60 to 65 minutes, or until internal temperature reads 170F. Take cake’s temperature by inserting an instant-read thermometer into center of cake. Turn oven off and let cake stand in oven for 20 minutes more. Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack. Refrigerate 1 hour. Then freeze 1 hour.

Cut into 12 slices, topping each slice with 1 tablespoon cherry pie filling just before serving. Alternatively, after cheesecake refrigerates for 1 hour, pour entire can of cherry pie filling over cake and refrigerate 2 hours more, or until cake and topping are set.