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Ribbon of Cherry Cheesecake

Ribbon of Cherry CheesecakeFestive swirls of cherry purée give this cheesecake both luscious taste and presentation.

Recipe Ingredients:

1 cup slivered almonds, chopped
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

Cherry Purée:
1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar - divided use
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, slightly beaten

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. For Crust: Combine almonds, graham cracker crumbs and butter in a medium bowl; mix well. Press crumb mixture evenly over the bottom and 2-inches up the sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Set aside.
  3. For Cherry Purée: Purée cherry pie filling in an electric blender or food processor until smooth. Pour puréed cherry pie filling into a medium saucepan. Combine 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and cornstarch; stir into cherry pie filling. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until mixture is thick and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in almond extract. Set aside to cool.
  4. For Filling: Put cream cheese, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, amaretto, lemon juice and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed 3 to 4 minutes, or until well mixed. Add eggs all at once; beat on low just until mixed.
  5. To Assemble Cheesecake: Pour one-third of the cream cheese mixture into prepared crust. Top with about 1/3 cup cherry purée. Swirl cherry mixture into cream cheese mixture, using a knife or spatula. Repeat layers twice, ending with cherry purée. Reserve remaining purée. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until the center appears nearly set when gently shaken. Let cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  6. To Serve: Spoon a generous tablespoon of purée on individual serving plates. Cut cheesecake into wedges and place on top of purée. Refrigerate leftovers.

Makes 12 servings.

Recipe and photograph are provided courtesy of the Cherry Marketing Institute.